Tag Archives: OpenGeo Suite

OpenGeo Suite 3.0 on a micro AWS

The Problem: I want to run the latest 3.0 version of OpenGeo Suite on a free (or really cheap) micro instance on Amazon Web Services

OpenGeo announced the release of version 3 of the OpenGeo Suite Monday (Oct.3). I’ve been using the 3.0-beta1 Linux version since it was announced on July 27. There are some interesting improvements to the Suite, which is one reason I made the jump before the final release came out. It now includes PostgreSQL 9.2 and PostGIS 2.0, both of which I wanted to look into.

I had been using previous versions of OpenGeo Suite on a micro instance AWS ubuntu server. This configuration was obviously not optimal. Redraws in GeoExplorer where slow, and I could tell the system was struggling at times. CPU usage went up to 100% quite often, but it did work. Performance was acceptable enough for the kind of experimenting and testing I wanted to do.

With the 3.0 upgrade, however, something pushed it over the edge. Everything installed OK. I was able to upload my usual test data, and get a website with a web-map up and running. However, it would not last. It just wasn’t as stable as previous versions. Zooming and panning the map would crash the tomcat servlet within minutes. Even just letting it run with no interaction would lead to a crash within a few hours.

A few pointers from the folks at OpenGeo, and some investigation of the logs, led me to believe it was a memory issue. AWS Micro instances only have 613MB of memory.

The Answer: Add a swap file to overcome the memory limitations of a micro instance

AWS micro instance Ubuntu servers do not come set up with any swap space. Fortunately, it’s fairly easy to add a swap file to the server, and use that as your swap space. Here are the steps:

1. Create a storage file (Adjust the “count=” line to your liking. This example will make a 1 GB swap file)

sudo dd if=/dev/zero of=/swapfile bs=1024 count=1048576

2. Turn this new file into a swap area

sudo mkswap /swapfile

3. Set the file permissions appropriately

sudo chown root:root /swapfile

sudo chmod 0600 /swapfile

4. Activate the swap area every time the system reboots by adding the following line to the end of the “/etc/fstab” file:
(use your text editor of choice. vi works for me.)

/swapfile swap swap defaults 0 0

5. Reboot the server

6. Verify the swap file is activated

free –m


I’ve had my OpenGeo Suite test box running 24/7 for nearly two months now, with nary a crash. And I can honestly say, it is surprisingly perky.


Over the past week I’ve probably generated enough material for a half-dozen blog posts. However, since I have to get some billable hours in and invoices sent out this week, I’ll just post a short update for now on one aspect of project LOGAS. In my prior post I described the steps I took to get an Ubuntu based Apache/GeoServer up and running. Since then I’ve tweaked the process, and with a lot of help, been able to get everything in working order.

One of the roadblocks I faced was how to get Apache/Tomcat and GeoServer working together. Working individually was easy, together was not. As I progressed with my education in JavaScript, I ran into some cross-domain issues due to the fact my website and GeoServer were hosted on different machines. Even when I put them both on the same machine, the problems persisted due to the fact the webserver  and the the map server use different ports (Apache – 80, and GeoServer – 8080). The solution turned out to be setting up a proxy server. Sounds easy. It was not.

After banging my head on the problem to the point of near concussion, a few online cohorts came to my rescue; in particular, @spara. She was generous enough to write up a script that installs Apache and the OpenGeo Suite, and configures Tomcat and the rest in a way that makes them all work together. She’s posted the code on github for anyone to use. Note: My previous post installed a full LAMP system. This one is limited to just Apache and the OpenGeo Suite, with some tweaks to the Tomcat servlet configuration.

I’ve tested her script on a few clean Ubuntu 10.10 setups, but I haven’t been able to get it to work as a single copy/paste yet. For me, it’s still a multi-step process. But, it does work and it is about as painless as it gets. What works consistently for me, is performing the OpenGeo Suite install first, and then running the Apache install/Tomcat configuration separately.

OpenGeo Suite

So far, the only process that works consistently for me is to first sudo to root, then setup the repository and install the OpenGeo suite. Start by typing the following into a terminal window:

sudo su

… hit enter, and enter your password.

