U.S. Customer's 11-Year Experience with DK.VCL

August 14, 2014

We recently used the TatukGIS DK.VCL to develop our new TreeGIS 3D GIS front-end to the popular i-Tree urban forestry inventory and analysis tool developed by the USDA Forest Service. Despite my long-term satisfaction with the DK.VCL, before starting this project we considered two GIS development alternatives: open source QGIS and ESRI ArcGIS.

We quickly found that (a) the development tools for QGIS are prehistoric and tedious, (b) the commercial licensing structure is prohibitive, and (c) some of the most popular features of QGIS (such as GoogleMaps and BingMaps integration) violate the license terms of some large, powerful companies (Google and Microsoft) for the commercial use of QGIS.

We briefly considered ArcGIS because it's use is ubiquitous in the US, but concluded the development costs far outweigh the perceptual benefit of going with an ESRI product. The ArcGIS object model is a mess and headache to develop with.

(As an aside, I developed GIS applications for about 10 years using ESRI products before discovering TatukGIS. I recently heard programming with TatukGIS described as 'clean' and thought this is an excellent qualifier. You don't (with TatukGIS) have to go through 12 interfaces to get to the object you need, you can just use the object. The TatukGIS DK object model is straightforward, fast, and powerful.)

We started using the TatukGIS DK-VCL in 2003 and now find ourselves in the enviable position of soon being able to easily port our TatukGIS Windows applications to Android, iOS, and OS X using Embarcadero Delphi and the TatukGIS DK-VCL. This will be particularly time-saving knowing how cumbersome it is to develop on these platforms using their default development tools (Xcode and Android Studio).

In addition, the TatukGIS DK gives our application the ability to allow our users to connect to (or store their tree data in) GIS layers in any DK-supported enterprise database (Access, MSSQL Server, Oracle, Interbase/Firebase, Postgres, SQLite, IBM Informix, IBM DB2, MySQL, Sybase, ADV, & SAPD) and enterprise GIS database layer format (ArcSDE Vector & Raster, Geomedia SQL Server Spatial, Geomedia Oracle Object Model, IBM DB2 Spatial Extender, IBM Informix Spatial Datablade, MapInfo SpatialWare, Microsoft Spatial (Katmai), Oracle Spatial, Oracle Georaster, Oracle TIN, Oracle Point Cloud, PostGIS Spatial, Sybase SQL Anywhere Spatial).  We particularly like the speed, power, flexibility, and simplicity of SQL layers on SQLite.

And, finally, it's nice to not have to worry about dealing with various coordinate systems anymore, as the TatukGIS DK supports roughly 4,800 coordinate systems.

Thanks for making such great products and keep up the excellent work!

Brian Brown, MS, MS
TatukGIS Consulting
Dubuque, IA, USA

(Related item: 2014 News)