Whitebox Geospatial News
We are on Youtube: Follow our Channel
In the latest insallment of Whitebox Geospatial news, we are excited to announce that Whitebox Geospatial has created a youtube channel, called WhiteboxGeospatial. Over the years we have received numerous comments from our users asking us to create a series of short video tutorials on how to use and interact with WhiteboxTools and our tool library. It may have taken us a bit, but we are happy to start this endeavour.
Posted on on 2021-06-16
Whitebox Geospatial Inc Officially Launches
We are very pleased to announce the creation of WhiteboxTools Geospatial Inc., a new company based on providing extension services around the open-source WBT platform. It is our vision that this company will provide a way of making the ongoing development of the WBT open-core more sustainable in the future, by enabling developers to work full-time on the project. Please read my Open Letter to the WBT community for more details about this exciting development. Our plan is to maintain, and continue development of, the open-core of WBT, while providing plugin extensions that enhance the core capabilities.
To begin with, we are launching the Whitebox General Toolset Extension, a set of (currently) 19 tools to help GIS professionals with their everyday workflows. If you have been interested in supporting the WBT project in the past and haven’t known how, buying a license for the General Toolset Extension is a wonderful way of doing so.
Posted on on 2021-06-01
Whitebox Geospatial News: WhiteboxTools v.1.5.0 released
This release does not include very many new tools. Despite this, this is probably one of the largest releases yet. We have made extensive changes to the codebase, improving functionality in many significant ways. Therefore, we’re very excited to announce the release of v1.5.
- Introduction of plugin tools. Up until now, WBT has had a monolithic architecture, where all of the tools live within a single binary. This architecture has provided a number of benefits up until now. However, as the number of tools in WBT grows, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain this program structure – in particular, compile times have grown significantly since the projects start. A plugin architecture provides much greater flexibility in this regard. Single tool plugins can be created, placed within the new ‘plugins’ folder within the WBT directory, and the whitebox_tools.exe binary will treat these plugins like any other tool within the monolith. This also means that WBT users can develop their own custom tools, without the required know-how of figuring out how to integrate their tool into the large WBT code-base. The user manual will be updated shortly to describe how this process works.
- In order to accommodate plugin tools, we have significantly changed the codebase. Most significantly we have pulled the code associated with low-level functions, the so-called ‘plumbing’ code, (e.g.code for reading and writing various data files) into separate sub-repositories. In this way, the tools in the monolith and the plugin tools can both use this code without duplication.
- WBT now has persistent environment variables contained within a ‘settings.json’ file within the WBT folder. Currently, these settings including ‘verbose_mode’, ‘working_directory’, ‘compress_rasters’, and ‘max_procs’. More environment variables may be added in later releases. The fact that verbose mode the working directory, and the compress_rasters flag are now persistent does have implications for the Python and R front-ends and for the way these settings are used. The user manual will be updated shortly to reflect these changes.
- We introduced the ‘max_procs’ setting. Now, all tools that run in parallel, or partially parallelize, can be restricted to a maximum number of processes. Before, WBT would simply use all of the available cores in the machine it was running on. While this is still the default (`max_procs: -1`), there are certain conditions where this behaviour is undesirable. For example, when WBT is run on large servers or cloud-computing environments where a great many cores are shared among many users, it can be problematic when a single user/program consumes all of the available cores. This setting limits the maximum number of procs.
- Added the EmbankmentMapping tool for mapping transportation embankments (road, rail) in LiDAR DEMs.
- Added the SplitVectorLines tool. This tool will parse an input line vector into a series of segments of a specified length. It is also an example of a WBT plugin.
- The code has been updated to reflect the new zLidar v1.1 specification, which has significantly improved compression rates (testing shows it is between 91% and 109% of LAZ), greater flexibility (users may specify the degree of compression versus speed of reading/writing), and numerous bug fixes. The zLidar specification webpage will soon be updated to reflect the new version. Further news on this front, it has come to our attention recently that there is now a Rust-based LAZ encoder/decoder, which provides an opportunity for us to add LAZ support in a future version of WBT. We are currently evaluating this as an option.
Posted on on 2021-06-01
This is an example output from the EmbankmentMapping Tool. The hillshade on the left is the original unaltered DEM, the hillshade on the right has been conditioned using the EmbankmentMapping tool in WhiteboxTools.
WhiteboxTools wins 2020 University of Guelph Research Innovation Award
WhiteboxTools has won the 2020 Research Innovation Award at the University of Guelph. This award recognizes and celebrates celebrate University of Guelph innovations that have made, or have the potential to generate value for Canada. Since 2016, eight innovations representing work conducted by researchers across a variety of university departments have been recognized. These innovations continue to have a positive influence in diverse areas including animal health, food packaging, environment and human wellness. We are extremely honoured be to be awarded this achievement.
Posted on on 2020-10-21
Whitebox Geospatial News: WhiteboxTools v.1.4.0 released
We are pleased to announce the release of WhiteboxTools v1.4.0. This release sees the addition of several tools, bug fixes, and enhancements to the documentation. Of the new tools, I am most excited about the addition of the TimeInDaylight tool, which estimates the proportion of daytime that each cell in a digital surface model (DSM) is in an exposed location. The new LidarDigitalSurfaceModel tool can be used to create DSMs for input to the TimeInDaylight tool. Pre-compiled binaries are available for Windows (win), MacOS (Darwin), and Linux on Github and from the WhiteboxTools download page. Please report any bugs that you encounter by creating an issue on the WhiteboxTools Github site.
Posted on on 2020-04-09