Search in 2007: A Serious Start
For a tech start-up, you have to have technology, so I asked Nigel to give me a breakdown of what we could use to develop with, and then use in a live environment when it was working. I ended up with two giant Dell servers, almost 100 lbs each: one for the web server and the other for the database.
The beginning of this phase marks where my life had to be completely upended in order to make all this happen. I decided to use Microsoft SQL Server 2008 because it could store columns with GIS data types. It was not strictly necessary, because I was using another product, TatukGIS which stored vector and bitmap data in special blob columns maintained exclusively for its own API.
I wanted to start with local areas I was familiar with, so that involved getting all the GIS data I could find for San Diego County in California. The servers that allowed you to download bits and pieces of aerial imagery were unresponsive during the day, but were quite speedy starting at 1:00 a.m.
For almost four months I worked on the 1:00 a.m. schedule to download raw data. The following day, I would import it into the TatukGIS system and index it. I downloaded terabytes of imagery from wherever I could get it. My biggest find was 6″ per pixel imagery for Napa, Ca. The best I could do for San Diego was about 1 foot per pixel, and most everything else was 1 meter per pixel or worse.
At long last the bulk of the GIS data had been loaded. I had enough to work with so it was time to think about those giant servers in my house. Having the servers in the house was not pleasant, they were loud and quadrupled my electric bill to almost $500 per month. In the summer time it was almost unbearable, as the air conditioning had to be factored in because of the heat they output.
It was my hope to host the public site at the house, but someone spoofed the MAC address on my modem and everything went haywire. The ISP finally figured it out and gave me a new modem.
I knew the modem MAC spoofing would happen again, so I shopped around for a cheap co-lo that would allow the machines to operate in a protected environment closer to the main fiber. A deal was negotiated with a provider and the machines were moved physically to a co-lo in San Diego, CA with security badges and everything. Everything was up and running, although the actual web site was still a stub.
Next: the joys of working on the project with no other responsibilities.