Then copy and paste the following into terminal:

wget -qO- http://apt.opengeo.org/gpg.key | apt-key add -

echo “deb http://apt.opengeo.org/ubuntu lucid main” >> /etc/apt/sources.list

apt-get update

apt-cache search opengeo

apt-get install opengeo-suite

After OpenGeo finishes installing, it will ask for a proxy URL (just leave it blank and hit enter unless you know what that means), a user name, and a password. Set these up as you wish. When all that’s done, move on the the next step.


Here’s the script for the Apache install/Tomcat setup, just copy and paste this into a terminal window:

sudo apt-get install -y apache2
sudo ln -s /etc/apache2/mods-available/proxy.conf /etc/apache2/mods-enabled/proxy.conf
sudo ln -s /etc/apache2/mods-available/proxy.load /etc/apache2/mods-enabled/proxy.load
sudo ln -s /etc/apache2/mods-available/proxy_http.load /etc/apache2/mods-enabled/proxy_http.load
sudo chmod 666 /etc/apache2/sites-available/default
sudo sed -i '$d'  /etc/apache2/sites-available/default
sudo sh -c "echo ' ' >> /etc/apache2/sites-available/default"
sudo sh -c "echo 'ProxyRequests Off' >> /etc/apache2/sites-available/default"
sudo sh -c "echo '# Remember to turn the next line off if you are proxying to a NameVirtualHost' >> /etc/apache2/sites-available/default"
sudo sh -c "echo 'ProxyPreserveHost On' >> /etc/apache2/sites-available/default"
sudo sh -c "echo ' ' >> /etc/apache2/sites-available/default"
sudo sh -c "echo '<Proxy *>' >> /etc/apache2/sites-available/default"
sudo sh -c "echo '    Order deny,allow' >> /etc/apache2/sites-available/default"
sudo sh -c "echo '    Allow from all' >> /etc/apache2/sites-available/default"
sudo sh -c "echo '</Proxy>' >> /etc/apache2/sites-available/default"
sudo sh -c "echo ' ' >> /etc/apache2/sites-available/default"
sudo sh -c "echo 'ProxyPass /geoserver http://localhost:8080/geoserver' >> /etc/apache2/sites-available/default"
sudo sh -c "echo 'ProxyPassReverse /geoserver http://localhost:8080/geoserver' >> /etc/apache2/sites-available/default"
sudo sh -c "echo 'ProxyPass /geoexplorer http://localhost:8080/geoexplorer' >> /etc/apache2/sites-available/default"
sudo sh -c "echo 'ProxyPassReverse /geoexplorer http://localhost:8080/geoexplorer' >> /etc/apache2/sites-available/default"
sudo sh -c "echo 'ProxyPass /geoeditor http://localhost:8080/geoeditor' >> /etc/apache2/sites-available/default"
sudo sh -c "echo 'ProxyPassReverse /geoeditor http://localhost:8080/geoeditor' >> /etc/apache2/sites-available/default"
sudo sh -c "echo 'ProxyPass /geowebcache http://localhost:8080/geowebcache' >> /etc/apache2/sites-available/default"
sudo sh -c "echo 'ProxyPassReverse /geowebcache http://localhost:8080/geowebcache' >> /etc/apache2/sites-available/default"
sudo sh -c "echo 'ProxyPass /dashboard http://localhost:8080/dashboard' >> /etc/apache2/sites-available/default"
sudo sh -c "echo 'ProxyPassReverse /dashboard http://localhost:8080/dashboard' >> /etc/apache2/sites-available/default"
sudo sh -c "echo 'ProxyPass /recipes http://localhost:8080/recipes' >> /etc/apache2/sites-available/default"
sudo sh -c "echo 'ProxyPassReverse /recipes http://localhost:8080/recipes' >> /etc/apache2/sites-available/default"
sudo sh -c "echo ' ' >> /etc/apache2/sites-available/default"
sudo sh -c "echo '</VirtualHost>' >> /etc/apache2/sites-available/default"
sudo chmod 644 /etc/apache2/sites-available/default

This installs Apache, and configures it and Tomcat so it appears as though your website and all of the OpenGeo Suite apps are using the same port. The last thing to do is test everything as I outlined in my previous post.

