GeoPackages

The following article contains instructions for the Piclo GeoPackage upload process and was last updated in July 2020 (v1.1).

Introduction

Piclo have implemented a more precise method for how competitions boundaries are defined. Instead of using postcodes or postcode sectors, System operators (SOs) can now provide geospatial data straight from their own systems in GeoPackage format. This help article provides the instructions on how to use this new feature.

What are GeoPackages?

GeoPackage files can contain multiple polygons with attributes. More information can be found at geopackage.org. GeoPackage files can be extracted from the GIS systems of any SO to provide accurate boundaries for areas of constraint on the network. 

How to use GeoPackages?

Using the GeoPackages process to define Competition boundaries (aka ‘zones’ or ‘areas’) is a two step process:

  • Step 1 - upload a GeoPackage file via Manage > Areas, identifying which column in the attribute table defines the unique ‘area reference’ when prompted.
  • Step 2 - upload a Competitions File via Manage > Competitions using the area reference(s) when defining the boundary in the Competitions Boundary sheet.

Any number of areas can be stored in Piclo and called upon via the competitions file. This means a SO can upload accurate polygons of all their primary and / or secondary substation feeder areas in one go, and then call on any number of those polygons to create unique competition boundaries time and time again. A competition boundary can consist of multiple ‘Areas’ each specified by an area reference. 

Restrictions
  • Area ref character limit: 50
  • File size limit: 5MB
  • Only add 1 layer per file
Working example
  • On the Manage ‘Areas’ page in a SO Piclo account, upload a GeoPackage file, with an attribute column named “NR” 

  • With the information in that column, the areas are referenced as “340011”, “163170”, “340012”, and “340017” etc.
  • On the Manage ‘Competitions’ page, then upload a Competition File and within the competition boundary sheet, add the references “340011” and “163170” and then just “340012” in the “Area Refs” column against each competition as required.

  • This will create a competition with either the union of two areas, or as a solo area, as defined in the GeoPackage file previously uploaded.
How to view and edit shape attributes in a GeoPackage using QGIS

QGIS is an open source GIS (Geographic Information System) software that can be used to view GeoPackages and their attributes. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Open QGIS
  2. Open the Data Source Manager (Layer -> Data Source Manager)
  3. Select GeoPackage in the right hand column of the dialogue box that comes up
  4. Select “New” to create a new connection
  5. Select the GeoPackage file, then select “Connect”
  6. It will then populate a list of “tables” in the GeoPackage- all tables will need to have the reference attribute.
  7. Select the table you want to see the attributes to and then click “Add” at the bottom of the dialogue.
  8. Close the dialogue and then right click the new added layer in the “layers” box in the bottom left of the screen.
  9. Select “Open Attribute Table” on the right click menu.
  10. Complete - now view and edit the attribute table.

Editing a GeoPackage file in QGIS or any other software will write-lock it for other applications. After creating the GeoPackage, make sure to either close the GIS application or remove the application’s connection to the GeoPackage before uploading the file to Piclo. If the filesystem has a copy of the GeoPackage file with “-wal” appended, this is evidence that the file is write-locked.

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