Geoserver Installation (Configuration for SQL Server on Windows)

Once you have your data in an Enterprise Grade database sharing that information becomes important. Some vendors, in particular Digital mapping SAAS vendors want you to transfer your data into their clouds but for a lot of authorities that is categorically impossible for large segments of their data. For example about 3/4 of UK planning authorities run on software built by a company called IDOX Group plc which holds its data in Oracle this cannot be moved. For Geographical data here’s where Geoserver comes in.

Geoserver Official Website

From the website
GeoServer is an open source server for sharing geospatial data.
Designed for interoperability, it publishes data from any major spatial data source using open standards.

GeoServer implements industry standard OGC protocols such as Web Feature Service (WFS), Web Map Service (WMS), and Web Coverage Service (WCS). Additional formats and publication options are available as extensions including Web Processing Service (WPS), and Web Map Tile Service (WMTS).

Another way of putting it Geoserver allows programs that display and manipulate geographic information to display and edit that data while keeping it safe and secure and located in enterprise databases. It can connect to SQL Server / Postgresql and I am told Oracle which are the main relational databases used by Local authorities today so once setup and configured it could be used to compare and contrast information in one location from variable datastores. Datastores that for historical reasons cannot be moved. Here I concentrate on SQL Server because we have a particular issue with new systems needing to connect to SQL Server but it would be great if we could get it working with Oracle as well.

The following are my notes on installation and configuration of Geoserver on Windows linking to SQL Server and in this case a remote(not on the same computer) SQL Azure instance I believe any remote SQL Server instance would be similar. This post is a detailed explanation of the installation of Geoserver locally on a laptop but I believe installation would be exactly the same on a Windows Server machine albeit additional steps would be required to publish to the web either internally or externally.

Its all configuration so remember your host names / IP numbers / ports / usernames / passwords / database, table and column names

To start this tutorial please ensure the following resources are available;

  • SSMS – installation of Sql Server Management Studio
  • SQL Azure instance with privileges to run SQL. Please note you will need to know the port number of your SQL server instance and have a Username and Password for your user.
  • Necessary privileges to set the firewall on the database which you will link to Geoserver –
  • QGIS – installation – If you don’t have a SQL Server instance with geodatabase already that you can use you will probably need this to add at least one record to a geometry enabled table I plan to expand my notes on this but at present you might be able to skip this
  • Geoserver 2.24.1 – installation files
  • Enough privileges on the computer you are installing geoserver to download installation files and move files into a library subdirectory of the c:/program file/geoserver directory
  • WorkFlow Synopsis Overview
    1)Download and install Java runtime engine (as above importantly here I use 11)
    2)Download and install Geoserver (2.24.1 in this case)
    3)Test that the Geoserver Admin dashboard is up and working
    4)Download and configure Geoserver Extension for SQL Server library (SQL Azure example)
    5)Good idea to setup a login specifically to your SQL Azure instance with least privilege – Your SQL Server instance with geodatabases may already have suitable logins. So steps 5 and 6 can be skipped
    6)Good idea to create an example table with Geodatabase in SQL Azure – will be used as a test connection table – NOTE if you already have a SQL Server with geodatabases you could use that instead.
    7)White list IP within the SQL Azure instance firewall rules to Geoserver computer
    8)Opening Geoserver and setting the ‘Store’ to reference your SQL Azure database using the login setup in step 5.
    9)Adding a new layer from the Store made in point 8 and seeing if you can Preview the layer – Ideally you should have a table that has some features in it. Setting the WMS and WFS up in Geoserver with sufficient rights to allow editing (if WFS setup)
    10)I don’t explain it in my post below but the next step would be to test in QGIS to see if you can setup a project in QGIS which can pull from Geoserver against a basemap and you check that the Polygons are actually where you want them to be.

    Workflow Detailed
    1)Download the install Java Runtime via JDK

    There are some complications here
    Initially I tried to use the Java Runtime engine 17 and went through the complete Geoserver installation but on testing I was getting a Java error when trying to view layers. After a short google I came across a stack overflow thread that indicated that geoserver support for JDE 17 was experimental and I should use Java Runtime engine 11. Deinstallation of 17 and installation of 11 solved this.

    Additionally there is the issue of where you obtain the Java Runtime installation from – there is the Adoptium location and then there is Oracle location. Oracle are making moves to charge for use of their Java Runtime engine so it is important that you use Adoptium resource to reduce costs.

    Later I will list the url to the JDK download for Java Runtime engine but it is important to realise that Adoptium is a safe source, well supported and noted as open source.

    https://adoptium.net/en-GB/members/

    so

    Google Search for Adoptium
    https://adoptium.net/en-GB/

    Navigate to other platforms and versions and target windows 64 bit JDK and 11 LTS version and download the .msi.

    After a short delay you will be shown the msi which will be in your downloads folder

    Double click on it to install.

    Now the only thing that is tricky here is to setup the java home directory as follows

    Video Installing Adoptium JDK on Windows

    In particular note this section

    2) Download and install Geoserver

    Go to the official Geoserver web page and follow the links to download the windows installer

    Here I use the windows version of Geoserver version 2.41.1 obtained January 2024 from the following url
    Geoserver Official Website

    See download button and then go to Windows Installer

    I chose the left option and then I chose the Windows Installer option

    This will download Geoserver-2.24.1-winsetup.exe to your download directory and you can then start the geoserver installation process

    Next open up the executable and follow the instructions

    Next agree the licence

    Next we reference the java library installed in the previous step – if you have set the java_home variable correctly it should automatically find JRE 11 for you and it will place it within the path reference below. I don’t have a screenshot of the JRE 11 reference here as on my first installation I referenced the Oracle 17 JRE – (note I went back de-installed geoserver installed JRE 11 and then reinstalled geoserver to counter the proprietary Oracle runtime library and importantly to fix the issue that I was facing of geoserver not being compatible with JRE 17

    The rest of the install from here is standard for a windows install

    Next setup the default admin password – defaults are admin / geoserver

    Set up port geoserver runs on – default is 8080

    Next choose the execution type I like to install geoserver as a service

    Confirm your preferences and then trigger install

    Now you should see geoserver on your local machine as a service which you will need to ensure is running to access properly

    3) Test that Geoserver Admin dashboard is up and working at least locally

    If you have used the same settings as me open a browser and navigate to the following url

    https://localhost:8080/geoserver/web

    Login with the username and password which is usually admin / geoserver

    At which point you should see something similar to the following

    4) Download and configure Geoserver Extension for SQL Server

    At install Geoserver comes with the ability to connect to Postgres but NOT SQL Server so we must install/configure plugin extension to enable Geoserver SQL Server connections.

