, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

OSCAR-js is Open Source from CARIS

OSCAR-js (oscar.caris.com)is an open source JavaScript Application Programming Interface (API) created by CARIS. The vision of the project is to ”put into code” solutions for common, high-level GIS business problems. The initial focus is on find-and-download business processes built on standards, such as the ones outlined within the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC®).


The API came into existence around 2007. It was initially a container of commonly used JavaScript code used within CARIS web products. It also was an abstraction layer that allowed CARIS to add functionality on top of OpenLayers without placing any type of release pressure on that project.

Users of the CARIS commercially off-the-shelf (COTS) web products (CARIS Spatial Fusion® Viewer, and CARIS Spatial Fusion® Server) liked the functionality in those web applications, but also had needs to integrate similar functionality within other projects and web sites. This need is what spurred the open source release of the project.

Business Friendly

Since this was a project that started within a business environment, the selection of libraries used within the project were carefully chosen to be free of licensing restrictions. These selective choices paved the way for OSCAR-js to also use an extremely business friendly open source software license, Apache 2.0. Essentially this allows organizations the freedom to do whatever they need with the code and still protect their business interests.


Different from other JavaScript GIS APIs

OSCAR-js is not yet another generic JavaScript Map API. The project leads have no interest in taking it in that direction. That space is already saturated with choices, such as: Google Maps, Bing Maps, Nokia Maps, OpenLayers, Leaflet, etc. Additionally, there is no interest in making OSCAR-js into a be-all generic map widget API, as there are no plans on competing with libraries such as GeoExt or MapQuery. Although some rudimentary web map components may exist in the API (layer controls, permalinks, etc.), that is not its goal.

What OSCAR-js is, is an API built on top of OpenLayers, Proj4js, jQuery-UI and YUI. (If you are already familiar with OpenLayers, this library may have an initial strong appeal for you.) The project’s goal is to be a transcription of solutions to common high-level geospatial business problems, processes and knowledge into easy-to-use JavaScript components. These needs do not always require a map.

With an interest in more involved use cases, the API will primarily leverage OGC Web Services (OWS) to provide solutions that can span various organizations and their choice of service solutions.

The Plan

OSCAR-js will initially focus on standards-based find-and-download business work flows, specifically using Web Feature Service (WFS), Web Coverage Service (WCS) and Catalogue Service for the Web (CSW) as a service interface.

The plan is to expand, targeting other business processes on top of OWS, such as processing interfaces and work flow integration.

The current release is 12.0.5 with 13.0 planned for the second quarter of 2013. 13.1 is planned for the second half of 2013. The 2014 releases will have a richer OWS integration with metadata search capability.


With OSCAR-js licensed under Apache 2.0, this project’s source has been made available on the popular GitHub social development platform. (github.com/caris/OSCAR-js) This platform allows easy contribution to the project by forking it and issuing pull requests to full-time project developers. Also, questions are quickly answered via the project’s mailing lists.

This project aims to draw in organizations with similar needs and collaborate with them to create high-level standards-based solutions that work for everyone. (oscar.caris.com)

Related Articles

Google Earth Engine – What is a Data Cube and Why Canadians Should Care

What is a data cube and how is it used for big data analytics?  How does a data cube work…

Remote Sensing QGIS: Semi-Automatic-Classification Plugin (SCP)

Semi-Automatic Classification Plugin   Today I’m going to take a quick look at one of the remote sensing plugins for…

GIS in Action: How Does BC Pinot Noir Express Terroir?

Editors note: In this previously published article, Karl Kliparchuk, BCIT GIS Program Head & Instructor uses GIS to explore the…