Yesterday, I went to an appointment at the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Pop-up Loft in New York City.

I sat with one of their AWS support specialists and sorta explained an idea for a GIS web service project using PostGIS. The specialist hadn’t heard of PostGIS but he was super familiar with PostgreSQL and was a networking expert (the guy talked me through how companies use AWS securely and with backup servers - it was fascinating for someone who knows so little about networking and security). From what I understand Amazon cycles some of their support specialists to these Pop-up lofts and they hang out and help AWS customers. It’s sort of set up like the Genius Bar at an Apple Store but for AWS.

Amazon Web Services Pop-up Loft

AWS Pop-up Loft in New York City

I’ve toyed around with setting up instances and SSHing on and such on EC2. But usually I just turn them on, log in and then forget about them until I see that I’m being charged a couple bucks a month and shut it down.

I figured I’d have to set up an EC2 virtual server. But after sort of hashing out the whole GIS idea I had (more on that in a few months), he directed me to use Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) as I could just run PostgreSQL on that. What is RDS?

Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) makes it easy to set up, operate, and scale a relational database in the cloud. It provides cost-efficient and resizable capacity while managing time-consuming database administration tasks, freeing you up to focus on your applications and business.

Wait, what? Read more about AWS RDS.

I sat with the AWS specialist for about an hour and half and most of the time was talking through concepts and deciding whether I needed EC2 or RDS. When we figured out that RDS should be suitable, we then went to set up the RDS PostgreSQL database. It took maaaaybe a half hour. I’m not really sure because I wasn’t keeping track of time. But when I was done I was able to connect to my database in QGIS and through pgAdmin.

I’m super glad I checked the AWS Pop-up loft out. I will definitely head there again.

tracts NYC Census Tracts (exploded to multipolygon - b/c I’m not totally sure I understand PostGIS’s support for multipolygons) in QGIS being served from an Amazon Web Services RDS instance.

If you have any questions about anything AWS-related. Schedule an appointment. Right now. You will not be dissappointed. Amazon Web Services (AWS) Pop-up Loft in New York City.