    Here we go back to the geoserver.org website and go to download but this time instead of choosing the windows installer we look to the Extensions section and choose SQL Server

    This should download geoserver-sqlserver extension plugin

    Next copy all files with the jar suffix into the following directory

    C/program files/GeoServer/webapps/geoserver/WEb-Inf/Lib

    Next restart the geoserver and go back to the local host and sign in

    http://localhost:8080/geoserver/web/?0

    We are now very close to linking to SQL Server prior to that we must whitelist our geoserver so that your SQL Server instances will accept connections from your geoserver. Steps 5 and 6 are more about creating a user and ensuring you have a geodatabase with a georeferenced table skip to 7 if you want to read about white listing in SQL Azure or you have an alternative database that you could use with requirements already set up.

    5) Next its a good idea to create a user with least privilege this will be used to set up the link so go to SSMS

    Least privilege User Login Setup SQL Server

    Here allow the amount of access you wish users to have remembering the principles of least privilege

    6) Lets create an example table with geometry that we will be connecting
    When I first tried connecting to SQL Server (SQL Azure in my case) I didn’t have any georeferenced tables so I created one and added a few records. If you have a database already with tables with geometry or geography you might not need to do this step.

    So open SSMS and navigate to your database and use the following TSQL to create a table here I call it t064

    SET ANSI_NULLS ON
    GO
    
    SET QUOTED_IDENTIFIER ON
    GO
    
    CREATE TABLE [dbo].[t064](
    [PKID] [int] IDENTITY(1,1) NOT NULL,
    [geomcol] [geometry] NULL,
    [sitename] [varchar](30) NULL,
    PRIMARY KEY CLUSTERED
    (
    [PKID] ASC
    )WITH (STATISTICS_NORECOMPUTE = OFF, IGNORE_DUP_KEY = OFF, OPTIMIZE_FOR_SEQUENTIAL_KEY = OFF) ON [PRIMARY]
    ) ON [PRIMARY] TEXTIMAGE_ON [PRIMARY]
    GO

    This is a really simple table with three columns and you might want to link to it through QGIS and just create a few records – I would try and use a default projection of 27700 if you are UK based. I might come back with an example table with records..

    If you want to link to this table for testing then you should try and input at least one record here. I added records using QGIS and I hope to come back to this post and update it to be more specific

    7) White List the IP within your SQL Server or SQL Azure instance.
    Setting IP White List in SQL Azure

    8) Opening Geoserver and setting the ‘Store’ to reference your SQL Azure database using the login setup in step 5

    Navigate to the local host url for Geoserver namely

    http://localhost:8080/geoserver/web/?0

    Go to store and then you should see the following page

    Hit the Add New Store green plus button in the top left corner you will be presented with the following screen

    Fill out as many details as you can

    For SQL Azure this is likely to be similar to the following

    Host = namevariable.database.windows.net (normally unique to instance in SQL Azure)
    Port = 1433 (sql azure default)
    Schema = dbo (sql azure default is dbo but your database maybe bespoke)
    User = uservariable (remember least privilege is a good idea)
    Passwd = passwordvariable (should be unique to your database)
    

    Save and Apply and then your new connection should appear in your store

    Here’s an example…. (see top line)

    For the purposes of this tutorial I setup a login with db_owner rights to the database LandRegisterAzure your mileage will vary.

    9) Next we add the layer which references the SQL Server

    Select Layers within the Data section of the menu (usually to the left of the geoserver dashboard) then hit Add a new layer

    You should get the following windows

    From the drop down select the store which references your SQL server. This will reveal all the tables and views in the database and you scroll through them to the table or view you wish to publish and in the column marked Action will be publish you can hit the Publish highlighted text (I’ve done that here already so under Action our table is marked as Publish again and there is a tick in the column titled Published.

    We can now quickly test to see if things look like they are working by going to Layer Preview.

    Look to the left hand side and select Layer Preview

    Scroll down through the list and identify the layer that you have just added. I now select the open layers option

    A new browser tab will open and if you have successfully configured the SQL Server you should be presented with your layer – without any background

    10) I don’t go into it here but next I will try and write up my notes on QGIS and Geoserver setup – On my laptop I managed to set up a WFS to my SQL Azure instance through Geoserver where the layer was added to a project and I was able to edit information in my SQL Azure database through QGIS and were displayed correctly against a basemap in the right place!!

    –/END/–

    Geoserver – Setting up Users / Roles / Workspaces and Layers

    Create Users
    Firstly ensure you are logged in as administrator ONLY the system administrator can set up users and roles and the default geoserver username/password of the administrator is admin/geoserver

    The sa login has additional menus as here

    Go to the Security menu on left towards the bottom and find line marked – Users/Groups/Roles

    Go to the Roles tab

    Look to the green circle with white cross and add new role and complete as appropriate

    Note once you have created the role you will not be able to edit the name of that role so you have to delete the role and then create a role with a different name if you don’t want the old role name to continue.

    Next we create the users

    Go to the Users/Groups tab

    Look to the green circle with white cross and add new user and within the Roles taken section ensure you move the role you created from the left box to the right see grey above.

    The new username should now appear in the User list

    You grant admin privileges to the workspaces through the Workspace section as follows

    Within the edit workspace section go to security

    And give admin rights to the role you wish to link to the workspace

    Note that you still won’t see anything until you go into layer edit and edit the security as follows.

    Within the Security section you can also see the roles added

    Add POSTGIS extension to Azure Postgres Database – Worked Example

    Firstly we need to allow for the extension on the server.
    Within the Azure portal navigate to server parameters

    Search for azure.extensions

    Select which extensions to add
    REMEMBER to save before exit!

    Wait a short period while the extension is loaded onto the server..

    Some points
    Azure Database for PostgreSQL supports a subset of key PostgreSQL extensions as listed HERE. This information is also available by running SHOW azure.extensions;. Extensions not listed in this document aren’t supported on Azure Database for PostgreSQL – Flexible Server. You can’t create or load your own extension in Azure Database for PostgreSQL.

    After extensions are allow-listed and loaded, these must be installed in your database before you can use them. To install a particular extension, you should run the CREATE EXTENSION command. This command loads the packaged objects into your database.

    The extension(s) should now be listed against your database.

    QGIS – Working with Free BASEMAP Services for Desktop Projects (Bing and Google Maps Aerial and Lines)

    As soon as you need to practically implement any information in Spatial Databases display of the information through a mapping front end becomes absolutely vital. Many database administrators are used to simply going into their favourite database editors and displaying the raw subsets of tables and queries. That works well for financial transactions and inventory tables were collapsing the attributes of objects into single digits is often valuable or possibly preferable to simple photos. When dealing with boundary information the complete opposite applies. Display of information as simple screens of matrix numbers is completely useless.

    Additionally often boundaries make zero sense unless referenced to the land beneath them either through aerial photography or topographic maps.

    In a previous time where I worked we actually commissioned a company to give us aerial photos of a local authority. This was not an insignificant amount of money and was probably only marginally reduced by the vendor having multiple channels of sale. Google and Microsoft are now very good in offering very good aerial and line interpretations for limited use to companies and individuals. This is absolutely great as it can be used as background either to confirm accuracy of other information or as data upon which to calculate further information (eg routing).

