Collaborating in geospatial context since 2000!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Choosing a GIS that is right for you (Part 2)

This April I posted something entitled, "Choosing a GIS that is right for you". I would think that most advanced GIS users out there would agree that a GIS is all about finding a solution to a problem. Each vertical market has a similar problem they are trying to solve, which is basically, "how can I get my spatial information in to the hands of those who need it?" For example:
  • DoD/Intel - The DOD/Intel community has a tremendous amount of spatial data that is needed to support the wartime effort, OR a Homeland Security initiative that effects millions of people. How do they get this data distributed to the field? A web application? A specific file format?
  • Utilities - Utilities is a generalized category that includes Electric, Gas Distribution, Oil/Gas Pipeline, Telecom and Water Management. Utilities have tons of geospatial data especially the pipeline operators who have thousands of miles of do they maintain all their data? The more data to work with, the more sophisticated the GIS requirement. If there is a gas leak in a residential area, how can the operator get the GIS data out in to the hands of those who need it?
  • Public Sector (State and Local Government) - As your local road network changes and as population increases, so does the landscape. This leads to tons and tons of updated spatial information...A good example of this here in Atlanta is the 14th street Bridge in Midtown. It is completely torn down for the next year and someone now has to update the road network in the Fulton County GIS.
These are the types of GIS-related scenarios that we as geographers concern ourselves with every day. What is the best all-encompassing solution? Is there one? Even if you buy a great big COTS GIS application, chances are that you will still need to buy plug-ins and extentions or create some kind of custom code to make it do exactly what you want it to. Take your accounting system for example...SAP and a GIS marry together perfectly, but it is a royal pain in the a$$ to make it work correctly! There is nothing more valuable than a man/hour and it takes quite a few of those to get to this kind of solution.

The USGS did a great job recently with getting their Topographic maps out online in an EASY and understandable search mechanism, and it just so happens that they were all converted to GeoPDF files which means that ANYONE with Adobe Acrobat Reader can view them. As I mentioned earlier, you must download the GeoPDF Toolbar in order to view the geospatial information. I would really encourage everyone to browse to the USGS Store and download a couple GeoPDF files just to try it out! They are 100% free to download and free to view!

If you want instant access to all the spatial data as well as GPS support, markups, KML/SHP integration, etc...please download the GeoPDF Toolbar from the link below.

Thanks to all of you who provided feedback at! I enjoy reading everyones comments and I completely understand that TerraGo feeback is due. All I can say is there are a lot of things to look forward to in the near future! Cheers...

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Blogger Commander Dan said...

How about Mac OS X compatibility? PDF is built into the OS as its native graphics format.

3:06 PM EDT

Blogger Adam Estrada said...

Commander Dan,
We are putting a tremendous amount of effort in to making our standalone applications more portable as we know that there is a great deal of demand for GeoPDF on Linux and Mac. We do have certain applications that install as extensions for other applications (ArcGIS for example) which will probably live in in Windows land indefinitely but our Acrobat and raster products will definitely see change. I hope this helps...


3:21 PM EDT

Blogger Mapper99 said...

Here is a great GIS Consulting/Contracting firm:

Click here to view GIS Consulting Services

1:28 AM EDT


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