Web map services are quickly becoming central to many industries interested in collaboration with a greater community. From municipal development projects and utility maintenance, to resource management and useful maps for outdoorsmen, web map services are crucial to creating a sense of community in that they offer an ease of data collection and storage across many platforms and from anywhere. If you are looking for the many benefits that exist in leveraging web map services, here are just a few to begin considering.
4 Benefits to Using Web Map Services
- Opensource Communities
Now becoming the norm among developers and other tech industry folks, opensource communities are the foundation of web map services, allowing users around the world to share data and maps. Setting the stage for collaboration that has been groundbreaking in many cases, these communities are now the norm. Opensource communities like the greater ArcGIS Online, and then smaller communities like Galveston, Texas’ Eco-Logical, are setting the stage for how map makers are no longer isolated in the often tedious tasks of geographic surveying, data collection and visualizations that go into making great and interactive maps.
- Don’t Reinvent the Wheel
Relying on the community for so much of the heavy lifting in a project because they have already completed it frees you up to innovate even further, therefore contributing back to the community and closing the feedback loop in a sense. When you have so much data and so many maps available, you can ultimately save yourself from reinventing the wheel when you have an idea you’re ready to tackle. There are almost certainly maps that exist in the vain of the one you want to create, and you can use them as your foundation for your project. By adding layers and making all the necessary edits to create the map you need, you can then share it with the community and have something to give in return.
- You Don’t Need Technical Experience
ArcGIS Online is a game changer in web map applications, making the tool incredibly universal and user friendly. The service gives anyone the ability, with or without technical experience and GIS training, to have a streamlined web map infrastructure without having to consider software, hosting and other IT matters. Users can literally upload data from anywhere and on any device and have it visualized in a map instantaneously. Containing a global atlas of aesthetically superior base maps and images and hundreds of thousands of datasets, it’s a seemingly bottomless resource ready to be tapped, from anywhere.
- Cloud-based Applications are Even Easier to Share
ArcGIS is also a cloud-based web map service, meaning that every time a user creates a map and shares it, the map is automatically available in the catalog to every other member of the opensource community. Whether you’re in the field collecting data with only a smartphone or tablet, at your desktop, or using a custom application, your ArcGIS Online account and data is always available to you, as well as everyone else’s. You can literally create maps from anywhere, with an endless stream of up-to-date data.
Map making is becoming increasingly simplified with the shift towards opensource communities and cloud based computing. While experts in GIS are still invaluable in helping you use the resources to the best of your ability, they can also help you make this shift from antiquated locally hosted mapping practices to the now universal web map services like ArcGIS Online. If you’re looking to make this shift to the cloud, call ROK for more information on setting up the infrastructure you need to make it happen.