    So how can an individual get up and started with some of these basemaps.

    Sometime recently (I know not when exactly) QGIS changed its implementation of Open Street Maps through their desktop – rather than being an additional plugin Open Street Map provision is now included on install.

    Here I am working with QGIS version 3.10

    Now you should be presented with the Data Source Manager Dialog which looks like this

    Now expand the XYZ Tiles

    You can then double click on any one of the three and the WMS will be transferred into the layer panel

    Layer > Data Source Manager > XYZ

    Thank you to Google and Microsoft and OSM and QGIS for a great implementation.

    SQL Server Express – starting to work with Geometry Functions in SQL Server

    Firstly I created a database.

    This is essentially me trying to implement in SQL Server what I had written about in Postgres here – Using ST_Within in Postgres

    Now I create the starting tables.

    CREATE TABLE [dbo].[t00001fields](
    	[pkid] [int] IDENTITY(1,1) NOT NULL,
    	[fieldname] [varchar](50) NULL,
    	[geom] [geometry] NULL
    

    Then

    CREATE TABLE [dbo].[t00002plots](
    	[pkid] [int] IDENTITY(1,1) NOT NULL,
    	[plotname] [varchar](50) NULL,
    	[geom] [geometry] NULL
    

    Now a magic junction table that will identify what plot is within which field when it is run

    CREATE VIEW v001FieldPlotJunction AS
    SELECT t00002plots.pkid as Plotspkid,t00001fields.pkid as Fieldspkid
    FROM
    t00002plots,
    t00001fields
    WHERE
    t00002plots.GEOM.STWithin(t00001fields.GEOM) = 1;
    

    and here’s an example of it running on local in SQL Express

    And this is what I am seeing when viewed through QGIS = many of the fields are smaller than the plots and so although 1 2 look like they should be in the view because the plot is not WITHIN the field it does not show which is the correct response in this case.

    Postgres – create a trigger to automatically calculate area of Polygon on edit

    This will calculate the area in hectares of a polygon on creation or edit..( referenced here as Before Insert or Update On)

    This appears to work for polygon and multi-polygon geometry types I have had a discussion with a colleague and he has indicated that the type of project may affect the accuracy of the measurement. Certainly there is a straight division in there so it would probably be possible to alter the division figure by empircally testing to get it as accurate as possible. Apparently with some popular projections the further north you are the less accurate the resultant figure. (Just something to bear in mind).

    CREATE OR REPLACE FUNCTION calc_area() 
    RETURNS trigger AS $BODY$ 
    BEGIN NEW.grossarea := ROUND((st_area(NEW.geom)/10000)::numeric,2); 
    RETURN NEW; 
    END; 
    $BODY$ LANGUAGE plpgsql; 

    What I found interesting about this was the field name is defined in the function and called from the trigger. There is possibly a better way of writing this to define the field in the trigger itself..

    And the trigger that goes on the table

    CREATE TRIGGER area_calculate BEFORE INSERT OR UPDATE ON public.t001landparcels FOR EACH ROW EXECUTE PROCEDURE calc_area();

    021 Postgres with PostGIS plugin – Create junction table sites in catchments

    This is a working example of how it would be possible to set up code that would automatically allocate for example housing sites to School Catchment areas. It could also be used to list constraints relevant to particular housing sites. This is more complicated in that it will indicate what percentage of the housing site is within which catchment areas and therefore allows for a single housing site being in multiple catchment areas. I am planning on coming back and expanding on this post. In this respect it represents a refinement of this Post

    So we need two tables

    t001asites which has a geometry field called geom
    and another table which will be the catchments table called
    t002bcatchments which has a geometry field called geom.

    Both tables must have a serial primary key of pkid and both tables must be polygon data and the geom field MUST be defined as polygon and NOT multipolygon.

    Air code is as follows.

      1. Create table containing digitised polygons of housing sites.
      2. Create table containing digitised polygons of catchments.
      3. Measure the area of the housing sites and place that value in an area column within the housing sites table t001asites.
      4. Split the housing sites by the catchment boundaries ensuing that each split polygon inherits the catchment it was split by.
      5. Re-measure the areas of these split sites and add an area column to store the new calculations.
      6. Divide figure obtained in 5. by figure obtained in 3 which will indicate the proportion of the housing site is in which catchment.
      7. Perform a least remainder method on the individual sites grouped by their original housing sites to ensure the proportions sum to 1.