Test the Apache2 default website:

on the host computer – http://localhost – It works!
and via a remote computer (substitute your server’s domain here) – – It works!

Test the OpenGeo Suite:

Open the dashboard – http://localhost:8080/dashboard/
Launch GeoExplorer
Save the default map and exit GeoExplorer

Test GeoServer by loading a GeoExplorer map:

Open the default map on a remote computer (again, substitute your server’s domain here) –

If everything is set up correctly, you should see something like this:


There are probably a few more tweaks that can be made to this process, but I don’t know enough about how Ubuntu works yet to make those changes. I do know that this process works most of the time. A restart between processes helps sometimes, and trying them in a different order occasionally works, too. If anyone can come up with a better, more streamlined approach, please feel free to let me know about it. For now, I’ll just have to live with a little complexity.

And in honor of the day, a little more cow bell, too –

LOGAS–Linux OpenGeo Apache Server

Moving the GeoSandbox to Full OpenSource

I’ve run into a couple of roadblocks recently, regarding my experiments with my GeoSandbox. I want to be able to play with some of of the JavaScript libraries available, so I can continue my education on those fronts. Some cross domain issues arose when I started putting JavaScript in my web pages as my website is on a different server than is my GeoServer. So, that means learning some more about setting up web servers and how proxy servers work. Also, my old Dell 600m is starting to feel the effects of the increased demands placed on it as the GeoSandbox becomes more popular, and more complex. That means an eventual move onto a cloud server. Since cloud servers running an open source OS are much less expensive than those running Windows, I felt the need to begin transferring my entire setup over to open source tools.

For now, I’m just going to do a short outline of what it took to get a basic Ubuntu/Apache/OpenGeo Suite operating on my home server. Once I get a better handle on how Ubuntu and Apache work I’ll add some posts about that.

Starting with a clean install of Ubuntu 10.10

Download and install Ubuntu 10.10 Desktop

I downloaded Ubuntuu 10.10 Desktop Edition from their website:


Yes, I could have used the Server edition, but Coming from a Windows world, It’s easier for me to work with some kind of GUI than to go 100% command line. After downloading the .iso, I burned it to a CD, installed it on a clean hard drive, and then installed all updates.

Turn Ubuntu Desktop into an Apache Server

Install LAMP with a single command

In case you didn’t know, LAMP stands for “Linux Apache MySQL PHP”. This may or may not be more than I need for my purposes, but a one-line install looked like the easiest way to go, so:


Then I opened a terminal window and entered:

sudo apt-get install lamp-server^

Add in the ability to serve maps

Install OpenGeo Suite

This was the most difficult part for me to figure out. Instructions can be found here:


Being somewhat new to Ubuntu, I missed what the first step under “Repository Setup” meant (sudo to root). Once I figured that out, things went smoothly. The steps are:

In terminal, sudo to root:

sudo su

Import the OpenGeo gpg key:

wget -qO- http://apt.opengeo.org/gpg.key | apt-key add -

Add the OpenGeo repository:

echo "deb http://apt.opengeo.org/ubuntu lucid main" >> /etc/apt/sources.list

Update the package list:

apt-get update

Search for OpenGeo packages:

apt-cache search opengeo

Install the OpenGeo Suite package:

apt-get install opengeo-suite

Restart Ubuntu

See if everything works

The last step was to see if everything was working properly, which it was.

Test the Apache2 default website:

on the host computer – http://localhost – It works!
and via a remote computer (substitute your server’s domain here) – – It works!

Test the OpenGeo Suite:

Open the dashboard – http://localhost:8080/dashboard/
Launch GeoExplorer
Save the default map and exit Geoexplorer

Test GeoServer by loading a GeoExplorer map:

Open the default map on a remote computer (again, substitute your server’s domain here) –

In my case, everything worked as expected. After this, I continued trying to set up a custom website to serve my GeoServer maps, but ran into a few problems. I’ll be switching the GeoSandbox back and forth between the Windows and Apache server as I continue my climb up the learning curve, so don’t be surprised if some of the links appear to be broken on occasion.