[Proj] GitHub "project" for the next release

Stefanos Beligiannis smpel at yahoo.com
Thu Aug 10 14:12:05 EST 2017

Dear gentlemen,
I read with great interest your discussions. Most of your proposals are very constructive while other even are innovative, they lack of strategy and  this is the point I want to focus on, as a survey and geodetic engineer with more than 40 years experience. First let's make a distinguish between some different issues :- Geoid is our target object (the earth MSL) with an arbitrary shape which unfortunatelly is not either static or completely defined.- Geodetic Transformations like 7 params Helmert or 9 params Molodensky Badekas, that are applied on different ellipsoids to translate and rotate the ellipsoid in use in order to best fit on a certain area the Geoid.- Spheroid is a mathematic sphere fiting the ellipsoid on an area with center a certain point.- Projection is the spreads of the spheroid surface we mathematically do with origin  a certain line or a point- Transformations like similarity, affine, 2D Helmert etc are planar and are applied only on projections ie planar datums or image rectifications. - The procedure to make a transformation is:Projection A -> Datum A -> Datum B (applying geodetic transformation with certain params) -> Projection BThis procedure is not error free. Usually bulk errors even 10 m are experienced and here the problem starts!1. To my opinion NGA standards must be respected and never allow for the shake of our program's completeness not professionals to change these parameters or evaluate their owns and establish them for the shake of better local accuracy achievent.I experienced such a case in Riyadh where there are two AinAlAbd systems because a GIS "expert" decided to change for Riyadh the Helmert 7 parameter values NGA gives with an accuracy of 10m for whole Saudi Arabia with other calculated with LSM inverse Helmert to achieve 2 m accuracy. Result? Chaos!! So are you going to make a product devoted to these standards or something open?2. I hear about calculations accuracy improvement. What do you really mean and what would be the interest of this? I see you use 10bytes double precision instead ieee 8. Do you plan to go further with special math libraries that use "unlimited" significant decimal digits against the calculation speed etc.3. Do you plan to re-design the UI?4. Do you plan to make any tools that will permit inexperienced users to deal with the core?I really look forward to learn more about these isues
Best Regards

Stefanos BeligiannisRural & Survey Engineer MSc

On Thursday, August 10, 2017, 3:01:11 PM GMT+3, Thomas Knudsen <knudsen.thomas at gmail.com> wrote:

Duncan (and daan),
Yes, map projections are mathematical functions, while reference frame shifts are geophysical/geodetical transformations.
The latter are, however, also *in practice* represented by sequential application of parameterized mathematical functions, drawn from a rather limited gamut - basically consisting of Helmert, Horner, Molodensky, Grid interpolation and ellipsoidal/cartesian transformation.
All of these fundamental operations are architecturally similar to the map projection functions of the original libproj, and are implemented in a similar way.
Hence, what Kristian Evers and I have done over the last 18 months is technically to add 5 (or so) new projections to the original libproj.
To string the stuff together, we designed the pipeline metaphor, which is also materialized as just another projection.
So we have added what amounts to a few more projections to the library. These can be used or ignored, in the same way you may ignore the Transverse Mercator implementation if you are only interested in the Lambert Conformal Conic (You can probably even compile a version of the library leaving most of the “pseudoprojections” out).
All parameters for implementing actual reference frame transformations *are stored in parameter files, not in the library per se*.
If you are *not interested* in reference frame shifts, the code supporting reference frame shifts will *not affect you*. And the parameter files will only affect you through the (limited) disk space required. But you are not forced to install them anyway.
So if you are *not interested* in reference frame shifts, please *ignore the matter* and stop arguing against stuff that will *not affect you*. This stuff is certainly useful for a range of other people.
Should we want to follow daan’s recipe of splitting the reference frame handling entirely from the projection library, we would have to duplicate most of the well tested libproj infrastructural architecture into another library, which would, in most cases, be used in applications also depending on libproj.
Simply leveraging the existing infrastructure and adding a handful of pseudoprojections was definitely the way to go. Especially since the libproj architecture makes it possible to do so in a neat and non-intrusive way.
Regarding the new API:
The new API emerged as a by-product of attempts to make the libproj internals more maintainable, by improving namespacing and introducing new internal data types in order to reduce type-punning. This makes it more clear exactly what kind of coordinate is expected at each spot in the code.
The new API exposes these data types, simplifies a wide field of operations, and provides a unified interface to 2D, 3D and 4D transformations.
The new API does not replace the old API, but obviously the designers hope that it will become the preferred one for new applications. The old API may some day gain a “deprecated” status, but will only rot entirely away if no one is interested in maintaining it. So if anyone needs it badly enough to sponsor its maintenance, it will live on forever.
In a limited number of cases, software pre-dating the original API, described in proj-api.h, may experience breakage, since the original projects.h file does not describe an actual interface (API), but rather exposes every single function and data structure in the library.
So there is only one way to ensure that each-and-every program, using projects.h to do calls to libproj internals, would keep working with new versions of libproj: That would be to freeze both development and maintenance of the PROJ system. And anyone wishing for that may get theirs by just sticking with proj 4.3.0.
I personally believe, though, that we should make efforts not to hamper more well disciplined programs using projects.h just to do calls to the “obvious API” of projects.h (pj_init, pj_fwd, pj_inv, pj_free, and probably a few more).
The proj and cs2cs filters will live on as long as anyone wants to maintain them. But they definitely need some tlc, so test cases involving some of your more esoteric use cases of proj and cs2cs would be very welcome, and would greatly reduce the risk of regressions during maintenance.
2017-08-10 6:56 GMT+02:00 Duncan Agnew <dagnew at ucsd.edu>:


I pretty much agree with Dan. For clarity (lacking in my previous entry),
there are two things, easily conflated, to talk about:

    A. proj the program that people use (often on the command line)
to go between lat-long and projection coordinates. Most of these users
don't care about which lat/long they are using: certainly not important
if making a map, and probably not if using it to set up a grid system
for your own use (I've used it for both).

    B. PROJ the package, which includes not just projections
but all the additional machinery to handle different datums--and
in the future heights and temporal changes.

    I completely agree that PROJ needs to keep evolving; but at the
same time I (and probably many other users) would like to have proj
stay the same. This ought to be relatively easy since it is almost all
mathematics, the only parameters being the size and shape of the
ellipsoid--and I don't imagine there will be new values of this being
produced. But it depends on allowing the functionality of proj (not
PROJ) to not require the user who just wants a projection to have to
master the additional features needed to do datum transformations.

    Of course grids are just projections, so it was easy for Gerald
to add things like SPCS, blurring the line a bit; but, with Daan (and
Gerald) I'd argue that it would be helpful to many users to have things
somewhat distinct.

    And, I'd like to raise a question (I'm genuinely curious) about how
time-dependent motion will be added. Having been professionally engaged in
measuring and modeling crustal motion for the last 30+ years, I can say that it
is going to be a lot more complicated to keep track of. proj (as above) needs
only the -le parameters (a fixed set); once you add the rigid-body motions for
datum transformations there are a lot more parameters, many conventional (and
so unchanging), which EPSG fortunately collects; adding grids for distortion
(HARN) needs more information yet. But once you get into temporal changes,
things are even worse: models will keep changing either because of better data
or earthquakes (cf HTDP). This seems like a progression from a package
dominated by algebra to a small algebraic component attached to a large
and ever-growing database of parameters. I'm not arguing against it, at
all, just saying that it is going to be quite a challenge beyond modifying
the programs. (I completely lack the expertise to contribute to the code,
but if anyone has any geophysics questions I'm happy to try to answer them).

Duncan Agnew

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