Cartography and USGS — Fake Building Footprints in PostGIS now with distance operator

Quick and fun post tonight.  Remember in USGS quads all the little building footprints that represented civilization?  We (me and my colleague John Stein) were contemplating how to pull off something similar with address points.  Here was our first attempt:

It looks ok, but may be a little crude to be considered cartography (click on it to see it bigger– you’ll see those buildings don’t look quite right… ).  So, what we wanted to do of course was to rotate these buildings relative to the road network.  With ST_ClosestPoint in PostGIS (1.5 and beyond) this is easier than advertised:

ALTER TABLE jstein.address_points_all ADD COLUMN azimuth integer;
UPDATE jstein.address_points_all addr
SET azimuth = degrees(ST_Azimuth(addr.the_geom, ST_ClosestPoint(road.the_geom, addr.the_geom)))
FROM jstein.street_centerlines road;

and Walla! (or voila, or something):

Ahh, now that, with some additional work, should result in some very nice cartography.  The buildings now follow the angle of the road (so long as we always use a square… ).  USGS quads are dead.  Long live USGS quads!

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