    So to the code

    BEGIN;
    SET LOCAL check_function_bodies TO FALSE;
    CREATE OR REPLACE FUNCTION part01catchjunctionmaker() returns void as $$
    Alter table t001asites add column area integer;
    $$ LANGUAGE SQL;
    CREATE OR REPLACE FUNCTION part02catchjunctionmaker() returns void as $$
    Update t001asites set area=ST_Area(geom);
    $$ LANGUAGE SQL;
    CREATE OR REPLACE FUNCTION part022catchjunctionmaker() RETURNS void AS $$
    DROP TABLE IF EXISTS t200;
    $$ LANGUAGE SQL;
    CREATE OR REPLACE FUNCTION part03catchjunctionmaker() RETURNS void AS $$
    CREATE TABLE t200 AS select a.pkid as t001pkid, b.pkid as t002pkid, a.area as t001area, ST_intersection(a.geom, b.geom) as geom FROM t001asites a, t002bcatchments b;
    $$ LANGUAGE SQL;
    CREATE OR REPLACE FUNCTION part04catchjunctionmaker() RETURNS void AS $$
    ALTER TABLE t200 add column pkid serial primary key, add column area integer,add column proportion decimal (10,9);
    $$ LANGUAGE SQL;
    CREATE OR REPLACE FUNCTION part06catchjunctionmaker() RETURNS void AS $$
    UPDATE t200 SET area=ST_Area(geom);
    $$ LANGUAGE SQL;
    CREATE OR REPLACE FUNCTION part07catchjunctionmaker() RETURNS void AS $$
    DELETE from t200 where area=0 or null;
    $$ LANGUAGE SQL;
    CREATE OR REPLACE FUNCTION part08catchjunctionmaker() RETURNS void AS $$
    UPDATE t200 SET proportion= cast(area as decimal)/cast(t001area as decimal) WHERE area > 0;
    $$ LANGUAGE SQL;
    CREATE OR REPLACE FUNCTION part088catchjunctionmaker() RETURNS void AS $$
    DROP table IF EXISTS t201;
    $$ LANGUAGE SQL;
    CREATE OR REPLACE FUNCTION part09catchjunctionmaker() RETURNS void AS $$
    Create table t201 as Select pkid,t001pkid,t002pkid, t001area, area, proportion, sum(proportion) OVER (PARTITION BY t001pkid ORDER BY t001pkid, proportion) as cum_proportion FROM t200 ORDER BY t001pkid, proportion;
    $$ LANGUAGE SQL;
    CREATE OR REPLACE FUNCTION part10catchjunctionmaker() RETURNS void AS $$
    Alter table t201 add column value decimal (14,9),
    Add column valuerounded integer,
    Add column cumulvaluerounded integer,
    Add column prevbaseline integer,
    Add column roundproportion integer;
    $$ LANGUAGE SQL;
    CREATE OR REPLACE FUNCTION part11catchjunctionmaker() RETURNS void AS $$
    UPDATE t201 set value = proportion * 100;
    $$ LANGUAGE SQL;
    CREATE OR REPLACE FUNCTION part12catchjunctionmaker() RETURNS void AS $$
    UPDATE t201 set valuerounded = round(value,0);
    $$ LANGUAGE SQL;
    CREATE OR REPLACE FUNCTION part13catchjunctionmaker() RETURNS void AS $$
    update t201 set cumulvaluerounded = round((cum_proportion*100),0);
    $$ LANGUAGE SQL;
    CREATE OR REPLACE FUNCTION part14catchjunctionmaker() RETURNS void AS $$
    update t201 set cumulvaluerounded=100 where cumulvaluerounded = 101;
    $$ LANGUAGE SQL;
    CREATE OR REPLACE FUNCTION part15catchjunctionmaker() RETURNS void AS $$
    update t201 set prevbaseline = round((cum_proportion - proportion)*100);
    $$ LANGUAGE SQL;
    CREATE OR REPLACE FUNCTION part16catchjunctionmaker() RETURNS void AS $$
    update t201 set roundproportion = (cumulvaluerounded-prevbaseline);
    $$ LANGUAGE SQL;
    CREATE OR REPLACE FUNCTION part17catchjunctionmaker() RETURNS void AS $$
    DELETE from t201 where roundproportion=0 or null;
    $$ LANGUAGE SQL;
    CREATE OR REPLACE FUNCTION part18catchjunctionmaker() RETURNS void AS $$
    alter table t201 add column proppercent decimal(3,2);
    $$ LANGUAGE SQL;
    CREATE OR REPLACE FUNCTION part19catchjunctionmaker() RETURNS void AS $$
    update t201 set proppercent = cast(roundproportion as decimal)/100;
    $$ LANGUAGE SQL;
    COMMIT;
    

    and now a function to pull it all together;

    CREATE OR REPLACE FUNCTION createcjt()
    RETURNS TEXT AS
    $BODY$
    BEGIN
    PERFORM part01catchjunctionmaker();
    PERFORM part02catchjunctionmaker();
    PERFORM part022catchjunctionmaker();
    PERFORM part03catchjunctionmaker();
    PERFORM part04catchjunctionmaker();
    PERFORM part06catchjunctionmaker();
    PERFORM part07catchjunctionmaker();
    PERFORM part08catchjunctionmaker();
    PERFORM part088catchjunctionmaker();
    PERFORM part09catchjunctionmaker();
    PERFORM part10catchjunctionmaker();
    PERFORM part11catchjunctionmaker();
    PERFORM part12catchjunctionmaker();
    PERFORM part13catchjunctionmaker();
    PERFORM part14catchjunctionmaker();
    PERFORM part15catchjunctionmaker();
    PERFORM part16catchjunctionmaker();
    PERFORM part17catchjunctionmaker();
    PERFORM part18catchjunctionmaker();
    PERFORM part19catchjunctionmaker();
    RETURN 'process end';
    END;
    $BODY$
    LANGUAGE plpgsql;
    

    QGIS and PostGIS : Identifying direction of a vector

    If using the dijkstra function with direction turned on it is important to identify the order in which the nodes of a vector line have been digitised. This is called the direction, dijkstra can use this with a reverse_cost attribute to handicap wrong movement along lines to such an extent that the correct path can be calculated around things like roundabouts.

    Here is an example of the roundabout in Straiton in Edinburgh just North of the A720 bypass. While some of the lines have a correct anti clockwise orienation clearly some have been incorrectly digitised.

    First we can see this by displaying the network in QGIS but using the styling to arrow the direction.

    The function that can be used to reverse such inaccuracies if you can’t resort to buying a correct dataset try ST_REVERSE

    013 Postgres command line : psql : Using ST_Within function to build junction tables to compare 2 separate polygon tables

    First off let us create a new database to hold our examples in.

    CREATE DATABASE stwithindb;
    

    Now add the postgis extension.

    Lets create two tables one called fields and one called plots

    CREATE TABLE
    t00001fields
    (
    pkid serial primary key,
    fieldname varchar(50),
    geom geometry(polygon,27700)
    )
    ;
    CREATE TABLE
    t00002Plots
    (
    pkid serial primary key,
    plotname varchar(50),
    geom geometry(polygon,27700)
    )
    ;

    Now lets go to QGIS connect to the PostGIS instance add the tables and create some test data manually.

    Here I have added fields in green with bold number labels and plots in brown with smaller number labelling. The numbers represent the pkid fields.

    Now here I can quickly run a query to identify the plots that are in fields

    SELECT t00002plots.pkid
    FROM
    t00002plots,
    t00001fields
    WHERE 
    ST_WITHIN(PUBLIC.T00002PLOTS.GEOM, PUBLIC.T00001FIELDS.GEOM);

    And it correctly identifies that plot 1 is within the fields layer.

    But what would be great in an application is to have some kind of junction table that individual master records could display their children on. For this we need a junction table that links between the field and plots table showing the pkids from each.

    SELECT t00002plots.pkid as Plotspkid,t00001fields.pkid as Fieldspkid
    FROM
    t00002plots,
    t00001fields
    WHERE 
    ST_WITHIN(PUBLIC.T00002PLOTS.GEOM, PUBLIC.T00001FIELDS.GEOM);

    Now I will move plot 2 into field 3 and rerun the above.

    The layer now looks like

    and running the former query we get.

    Now its possible to either create a junction table to hold this information..

    eg

    CREATE TABLE t00010fieldplotjunction AS 
    SELECT t00002plots.pkid as Plotspkid,t00001fields.pkid as Fieldspkid
    FROM
    t00002plots,
    t00001fields
    WHERE 
    ST_WITHIN(PUBLIC.T00002PLOTS.GEOM, PUBLIC.T00001FIELDS.GEOM);

    or we can create a view that will constantly calculate this everytime it is seen

    CREATE VIEW v001FieldPlotJunction AS
    SELECT t00002plots.pkid as Plotspkid,t00001fields.pkid as Fieldspkid
    FROM
    t00002plots,
    t00001fields
    WHERE 
    ST_WITHIN(PUBLIC.T00002PLOTS.GEOM, PUBLIC.T00001FIELDS.GEOM);

    Now if I add a few more plots and fields and then pull up the view we shall see that everything has been adjusted

    and running the view we now get

    In some circumstances this calculation may be expensive so we may wish to run and create a junction table overnight other times we may be happy to do it fully dynamically. Of course in a front end you could query and filter such that only one record was compared against the fields plot at anytime. Very useful nonetheless.

