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I am an experienced programmer, but new to GIS. My question: I would like to automate the creation of PDF reports from a website, using Grass GIS.

I've come across Web Processing Service (WPS) (http://www.opengeospatial.org/standards/wps/) but am unsure how this fits into any possible report automation.

Is WPS the way to automate report generation, or is some kind of direct scripting (such as with Python) a better solution?

  • I think it depends on how the reports are being used. Are they generated and then served back to the web? Are they remaining on the server? – rumski20 Jan 5 '17 at 21:55
  • We would want the report generated and then served back to the web (so the user can download and save the report). – Robert L Jan 5 '17 at 22:16
  • I don't think WPS is "the" (as in "the only") way to automate report generation. The main reason I think you would use WPS is if your server side environment is specifically tailored for it (see here for an example using Geoserver: geoserver.geo-solutions.it/edu/en/wps/wps.html). I think the best solution is the one that you can execute. Certainly python (ie. reportlab) is a viable option. – rumski20 Jan 5 '17 at 22:44
  • Thank you @rumski20 - theoretically, if I have a predefined report in Grass, using Python (or some other scripting language) would I be able to pass in some parameters from the website, then have Grass process and generate the PDF, which then serves it serves it back from the web? – Robert L Jan 6 '17 at 0:19
  • Sorry. Can't help you there. I'm not familiar with GRASS GIS. Hopefully somebody here can instruct you in that, however. – rumski20 Jan 6 '17 at 22:07
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Making use of WPS is certainly not the only way of achieving this, but it might simplify a number of things. PyWPS in particular, greatly facilitates the interaction with the GRASS API.

The pywps-demo project includes an example performing a buffer with GRASS, where you can get a good idea of how to wire your process.

In your case, you can define a number of Literal inputs for the report parameters and then a Complex output for the report itself. E.g.:

def __init__(self):

        inputs  = [LiteralInput('paramA', 'Parameter A', data_type='float'), 
                   LiteralInput('paramB', 'Parameter B', data_type='string')]

        outputs = [ComplexOutput('report', 'Report',
                   supported_formats=[Format('application/pdf')])]

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