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Chapter 1. The Geoinformatica Software Stack

Geoinformatica is an interoperable stack of software. At the lowest layer of the stack there are libraries and parts of libraries that enable the developer to find information about and use resources of the current computer system and the network it is connected to. On the second layer there are several tools for various tasks like creating windows on the user interface, performing cartographic projection and topological computations, storing and managing data in long-term storage, and interpreting and compiling high-level program code. On the third layer there are several tools that provide increasingly generic and high-level interfaces to geospatial data and methods.
In the following chapters we will introduce and describe the central tools in the stack. The first two tools (Perl and GTK+) are very broadly used and not specific to geospatial. The third tool (GDAL) is a central piece of software for a large subset of free geospatial tools. The tools following the first three ones are specific to Geoinformatica.
Geoinformatica exploits heavily the idea of dividing computational tasks into more-simple-but-fast and complex-but-more-manageable-with-high-level-languages. The lower layers of Geoinformatica are mostly written in C or C++, while the upper parts are written in Perl. The access to libraries written in C (or other languages) from Perl is achieved by writing foreign function interfaces (FFIs). In some cases language-independent FFI tools, e.g., Swig, are used.
The repository and wiki for Geoinformatica-specific software is at http://trac.osgeo.org/geoinformatica/