PHPBuilder - GIS Mapping with PHP; Part Two Page 3

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GIS Mapping with PHP; Part Two - Page 3

by: Simon Moss
February 9, 2004

E00 has a similar system of storing data but it involves a slightly more long winded process to get the data out.
For the outline polygons of states and provinces, we only really deal in the vector type of "REGION" ( a polygon ). MIF files can also contain PLINES ( a non-filled polygon ) and LINES which our importer can handle, plus a number of other shape types, which we don't need or care about. A point to note at this stage is that there are two types of Polygon - outside and inside. Basically one type of polygon is a filled area, the other is a hole - think of a donut. One polygon is the donut, the other is the hole. Due to processing limitations, we don't really deal with inside polygons. In later stages we come up with some cheats to get around this, especially when it comes to lakes and rivers.
To load the file, we just loop through each line read from the file. When we detect the start of a region ( by the presence of a string naming the type of vector object ), we create a new array and start to parse the coordinates into it. The polygons are stored in PHP in a array of associative arrays, with each associative array containing the type of vector object we have, the number of points in the object, the coordinates of the bounding rectangle and a string containing a space delimited list of coordinates.
At the moment we will load the vector data from a Mapinfo MIF file into the arrays each time we run the script. This is not the best way to do it for large amounts of data - however, it is the simplest method for the needs of the article. In later articles the same function will be used to prepare the data for import into POSTGRESQL.

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