    MS Access Function – import all CSV files from a directory with the same structure into a single table

    This is a really nice function that can be used to place all data from multiple CSVs (with the same structure) into a single table.

    Here I use the Ordnance Survey’s excellent Code Point data set that gives postcodes in the UK along with eastings and northings as an example – This lists each postcode in the UK along with further administrative categories. Apologies to anyone from outside of the UK that may not be able to access these files I hope the demonstration is still useful. For those wishing to try please follow the links.

    After download you will see the problem each postcode is in a separate CSV.

    Ordnance Survey Open Data Code Point UK Postcodes

    After a short administration excercise to request a data download involving filling out your name you should be sent an email link to initiate a data download. The download consists of a zip file of two directories one named DOC one named DATA the DATA directory contains a subdirectory called CSV which at May 2018 for my download consisted of 120 csv files.

    Opening a single file ( in this case Edinburgh EH ) we see

    I’ve already figured this out here , but there are 10 fields here (some are blank in my example)

    Here I create a table called T01CodePointCombined with 10 fields marked
    F1 through to F10
    Note if you don’t create the table this function is so powerful it will do it for you

    I then create a module and ensure that all the CSV files I wish to import are in a single directory here “C:\Users\Mark\Documents\CodePoint\Data\CSV\”

    Public Function ImportAllFiles()
    
            Dim strPathFile As String, strFile As String, strPath As String
            Dim strTable As String
            Dim blnHasFieldNames As Boolean
    
            ' Change this next line to True if the first row in csv file
            ' has field names
            blnHasFieldNames = False
    
            ' Replace C:\Users\Mark\Documents\CodePoint\Data\CSV\ with the real path to the folder that
            ' Now place the location of where the csvs are within the brackets below
            strPath = "C:\Users\Mark\Documents\CodePoint\Data\CSV\"
    
            ' Replace tablename with the real name of the table into which
            ' the data are to be imported
            strTable = "T01CodePointCombined"
    
            strFile = Dir(strPath & "*.csv")
            Do While Len(strFile) > 0
                  strPathFile = strPath & strFile
    
                  DoCmd.TransferText _
                    TransferType:=acImportDelim, _
                    TableName:=strTable, _
                    filename:=strPathFile, _
                    HasFieldNames:=blnHasFieldNames
    
            ' Uncomment out the next code step if you want to delete the
            ' csv file after it's been imported
            '       Kill strPathFile
    
                  strFile = Dir()
            Loop
    
            MsgBox "Finished"
    
    End Function

    Points to note make sure all csv are closed when you run it. That’s about it takes less than 5 minutes to move all the records from those 120 files into a single table within an MS Access Database.
    After import if it’s gone correctly you should have in the region of 1.7 million records in T01CodePointCombined.

    Links to GIS information for test system design

    If you are trying to design software that includes a Geographical element it is easier if you are working with data that makes some kind of sense.

    The following are a list of sites where you can get good and consistent information on Local Authority Geographical Datasets within Scotland and in London. There has been an improvement in the quality and extent of information available but open data still remains patchy. Fortunately some datasets are available. The interesting thing about this data is that although it is rich it is largely unstructured and without relationships. Fortunately if there are geographical attributes then these can be used to spatialiy analyse the information and create relationships from which you can start to construct better systems.

    I understand why the data is patchy. To really publish well it is a necessity to get your systems working well so that the export (and publication) of data can be at least semi-automated. Without this it is simply too onerous for staff to repeatedly perform Extraction Transformation and Load procedures on ever larger numbers of datasets. Taking a step back however therein may lie the benefit. The quicker they can learn to cleanly optimise and export and hopefully automate these procedures the more likely they are to have their systems working properly and importantly the more investigation and experimentation they can put into linking their datasets. The skills to link these datasets constantly to a web data portal being similar to the skills required to link between systems.

    It might be expected therefore that better availability of open data is reflective of better internal systems.

    Here is the information that I was able to identify through Google Searches at February 2018.

    Aberdeenshire Open Data

    Angus Council Open Data Portal

    Argyll and Bute Open Data Portal

    Dundee City Open Data Portal

    Moray Council Open Data Portal

    North Ayrshire Open Data Portal

    North Lanarkshire Open Data Portal

    South Ayrshire Open Data Portal

    and scheduled ancient monument information can be obtained here.

    Historic Environment Scotland

    Here is London

    London

    Creation of SITE History from Planning Application Polygons using QGIS

    In planning it is important to know the planning history on a site. The status and likelihood of approved permission will often relate to previous permissions. Many council planning systems do not specifically relate planning applications to each other and there may be situations where you would like to create such links. This is essentially an excercise in using spatial analysis to create the junction table to hold what are many to many relationships.

    If your datasets are in any way large you will need to set aside a computer so that it can perform the calculations. When I first tried this the process took a weekend with queries running overnight.

    Start by obtaining as many years of planning application polygons as you can. Here I use polygon files in shape format.

    The polygon file or shape file should be in one file so if you need to merge the shape files you have together. I did this and the file I ended up with was

    AllPlanningApplications.shp

    Next – Delete all attribute fields EXCEPT the planning application number.

    Next – Create a centroids file from AllPlanningApplications.shp I called mine
    AllPlanningApplicationsCentroids.shp

    The next series of iterations are about getting a unique set of polygons with which we can go forward and generate a set of SITEPKIDS that can be attached to the child records.

    Step – Using AllPlanningApplications.shp ADD an additional field called area and populate it using QGIS $area calculation – save this file.

    Step – this is where it becomes interesting – in most authorities there are a vast number of planning application boundaries that overlap. Performing a dissolve at this point would result in a large congealed set of polygons that could not clearly identify unique sites. Thus buffering the polygons down we can start to identify unique sites. This is particularly important where boundaries are completely contiguous to each other.

    sites the buffering command is used within the geometry tools to try to separate adjacent overlapping and contiguous polygons.

    Step ‐ Create two files from the AllPlanningApplications.shp one for polygons less than 4500 metres squared and one for more than or equal to 4500 metres squared. This is to allow for two differing buffering processing to be performed on each.

    AllSmallLessthan4500PlanningApplications.shp

    AllLargeGreaterthanequal4500PlanningApplications.shp

    Now the 4500 is an empirical figure that was subjectively chosen there may be a better figure feel free to investigate.

    The following 2 steps also introduce empirical figures for the buffering that can be altered as appropriate.

