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SpatialConnect library for Android

Current Version



SpatialConnect is a collection of libraries that makes it easier for developers to write apps that connect to multiple spatial data stores online and offline. It leverages Reactive Extentsions for communicating with the data stores using a common API across iOS, Android, and Javascript runtimes.

This library provides native APIs for Android as well as a Javascript bridge to communicate to the native API from mobile browsers. The SpatialConnect Android SDK is packaged in the aar format and can be imported as a dependency to your Android app.

Core Concepts

All services and data stores in SpatialConnect provide an API that returns an Observable that emits data or events for subscribers to consume.

Services and SpatialConnect

SpatialConnect consists of a collection of services which each handle specific functionality. For instance, the SCDataService handles reads and writes to data stores while the SCSensorService handles subscribing to and reciving GPS updates. All services are managed by the SpatialConnect object, which is responsible for loading a configuration file that will initialize the services and data stores.

Currently there are 3 services, the SCDataService, the SCNetworkService, and the SCSensorService. The SpatialConnect object is responsible for managing the service lifecycle (registering them, starting/stopping them, etc). When you create an instance of SpatialConnect, it will enable all the services and read the configuration file to determine what to do next. If data stores are defined, it will attempt to register each store with the SCDataService.

Data Stores and the DataService

The SCDataService is responsible for interacting with the data stores. All data stores must implement the SCSpatialStore interface which provides methods to interact with the data store. Here's what it looks like:

	Observable query(SCQueryFilter scFilter);
	Observable queryById(SCKeyTuple keyTuple);
	Observable create(SCSpatialFeature scSpatialFeature);
	Observable update(SCSpatialFeature scSpatialFeature);
	Observable delete(SCKeyTuple keyTuple);

Implementations exist for GeoJSON and GeoPackage data stores but to create a new data store developers need to create a class that implements this interface and update a configuration file to let SpatialConnect know that the store exists.

Don't worry about SCQueryFilter, SCKeyTuple, or SCSpatialFeature for now...keep reading and you'll learn about them soon!

How to create a new data store

To create a new data store you need to create a class that extends SCDataStore. Then you must update the config file /src/main/res/raw/scconfig.json with the store's name, type, and an optional version for the store type (eg. when WMS is the store type, 1.1.0 is an example version).

Here's an example config file:

      "type": "geojson",
      "version": "1",
      "uri": "all.geojson",

The data store needs an adapter to connect to the underlying data source (a GeoJson file, a GeoPackage database, a CSV file, etc), therefore you must also create a class that extends SCDataAdapter. The adapter will manage connecting and disconecting to the data source as well as the actual I/O to the data source. The adapter will use the uri defined in the config to connect to the data source. If the uri is remote, then it will download from the location and store it locally (at least for a geopackage).

Querying for features

There are a few different ways to query for features but the main idea is to create an SCQueryFilter with SCPredicates and pass it to a query function. All data stores will have query functions and the the SCDataService provides convenience methods for querying across all the data stores.

Let's see how this works with an example. Let's say you want to query for all features that exist within a specific bounding box. You would first need to build an SCQueryFilter with anSCPredicate that uses a SCBoundingBox like this:

SCBoundingBox bbox = new SCBoundingBox(

SCQueryFilter filter = new SCQueryFilter(
        new SCPredicate(

Now to query across all stores for features in that bounding box, we can use the data service like this:

SpatialConnect sc = new SpatialConnect(getActivity());
SCDataService ds = sc.getDataService();
// query all stores in the bounding box and add them to the map
                    new Subscriber<SCSpatialFeature>() {

                        public void onCompleted() {

                        public void onError(Throwable e) {

                        public void onNext(SCSpatialFeature feature) {

The queryAllStores() method returns an Observable stream of SCSpatialFeatures that are added to the map as the subscriber receives them.

In addition to using SCPredicates to query, you can also use the SCKeyTuple that is part of every SCSpatialFeature. The SCKeyTuple is a tuple that contains the store id, the layer id, and the feature id. Let's say you need to get a specific feature to perform some editing on it. You can get the specific feature by first getting the data store and then querying by the feature id:

SCKeyTuple keyTuple = new SCKeyTuple(storeId, layerId, featureId);

SCSpatialFeature and Geometry Object Model

SCSpatialFeatures is the primary domain object of SpatialConnect. It is a generic object that contains an id, some audit metadata, and a k/v map of properties.

Another common object in SpatialConnect is SCGeometry, which extends SCSpatialFeature with a JTS Geometry object and some other attributes. A useful side effect of this is that the SCGeometry object can always be represented as a GeoJSON Geometry object.

SCSpatialFeature is the parent class of all SCGeometrys. This allows the library to handle data types that do not contain a geometry. A useful aspect of this design is that data containing no location attribute can still be stored, queried, and filtered with the functionality of SpatialConnect.

The SpatialConnect provides a custom geometry object model using the SCGeometry. One reason this is necessary is b/c we need to identify objects by their ids (in case they need to be edited) and the GeoJSON spec doesn’t require ids. The object model is a blend of the OGC Simple Feature Specification and the GeoJSON spec but it doesn’t strictly follow either because it’s trying to be a useful, developer-friendly abstraction.

As mentioned before, each SCSpatialFeature contains a SCKeyTuple containing the layer id, store id, and feature id. When sending a SCSpatialFeature through the Javascript bridge, we Base64 encode each part of the tuple and use that for the GeoJSON Feature's id. This will allow us to keep track of features even after they are edited by a Javascript mapping client like OpenLayers.

Background cloud messaging

This library supports background cloud messaging using Firebase Cloud Messaging. For cloud messaging functionality please contact us for implementation details for the google-services.json file.


See for an example application using this SDK.


To install the library into your project add the following to the top level build.gradle to specifiy the remote maven repository for the Eclipse Paho client service dependency.

allprojects {
    repositories {
        maven {
            url ''

Finally in your module's build.gradle file add the dependency for the latest version

compile 'com.boundlessgeo.spatialconnect:spatialconnect:0.8.1'


To run the tests and generate a coverage report run

./gradlew connectedCheck

The testing and coverage reports can be found in $projectRoot/spatialconnect/build/reports/

Version Support

Android 4.1+ Jelly Bean API 16