Question about creating a port for saga gis

Scott Bennett bennett at
Sun Nov 15 09:49:21 UTC 2009

     On Sun, 15 Nov 2009 11:55:21 +0300 Eygene Ryabinkin <rea-fbsd at>
>Sun, Nov 15, 2009 at 02:35:19AM -0600, Scott Bennett wrote:
>> Why are you putting saga into math?  It should be in databases, like
>> grass and postgis are,
>Let's see.  /usr/ports/databases/postgis/pkg-descr:
>PostGIS adds support for geographic objects to the PostgreSQL
>object-relational database. In effect, PostGIS "spatially enables" the
>PostgreSQL server, allowing it to be used as a backend spatial database
>for geographic information systems (GIS), much like ESRI's SDE or
>Oracle's Spatial extension.  PostGIS follows the OpenGIS "Simple
>Features Specification for SQL" and will be submitted for conformance
>testing at version 1.0.
>PostGIS has been developed by Refractions Research Inc as a research
>project in open source spatial database technology. PostGIS is released
>under the GNU General Public License. We intend to continue development
>as time and resources permit. Our list of future projects includes
>enhanced technology for data loading and dumping, user interface tools
>for direct data access and manipulation, and support for advanced
>topologies at the server side, such as coverages, networks, and
>No a surpsise that it is in the databases, heh ;))

     Of course.
>          Geographic Resources Analysis Support System
>                           (GRASS GIS)
>An open source Geographical Information System (GIS) with raster,
>topological vector, image processing, and graphics production functionality

     These are, of course, mathematical methods.  So what?  They are used
here simply as tools for studies of geographically organized data.

>that operates on various platforms through a graphical user interface and
>shell in X-Windows. It is released under GNU General Public License (GPL).
>Grass seem to use database-like store for the objects and subsequently
>manipulates this data by applying various processing methods, so may be

     That is what GIS do, after all.

>this was the reason to put it under databases.

     And that is why saga should also be under databases.
>But read
>it clearly states that "The heart of SAGA is it's C++ and thus object
>oriented Application Programming Interface (API), providing data object
>definitions and computational methods for raster, vector and tabular
>                ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>data. As a normal user, you will not get into touch with the API. But as
>an interested scientist or coder you will soon discover it's great
>flexibility.".  So I would say that "math" is justified here.
>> or conceivably in science.
>Science -- yes, looks good too.

     GIS are fancy database systems, usually with fancy graphical front ends.
They all use *mathematical* methods in performing various *scientific* data
analyses.  The same is true of physics ports or just about any other science
ports.  Regardless of the selection of verbiage in their individual 
pkg-descr files, whose emphases depend upon the viewpoints of the authors of
those pkg-descr files, they are all in the same class of packages, and all
belong together in one place.  If you think that their degree of specialization
qualifies them to be classified somewhere other than in "databases", then
the only other option *for both grass and saga* in the current ports tree is
"science", not "math".  These are packages that use mathematical methods, but
they are not primarily mathematics packages.  They are geographical packages.
The ports tree has no "geography" directory, so the GIS, if not in "databases",
would fall into "science".
     I do accept that postgis, according to its description, provides *only*
the database back end and is therefore arguably *only* a data base, as opposed
to a real GIS, which is a data base with lots of nice front-end processing
available.  If you want to argue that grass and saga should be moved to
"math", then argue away.  Arguing that these two GIS packages, which perform
similar functions, should be separated should involve better justification
than has been presented so far.  Given that their *uses* are scientific in
nature, as opposed to furthering the study of mathematics or performing solely
mathematical functions (e.g., LAPACK), then the alternative to putting them
into "databases" would have to be to put them into "science".

                                  Scott Bennett, Comm. ASMELG, CFIAG
* Internet:       bennett at                              *
* "A well regulated and disciplined militia, is at all times a good  *
* objection to the introduction of that bane of all free governments *
* -- a standing army."                                               *
*    -- Gov. John Hancock, New York Journal, 28 January 1790         *

More information about the freebsd-ports mailing list