I just wanted to ask an advice from the open source GIS gurus on a recommended stack to use for my envisioned project, as I do not fully understand the limits of the possible with most packages. I know I can do what I want using ESRI's various packages, but I want cheaper and open for the world to see. I am confident I can take on any challenge and learn pieces well enough to make a project happen, I just want to avoid going down the wrong path in the first place.
I am still mostly in research mode, playing around with various packages but only for the sake of general familiarization and not real testing (which would require learning them in detail first!). PostGIS definitely seems like the right way to go as the underlying DB(s), with Geoserver/Mapserver as most likely middleware. Openlayers is almost definitely going to be the slippy map, as I am already comfortable with it and know its power.
So that brings me to two main issues requiring the bulk of advice:
1) What is the best top layer UI for a site like this? Is it a customized instance of Django (or even Django-CMS), or simply a pieced together instance of GeoExt or other library (not sure if you can make a login/registration/full UI with it), a different CMS/framework (no, not drupal or anything that limiting!), or something totally different?
2) Is it even possible to have registered site users edit just their own features? I want to avoid the mass “graffiti” places like OSM and other collaborative projects experience. It seems from my reading and advice previously that Geoserver cannot have feature-level user authentication. Can Mapserver? Heck, I don't even know if a site's user population (from a CMS, or framework) can even directly link to geoserver/mapserver... If such a concept is not possible with open source solutions, is there another way to achieve that goal? Have authenticated users edit a non-published version of the main feature layer (so as not to mess up the original) and automatically merge it to the published version every 24 hours while maintaining a daily backup of the original? Sort of lost on how to achieve this intent.
And yes, I've looked at GeoNode too, but I only want one overall map (keep it simple) and its UI is either not interactive enough (before going into GeoExplorer) or too GIS-like in GeoExplorer. Seems like too canned a solution for this project.
Sorry to be so open ended here and vague, but I'm hoping to be able to start down a path in which the above is possible and not run into the wall several months from now, just to have to start all over again because path #1 never had that functionality from the start! Thanks so much and I am excited to get into this realm of open source GIS!
Edit: One of the best examples I can find is http://www.gpsies.com I know this uses leaflet, but not sure the underlying framework and database. Users can create/upload their own features, but not edit others'.