See below some Q&A from one of the participants and Ariel:
1.) From what you've told me Geonode depends solely on PostGIS? That's great
because CaribEViz also use's PostGIS.
GeoNode uses PostGIS as the data store for vector data and uses GeoServer to generate the maps and provide standard (OGC) geo web services (WMS, WCS, WFS).
2.) What are the conventions and schemas it uses?
One PostGIS table is created for each layer when uploaded via the web form. Existing PostGIS tables can be configured as GeoNode layers by the administrator of the site using the web interface.
3.) What will the achitecture be like, i.e., centralized or distributed?
Caribeviz may not require a central Postgis database to retrieve data since, for security reasons, GIS related queries may be done via a secure web server. Part of the philosophy of Caribeviz is to data capture (when users edit GIS data or run the Building Stock Classification Estimator). This will require one central database to commit this information to and some mechanism to review and add to the 'master' dataset.
GeoNode does not impose any restrictions on the number of PostGIS servers connected to it. Therefore it does not affect your choice of centralized vs distributed.
GeoNode is not designed for data capture, but rather for sharing that data captured/created by other tools. For example creating different styles, creating maps from many layers and creating PDFs to print and share. From your statement it seems like GeoNode and CaribeViz can complement each other quite nicely.
4.) What is the policy of data availability to the public considering we've entered into agreements with several parties about the data that will be made available for Caribeviz? Some of the data that we'll provide will be opaque to the user and only contributes to the analysis that Caribeviz performs.
GeoNode has a permission system to provide fine grained access for users to given layers. You can remove the permission to view those kind of layers to all or some of the users of the site. Also, even for the published datasets, GeoNode allows to define the licensing restrictions/permissions for every dataset as specified by the ISO TC211 specs.
5.) I get the impression that Geonode is for data retrieval and display purposes only. Can you clarify that for me?
You got the right impression, currently GeoNode does not allow creating or editing geospatial features. It focuses on creating / styling maps and sharing / printing / storing them.
It can also be used as the basis for web portals for data sharing.
The real question is how useful is Geonode to our project. We're already far
down the line in developing to the specifications we had agreed upon. Seems
like another data consolidation effort to me.
Unfortunately I cannot answer this question without knowing more about the specifics of your project. My position is neutral, it would be great if GeoNode can help it move forward and the impression that I get is that this could be the case. That said, I also sympathize with Machel's concern related to the dangers of working on the second version of a product before the first version is completed.