    Step ‐ Take the file AllSmallLessthan4500PlanningApplications.shp and create a buffer polygon file of this with

    boundaries of less than 2m lets call it

    AllSmallLessthan4500PlanningApplicationsBufferMinus2.shp

    Step ‐ Take the file AllLargeGreatethanequal4500PlanningApplications.shp and create a buffer polygon file with

    boundaries of less than 20m lets call it

    AllLargeGreaterthanequal4500PlanningApplicationsMinus20.shp

    THIS NEXT STEP WILL TAKE SEVERAL HOURS IT MAY BE BEST TO DO EACH ONE OVERNIGHT

    Step ‐ Perform dissolves on both of these new files ensuring that dissolve all is used names could be something like

    Vector / Geoprocessing Tools / Dissolve /

    Set input layer alternatively to the two above files and set Dissolve field to dissolve all.

    Suggested file Names are

    MultipartDissolvedPolygonLessthan4500PlanningApplicationsBufferMinus2.shp

    MultipartDissolvedPolygonAllLargeGreaterthanequal4500PlanningApplicationsMinus20.shp

    Step You should now have two shape files of a large multipart polygon you want to perform the multipart to single part operation now

    Vector / Geometry Tools / Multipart to Single Part

    Processing involved with this is typically quick and suggested names for these files are

    DistinctPolygonsAllSmallLessthan4500PlanningApplicationsMinus2.shp

    DistinctPolygonsAllLargeGreatethanEqual4500PlanningApplicationsMinus20.shp

    Add area column and identify the largest polygon on the small files

    Add area column and identify the smallest polygon are on the large files you may want to remember this.

    Step ‐ perform merge on these two files to get

    Vector / Data Management Tools / Merge

    CombinedSmallandLargeDistinctPolygonsPlanningApplicationswithbuffering.shp

    ONGOING investigation ‐ would Difference be better than dissolve on this and should the above files be put together before

    Step ‐ perform dissolve

    Vector / GeoprocessingTools / Dissolve

    ensure that ‐‐Dissolve all‐‐ is selected

    DissolvedCombinedSmallandLargeDistinctPolygonsPlanningApplicationswithbuffering.shp

    Step now you want to split mutlipart to single

    DistinctPolygonsAllPlanningApplications.shp

    Step add field called SitePKID and populate it using $rownum command.

    Step

    Vector / Data Management Tools / Join Attributes by Location

    Set Target Vector Layer as

    AllPlanningApplicationsCentroids.shp

    Set Join Vector Layer as

    DistinctPolygonsAllPlanningApplications.shp

    Ensure that Keep all records (including non‐matching target records are kept)

    Output Shapefile suggestions

    AllPlanningApplicationsCentroidswithSitePKID.shp

    If there are centroids without Site PKIDs put them to the end and give them consecutive unique row numbers. The attribute file associated with AllPlanningApplicationsCentroidswithSitePKID.shp should now be a child table of the shape file DistinctPolygonsAllPlanningApplications.shp perform checks here to see if all centroids within a polygon defined by the distinct polygons have the same SitePKID and that it is matched by the SitePKID of the Parent shape file.

    You should be able to do a join on the this file to get the PKID back into the very original file.

    AllPlanningApplications.shp

    Finally perform a dissolve on the corrected AllPlanningApplications.shp file but this time dissolve on the field

    SitePKID

    You can call this

    DistinctCorrectedPolygonsAllPlanningApplications.shp

    QED!!!!

    QGIS – Import shape file into PostGIS Table

    The following uses
    QGIS 2.14.2 Essen and
    PostGres 9.5

    A number of local authorities have released information through the UK’s data government site. The following example uses a shape file obtained from Lichfield District Council – At 2nd of October 2016 this was available for download from the following link

    Lichfield Planning Applications

    Open up QGIS and add Lichfield’s planning application shape file
    qgisessen2142

    Now scan along the top menu and go to Database

    Select the sub menu DB Manager and then DB Manager

    dbmanager

    The following windows dialog should appear

    dbmanagerdialog

    Expand the area on the left named PostGIS – any PostGIS instances that you have created should be visisble here. Note you will have to have the PostGIS server running. Then highlight the actual instance that would like to import information into.

    In this case I use the instance LocalPostGres

    dbmanagerdialog

    Choose the third icon from the left.
    dbmanagerimportlayerfile

    It should be noted that the window on the right may or may not show the correct connection to the database on the right.

    importdialog

    Name the table you wish to create and then hit OK – additional parameters are available.
    There will be a delay before a confirmation of successful import happens – try to not issue commands during this time – once confirmation has been received go back into the PostGIS option and add the layer.

    QGIS 2.8.1 Getting Shape Files into SQL Server 2008 Express R2

    For digital mapping the shp extension is the equivalent of csv files – A significant amount of information is still held in shape files and even if it is not, nearly every GIS package can export to shape format. It’s therefore pretty vital that you understand how to get this format into your backends.

    Turns out QGIS 2.8.1 comes with a very handy excecutable called ogr2ogr.exe
    On my computer this was downloaded with my installation of QGIS 2.8.1 and placed in the the following directory

    C:\Program Files\QGIS Wien\bin

    It looks like this executable has been a part of the the download for sometime so if you are on a different version of QGIS I suspect the file will be on your machine but in a directory other that QGIS Wien – whatever your version is.

    If in doubt a simple search on ogr2ogr should give you the location.

    From the command prompt you need to either navigate to the location of ogr2ogr.exe or place the full path into the instruction. In the following I have navigated to the appropriate directory using change directory command at the prompt. I then input the following.

    ogr2ogr -overwrite -f MSSQLSpatial "MSSQL:server=MARK-LENOVO\SQLEXPRESS;database=Geodatabase;trusted_connection=yes" "C:\Users\Mark\Documents\shp\polygon\n_america.shp"

    On return it will start to import the information creating a new table in your SQL Server instance within the database listed in your parameter string. It looks like it just names the table the same as the shape file, I suspect if that name already exists as a tablename in SQL Server that table will be overwritten with the new shape file. Also note that the import process can take a fair bit of time for large files so be patient. I tested it initially with a small import which it did relatively quickly, I then went and hit it with 500 thousand records and it took a little over 2 hours. Still good to know that it can cope.

    Once you have imported the information into SQL you should perform some form of spatial indexing on the table.
    I have noted that layers that have spatial indexing are drawn differently than non spatial indexed layers. Layers with spatial indexes are drawn in more rapidly all over the district much like a spray from a can. Non spatial indexed layers appear on screen slower as if painted from one side to the other.

    Connecting to PostgreSQL 9.3 from QGIS 2.8.1 – local host

    First ensure that you have both Postgres and QGIS installed on your machine.

    In order for you to be able to connect to Postgres from QGIS on local host you must ensure 2 things. Firstly that the PostGIS plugin has been installed on your laptop AND secondly that you have included the postgis extension in each database that you wish to connect to. Without enabling the extension in the database you won’t be able to connect OR import shape files. Installation of PostGIS is often a default during the install of postgres but you can check whether this was completed correctly by using the Application Stack Builder, a small program that is installed with later versions of postgres.

