Monthly Downloads: 9
Programming language: Haskell
License: MIT License
Tags: Web     Network    
Latest version: v1.0-alpha

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Quick Urban Analysis Kit

Qua-Kit is a client-server system that aims at assisting urban designers in their design process. Try it on our web server at qua-kit.ethz.ch.

Qua-View (apps/hs/qua-view) is a WebGL-base browser viewer and editor for building geometry. It is based on Haskell GHCJS.

Luci (apps/java/luci2) is a lightweight middleware that allows to connect different urban computing services together and present their results in Qua-View.

Projects that are already in some git repositories can be added as git modules using git submodule add <repository> <path>.

Installation prerequisites


First, install JDK; we prefer java 8. Second, install maven.


To build and install (and run later) haskell applications use stack. Stack is a tool that installs for you haskell compilers (GHC), manages all package dependencies, and builds the projects.



Path: apps/hs/qua-view.

Client side of qua-kit. Browse the submodule for details.


Path: apps/hs/qua-server.

This app requires gd library at least (libgd-dev in Ubuntu). Follow error messages when installing to check if there are any other requirements. To build and run a particular app, use build and exec commands provided by stack. For example, to run qua-server you shoud:

stack build qua-server --flag qua-server:dev
stack exec qua-server

Flag qua-server:dev is needed to use sqlite database instead of postgresql Alternatively, you can use yesod-bin package to run it:

stack install yesod-bin cabal-install
stack exec yesod devel

Path: apps/java/luci2. Given Java and maven are set up correctly, run Luci as follows:

cd apps/java/luci2
mvn clean install
mvn exec:java -pl scenario

Path: apps/hs/helen. Given Java and maven are set up correctly, run Luci as follows:

cd apps/hs/helen
stack install

Helen can also run dependend executables, i.e. services. Here is an example of helen config to run qua-kit and all services.

port:             7654
loglevel:         info
restart-attempts: 3


  - name: siren service
    executable: services/siren
  - name: dist to walls service
    executable: services/hs-example-service
  - name: qua-kit runtime
    executable: services/qua-server

Path: libs/hs/luci-connect. Luci-connect is a haskell library for clients and services of Luci. Refer to libs/hs/luci-connect/README.md for further documentation.


Some SQL queries become really slow when database grows (I have 1331 votes now). Having added couple indices speeds up "compare designs" query about 5-10x.

CREATE INDEX ON vote (better_id);
CREATE INDEX ON vote (worse_id);

Maybe a better solution is to make the request itself faster later, but for now it solved the problem.

Running luci service together with qua-kit and helen.

If you develop a luci (qua-view-compliant) service, at some point you need to test the whole system altogether. The framework consist of foure parties: helen, siren, qua-kit, and your service. So you need to run the three things, and then use the running website to execute your service. Note, all haskell apps (helen, siren, qua-kit) can be compiled using haskell stack tool by running stack install --install-ghc from the projects folders. Note also, siren requires postgis database to be set up and running; refer to siren docs for details.

  1. Compile and run helen (apps/hs/helen). Helen is a small app that replicates Luci core.
  2. Compile and run siren (services/siren). Siren provides scenario support for helen and services.
  3. Compile and run qua-server (apps/hs/qua-server).
  4. Compile and run your service connected to localhost helen. Alternatively, you can try hs-example-service executable - it has been tested to work with current version of luci and helen. It is available at services/examples-hs folder. To run it use following command:

    stack setup # you only need this once to set up GHC
    stack install
  5. Go to page http://localhost:3000/editor

    • (hint) Open browser console to see debug output if you have any troubles.
  6. To be able to connect to luci, you need to login. The default admin credentials are:

  7. Open toolbox -> connect to luci.

  8. Run scenario:

    • (a) Load some scenario via luci (if uploaded something before).
    • (b) Upload some scenario using FILES button. There is one available at apps/hs/qua-server/static/data/mooctask.geojson. Save it to luci.
  9. Make sure that luci and some service is running, then go to SERVICES tab. It should show a list of available services. You can select one to run it. Click on refresh button if you do not see your service in a list. Selecting an active service invokes parameter refreshing and display. Check if all optional parameters of your service are displayed as intended.

  10. Press green play button.

"I want to contribute the project!"

I have prepared a set of things I want to do for the project. You are welcome to:

  • choose any issue you like
  • discuss with me its implementation
  • solve it during the event
  • ask any questions
  • propose new tasks

"I want to code, not to spend too much time trying to undestand qua-kit internals!"

Ok! I have a nice option to write standalone programs that can be easily integrated into qua-kit. I call them "computational services". Computational service is a small console program that consumes urban geometry and produces some analysis results. We support the following execution modes:

  • points: Take a grid of points and a geometry, return grid of results (qua-kit visualizes it using heatmap).
  • object: Compute a single value for each geometry object (floating-point value is added into object properties).
  • scenario: Do whatever you want with geometry and return a single line of text or an image (e.g. some plot).
  • new: Create new geometry (or modify existing).

Example of such a service is available in services/examples-hs/ - it computes distance to a closest object for each point on a grid.