Which Web GIS project are you embarking on in 2018?

January 15, 2018 Gordon Plunkett

Do you know that the latest ArcGIS solutions can help you and your clients be more productive? Read this blog to find out how new and innovative web apps can make a difference in your organization’s effectiveness and efficiency.

It’s customary for many people to start their new year with resolutions. The GIS folks are no different. I know many professionals who like to plan their annual GIS projects at the beginning of the new year. So, how about we look at where we are in terms of GIS technology — what’s changed over the past few years; how these changes have enhanced the capabilities and applications of GIS technology for the growing community of geospatial data users; and what we can plan to accomplish in 2018.

Today, the ArcGIS Platform is clearly the preferred solution for most GIS users in Canada. It’s an open, services-based, distributed technology that works in a variety of implementation patterns — ranging from a single desktop installation to a complete cloud system. It supports individual users, project groups and complete enterprises. This breadth of implementation pattern allows seamless capacity growth from small computing environments such as the individual geospatial practitioner supporting a town’s geospatial requirements to a large utility, business or government supporting many users and applications.

The ArcGIS Platform is continually evolving to allow organizations to make applications that improve productivity and efficiency.

However, one of the most striking technology improvements to date is Web GIS. Web GIS is the implementation pattern or architectural approach of modern GIS which is powered by web services that deliver data, maps, resources and capabilities. It allows non-geospatial experts to productively view and analyze geographic features in an uncomplicated, controlled environment via the web. Web GIS users do not need to understand data formats, web service protocols or python coding principles. They simply need to be able to access the appropriate GIS data and applications; point and click to select parameters; and view, analyze and save the results. This can be done on any internet-enabled device at any location at any time. This capability which was unheard of ten years ago, is in wide use today. 

Esri Canada user app gallery abounds in application ideas beneficial to individuals and organizations.

GIS users are continually challenged to do more with less, improve efficiency, reduce costs and provide better service. Web GIS can help them do all of the above. By using Web GIS technology, non-programming users can create innovative Web GIS applications quickly without any coding.  In other words, web applications can now be developed by anyone and not just by an IT specialist or the GIS “geek”.  There is a wide range of Web GIS application templates that can be used for creating apps including community engagement apps, field apps, business apps, policy development apps, design apps, viewer apps, social media apps, story maps and dashboards.

ArcGIS technology can help organizations develop innovative new web applications.

Web GIS provides you with an online infrastructure for making maps and presenting geographic information that can also be shared with your organization, with your clients, and openly on the web. Access to web services and curated, georeferenced data layers is uncomplicated. By combining and analyzing data layers with your own thematic or business layers, you can develop new applications that can easily be created and shared.

ArcGIS is a Web GIS platform that you can use to deliver authoritative maps, apps, geographic information layers and analytics to wider audiences. You can do this with internet browsers and custom applications on the web.

With so much of technology and so many ideas available, it is now for you to decide - what new information product or geospatial service should you develop and deploy on the web in 2018 to better serve your organization and clients.

About the Author

Gordon Plunkett

Gordon Plunkett is the Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) Director at Esri Canada. He has more than 30 years of experience in GIS and Remote Sensing in both the public and private sectors. He currently sits as a member of the Community Map of Canada Steering Committee, GeoAlliance Canada Interim Board of Directors, the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Technical Committee, the Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB) Committee on Geomatics, the University of Laval Convergence Network Advisory Committee and the Advisory Board to the Carleton University Geomatics and Cartographic Research Centre. During his career, Gordon has worked on projects in more than 20 countries and has contributed to numerous scientific conferences and publications. At Esri Canada, he is responsible for developing and supporting the company’s SDI vision, initiatives and outreach, including producing content for the SDI blog.

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