    I navigated to this on the win 8.1 machine I was using by using search.

    Opening application stack builder you will be presented with the following.

    ApplicationStackBuilder

    Expand the spatial extensions tree to identify if you already have the PostGIS plugin installed – if not – select as appropriate the plugin and you will be prompted to install. You will need an internet connection for this. Above you can see that my plugin was already installed.

    Next you need to add the PostGIS extension to each Postgres database you wish to link to from QGIS this is done through PG Admin.

    This is something that both myself and a colleague got caught out by and it took me an hour of searching to find how to fix it.

    Below I have a database called GISData which I have just created. You will note there is only one object within the expanded extensions tree. You will not be able to connect to a database that does not include PostGIS in its list of extensions
    CreateExtension

    Hi-light the database you want to spatially enable then go to Tools – Query Tool( Ctrl + E will do the same). In the above picture I’ve slightly jumped the gun. To add the extension to the database type.

    CREATE EXTENSION postgis

    Run the query by selecting the green right arrow
    There will be a short delay and then upon refresh of the connection postgis should appear in the list of extensions.

    CreateExtensionCreated

    You can now close the Postgres administrator and return to QGIS where you should be able to setup the connection to the database.

    Parameters should be similar to below and it is useful to test the connection prior to saving.

    SettingupthePostGISconnection

    Enabling Geospatial integration in applications.

    Despite the fact that spatially enabled databases have been around pretty much everywhere for quite sometime there’s still a heck a lot of enterprise applications out there that are not using the feature even though their backends support it.

    SQL server has had the facility since 2008 , Oracle has it as well although it is with the expensive Oracle 11g Enterprise edition.

    So if its available why are so many applications not using it?

    Well one of the reasons is that many of the applications which would benefit from introduction are central to organisations and were in existence long before the feature was available in backend databases. So why not introduce it as an update? Well the problem is a geospatial attribute is a form of primary key more accurate than the often completely arbitrary primary keys that most tables will take as their reference. Adding it is likely to require not just the addition of a geospatial attribute which will be a defacto primary but potentially adding a full table not as a child but as a parent to the previous parent records – the former parent records requiring the addition of foreign keys that relate to their parents.

    As most of you know altering primary keys in tables is pretty much equivalent to transplant surgery for a database.
    Totally wiping a primary key and starting with a different primary key that needs to then be captured for itself and related back to its children is if anything several orders of magnitude worse than that..

    Doesn’t sound good does it.

    This is another case where if you have paying clients or you have a purchased product that isn’t going to happen until there is an outside force from a competitor. But the benefits are legion. As it stands most information in geographical systems is flat files that has to be updated directly within either the web gis or a gis desktop. These programs are really terrible making an application fully geospatial by design allows the UI you to display the geographical information in the GIS – web or desktop and related information in forms which often have vastly improved searching / linking to other systems drop down boxes well pretty much everything.

    Leave plenty of time for it but would be proper automation. Too many GIS systems are mirrored copies of a database that periodically have to be updated. This is not the long term optimum.

    Introduction to Basic Printing QGIS 2.2

    Creating maps that you can pass on to others is often a central and regular requirement if not in paper format then in a digital format that can be e-mailed or printed out. Here’s a quick reference for myself as much as anything else.

    To get into the print composer you can create a completely new print composition or alternatively load an existing print composition – Generally the 5th icon in the main menu bar will take you there (should be a white landscape rectangle with a star will give you access to the print composer , demonstrated below;

    The 6th icon can be used to get to an existing declared print composition.

    PrintComposerDemonstrationEnvironment

    Now in the first instance you are going to want to navigate around the map and ensure that the map you wish to produce has the correct extents. In the below image on a 2 screen image I show QGIS v2.2 open on the left screen and the print composer open in the right. To move the composition area around go to the map window within the main program and navigate accordingly. Then within the print composer window hit the command button titled

    Set to map canvas extent

    This will re-draw your composition with an interpreted boundary defined directly from you map window. You can enforce scale in the item properties. Similarly after changing layers you will need to ensure that you hit the above button again when you want the composition to reflect the layers within the map window.

    QGIS – Free GREAT Digital Mapping Software

    windglobe A map showing winds over the Atlantic

    Looking for a desktop digital mapping package? You really need to check out QGIS it is an absolutely excellent open source geographical information system. At the time of writing the latest version was QGIS 2.4 – the below tips were taken from research into windows version of QGIS 2.2

    Full program available here.
    Link to www.qgis.org site (English)

    Tip : Navigation – Magnification – Plus or Minus mangifier Icons or wheel scroll
    Tip : Navigation – Scroll – cursor keys or alternatively the hand icon or hold down the space bar and movement of the mouse when pointer is in the map window.
    Tip : Projection – CRS stands for Coordinate Referencing System – lots of different ways of showing what is essentially the surface of a sphere on a flat surface – and more generally referred to as map projection – you will remember from geography. For most UK maps the coordinates are often in Ordnance Survey UK Grid therefore you want the properties of Coordinate Referencing System of the project to be OSGB and you want the coordinate referencing system of the individual layers to be OSGB as well. Once this is done the scaling will be correct and so will the measurement tools.
    Tip : View / Panel – allows you to switch on and off menus – very good and very powerful
    Tip : Graphical Record selection – Icon in the middle of the toolbar that has a number of differing options – it’s a drop down that allows different things for selection.
    Tip : Attribute Record selection – Icon in the middle of the toolbar that allows for table attribute selection. Shows the table and this can be sorted properly.
    Tip : Deselect Records – can individually de-select using the keyboard alternatively you can also use the de-select icon in the middle of the top of the screen.
    Tip : Browser – brilliant for navigating through the directory and seems a lot quicker than going through the pop up individual menus on the left – for me anyway – additionally you can add an additional browser layer and transfer things between directories. It is an excellent alternative to the file dialogue manager.
    Tip : View / Decorations – You can add things like scale bar and copyright to the map window here – very intuitive and nice finishing touch to your projects.
    Tip : Labelling – Make scale dependent – highlight the layer you are interested in and right click. Now select the Labels option and within the Size section change the drop down from points to map units.
    Tip : Labelling – Threshold the labelling – right click on layer and then go to the Rendering section and select scale based visibilty and adjust accordingly.

