During the latest QGIS developer meeting (aka HackFest), I’ve had the pleasure to meet Victor Olaya, the developer of Sextante. He kindly presented Sextante to all participants, which you can see here :
Since a few months, he is rewriting Sextante (initially in Java for gvSIG) as a new QGIS Python plugin. Sextante provides access to a huge number of processing modules, and acts as a geoprocessing environment that can be used to call native and third-party algorithms from QGIS.
With the help of Victor, the meeting has been quite productive and we now have a first working version of the OTB Sextante algorithm provider. This completes the list of already available algorithms : GRASS, Saga, GDAL, mmqgis, fTools…
And I was not the only one interested in using Sextante. An OGR algorithm provider is on the way, and the developer of the WPS client plugin has also expressed interest in porting it to Sextante too. You can expect the list of available back-ends to grow regularly in the near future.
Regarding the functionnalities, Sextante shows up as a toolbar in the QGIS desktop GUI, and allows to process QGIS raster and vector layers by clicking on a processing module entry. It automatically handles the potential I/O conversions needed for some backend (like GRASS and SAGA), and loads the results as new QGIS layers. It tracks down your history of launched modules, logs, etc… It can also be called from Python in a headless environment (ok… who said “QGIS WPS server” ?).
The killer feature is the Modeler, providing a simple yet effective way of creating pipeline of Sextante modules to build up new higher level Sextante modules. This makes it very easy to interface Orfeo Toolbox with all the other geoprocessing environments available in Sextante.
Here are a few screenshots to give you an overview of Sextante :
Many thanks to Victor for providing Sextante in QGIS !
Seeing so much interest in Sextante from the QGIS community, and provided Victor will be working on the plugin full time until next year, we can hope for a beautiful future for the Sextante QGIS plugin !