Sharing maps has always been problematic. To this day many organizations maintain paper maps. To view the maps one must either visit the map room, find the map then see if it has the information that we need. If we need a copy then…
Desktop CAD and GIS have improved the mapmakers productivity and can create electronic versions of the printed map to share with others. PDF is a good solution if your goal is to provide semi-interactive maps. One can zoom and pan and some control of layer visibility. However it’s much like looking at a paper map with a magnifying glass. Objects do not regenerate as we zoom in to reveal greater detail. In addition, scale dependent layers are not available.
First a Little History
We’ve been creating Internet maps since 1996 with Argus MapGuide (before Autodesk bought MapGuide) and MapServer. Later to MapObjects IMS, ArcIMS, KaMap, etc, etc. All the while searching for the Holy Grail of Internet Mapping solutions.
Not Quite the Holy Grail but Damn Good
Not only can we use other peoples data (OPD) but also other peoples servers (OPS). Almost as good as OPM (Other Peoples Money). From the server side point of view, I need only to provide overlay data.
Enter The WebMap
Base layers from:
- Google – Streets, Aerials, or Terrain
- Bing – ditto
- ESRI – an entire smorgasbord
- Roll your own
- Any WMS server
- Any WFS server
- ArcGis server
- Many Others
- Many federal, state and local agencies provide free access to their servers.
- Full zoom, pan functionality
- Attribute Search
- GeoExt – GeoExt brings together the geospatial know how of OpenLayers with the user interface savvy of Ext JS
- MapFish – web application framework
- PostGIS – a powerful, easy to maintain spatially enabled SQL database
- GeoServer – an open source WMS, WFS server
See the results
Additional Info – Jerry Workman