    Above interpreted from the QGIS manual see:
    Link to PDF version of QGIS v2.2 manual

    VBA Function Collection for converting Eastings and Northings to Latitude and Longitude

    Some years back we hired a young lad by the name of Iain Brodie on a temporary contract – The week before I had been at an ESRI conference which had extensively discussed Web Mapping and  a speaker had demonstrated showing points in Google Maps. It was clear to me that the Google Maps url would accept and zoom to coordinates if those coordinates passed to it were Longitude and Latitude. Where I work there are significant numbers of datasets that use old Ordnance Survey UK specific Eastings and Northings coordinate system. Ordnance Survey actually set out the mathematics of conversion to Lat and Long on this page even detailing coded functions albeit in Javascript.

    http://www.movable-type.co.uk/scripts/latlong-gridref.html

    I specifically wanted to dynamically convert using Visual Basic for applications (specifically from MS Access). When Iain arrived it was clear that he was useful with computers and so I tasked him with finding VBA code from the internet. Between us we managed to get it working and I still regularly use the function set today to give users of applications a map in Google Maps. It really is a very nice quick tool that gives users quick access to maps for – you bet zero cost. My favourite price. We originally had it working with Google Earth but I only use it with Google Maps now.

    Function PHId(North1, N0, aFo, PHI0, n, bFo)
    PHI1 = ((North1 - N0) / aFo) + PHI0
    M = Marc(bFo, n, PHI0, PHI1)
    PHI2 = ((North1 - N0 - M) / aFo) + PHI1
    Do While Abs(North1 - N0 - M) > 0.00001
    PHI2 = ((North1 - N0 - M) / aFo) + PHI1
    M = Marc(bFo, n, PHI0, PHI2)
    PHI1 = PHI2
    Loop
    PHId = PHI2
    End Function
    
    Function Marc(bFo, n, P1, P2)
    Marc = bFo * (((1 + n + ((5 / 4) * (n ^ 2)) + ((5 / 4) * (n ^ 3))) * (P2 - P1)) - (((3 * n) + (3 * (n ^ 2)) + ((21 / 8) * (n ^ 3))) * (Sin(P2 - P1)) * (Cos(P2 + P1))) + ((((15 / 8) * (n ^ 2)) + ((15 / 8) * (n ^ 3))) * (Sin(2 * (P2 - P1))) * (Cos(2 * (P2 + P1)))) - (((35 / 24) * (n ^ 3)) * (Sin(3 * (P2 - P1))) * (Cos(3 * (P2 + P1)))))
    End Function
    
    Function lon(East1, North1)
    a = 6377563.396
    b = 6356256.91
    F0 = 0.9996012717
    E0 = 400000
    N0 = -100000
    PHI0 = 0.855211333
    LAM0 = -0.034906585
    aFo = a * F0
    bFo = b * F0
    e2 = (aFo ^ 2 - bFo ^ 2) / aFo ^ 2
    n = (aFo - bFo) / (aFo + bFo)
    InitPHI = PHId(North1, N0, aFo, PHI0, n, bFo)
    nuPL = aFo / ((1 - (e2 * (Sin(InitPHI)) ^ 2)) ^ 0.5)
    rhoPL = (nuPL * (1 - e2)) / (1 - (e2 * (Sin(InitPHI)) ^ 2))
    eta2PL = (nuPL / rhoPL) - 1
    M = Marc(bFo, n, PHI0, InitPHI)
    Et = East1 - E0
    X = ((Cos(InitPHI)) ^ -1) / nuPL
    XI = (((Cos(InitPHI)) ^ -1) / (6 * nuPL ^ 3)) * ((nuPL / rhoPL) + (2 * ((Tan(InitPHI)) ^ 2)))
    XII = (((Cos(InitPHI)) ^ -1) / (120 * nuPL ^ 5)) * (5 + (28 * ((Tan(InitPHI)) ^ 2)) + (24 * ((Tan(InitPHI)) ^ 4)))
    XIIA = (((Cos(InitPHI)) ^ -1) / (5040 * nuPL ^ 7)) * (61 + (662 * ((Tan(InitPHI)) ^ 2)) + (1320 * ((Tan(InitPHI)) ^ 4)) + (720 * ((Tan(InitPHI)) ^ 6)))
    lon = (LAM0 + (Et * X) - ((Et ^ 3) * XI) + ((Et ^ 5) * XII) - ((Et ^ 7) * XIIA))
    End Function
    
    Function lat(East1, North1)
    a = 6377563.396
    b = 6356256.91
    F0 = 0.9996012717
    E0 = 400000
    N0 = -100000
    PHI0 = 0.855211333
    LAM0 = -0.034906585
    aFo = a * F0
    bFo = b * F0
    e2 = (aFo ^ 2 - bFo ^ 2) / aFo ^ 2
    n = (aFo - bFo) / (aFo + bFo)
    InitPHI = PHId(North1, N0, aFo, PHI0, n, bFo)
    nuPL = aFo / ((1 - (e2 * (Sin(InitPHI)) ^ 2)) ^ 0.5)
    rhoPL = (nuPL * (1 - e2)) / (1 - (e2 * (Sin(InitPHI)) ^ 2))
    eta2PL = (nuPL / rhoPL) - 1
    M = Marc(bFo, n, PHI0, InitPHI)
    Et = East1 - E0
    VII = (Tan(InitPHI)) / (2 * nuPL * rhoPL)
    VIII = ((Tan(InitPHI)) / (24 * rhoPL * nuPL ^ 3)) * (5 + (3 * ((Tan(InitPHI)) ^ 2)) + eta2PL - (9 * ((Tan(InitPHI)) ^ 2) * eta2PL))
    IX = ((Tan(InitPHI)) / (720 * rhoPL * nuPL ^ 5)) * (61 + (90 * ((Tan(InitPHI)) ^ 2)) + (45 * ((Tan(InitPHI)) ^ 4)))
    lat = (InitPHI - ((Et ^ 2) * VII) + ((Et ^ 4) * VIII) - ((Et ^ 6) * IX))
    End Function
    
    Function degrees(radians)
    degrees = 180 * radians / 3.14159265358979
    End Function
    
    Function trunc(value)
    If value > 0 Then
    trunc = Int(value)
    Else
    trunc = Int(value + 1)
    End If
    End Function

    And here is the code the onclick function of a button called Command01 and it pulls from a screen that has an eastings and northings field on it and which has a Sitename field.

    Dim Llatitude As Double
    Dim Llongitude As Double
    Dim strSitename As String
    
    Llatitude = degrees(lat([Eastings], [Northings]))
    Llongitude = degrees(lon([Eastings], [Northings])) - 0.0015
    strSitename = Me.Sitename
        
    Dim strlatlong As String
    strlatlong = Llatitude & ",+" & Llongitude

    ‘Here I have two options – the first places a marker on the map – as far as I can tell – the marker is only available within google with the side panel displayed as well. The second shows the map centered on the requested location but without any markers. Choose one

    Command01.HyperlinkAddress = "https://maps.google.com/maps?q=" & strlatlong & "+(" & strSitename & ")&z=18&iwloc=near&hl=en&ll=" & strlatlong
    
    Command01.HyperlinkAddress ="https://www.google.com/maps/@" & Llatitude & "," & Llongitude & ",18z?hl=en"

    And for Developers wanting to get into more detail here is the url for more information on passing parameters to the google maps url.

    Google Map URLs