MapGuide Open Source 2.0.0 is now available. Among the many enhancements, the main feature in this release is the integration of Fusion; a flexible, extensible templating system that provides the ability to separate application presentation from its functional components.
Normally, the use of web-based GIS is associated with the post-built environment, for viewing, querying, and asset management. I came across this interesting article in CENews that showcases the use of Autodesk MapGuide as a data and document management tool during the planning and design phase of a development project in Arizona. As the article suggests, planners and designers can leverage existing data found in online GIS sites to help answer questions about a potential site without ever leaving the office.
MapGuide Open Source has recently been accepted as a full fledged OSGeo Project, having graduated from the incubation stage, according to this OSGeo announcement. This promotion, while not a big surprise, certainly validates the growing industry acceptance of this product.
I spent last week in Las Vegas at Autodesk University. The most notable difference from last year was the attendance. I had heard numbers of 7,500 or more. While at times this introduced some logistical issues, overall it was great conference.
Use of Open Source geospatial software, such as MapGuide Open Source, can lower the cost of entry into web-based GIS for smaller agencies. As this article explains, many small agencies with limited budgets and fewer than 10 technical employees are unable to make large investments in data creation and expensive proprietary software. These agencies are also reluctant to try open source software, because of the perception that they are unstable, unproven, and unsupported. Continue reading ‘Get Your GIS Started with Open Source’
Autodesk recently released the English version of Topobase, an infrastructure design and management solution built on Autodesk Map 3D, MapGuide Enterprise, and Oracle 10g. Topobase 2007 is an updated version of the product Autodesk acquired from C-Plan in June 2005. According to this press release, “Autodesk Topobase 2007 addresses the challenges faced by organizations that collaborate on infrastructure projects, such as water or wastewater networks, by enabling teams to share spatial information across departments. Topobase customers can see the big picture with a more integrated view of all of their enterprise data, and improve productivity and bottom line results by completing projects faster and maintaining assets more efficiently.”
10 years ago, when web-based GIS sites started emerging from local governments and other agencies, the focus seemed to be on getting as much data and end-user capabilities out there as possible. The whole concept was new and exciting, and we accepted a degree of “wait” time while using these sites. Then along came Google Maps and the public’s expectations of performance and usability of web-based mapping sites was changed forever. It’s only fair to say that this performance can be achieved because the data is largely static, and the user interface is extremely limited (in terms of controlling what layers are displayed, etc.)
Performance of mapping servers, for me, has always been a key frustration. And I’m not alone. The Distributed Tile Caching wiki (on OSGeo) provides a very interesting discussion of the problem and offers a possible solution. In a nutshell, the solution suggests a series of tile servers that work together to serve publicly available base mapping, in the form of image tiles, and do it very fast. This has more recently sparked the development of a Tile Map Service Specification, which looks promising. Certainly worth taking a look at. This article from Directions Magazine also discusses this initiative.
Local governments maintain a wealth of location-based information that is often freely available to the public, if you know where to go to get it. Web-based GIS technology clearly makes it much easier for the public to access this type of information, but it also often raises the question: Should certain information be that easy to obtain, with little control over who is using the information, and what it’s being used for? Continue reading ‘Using GIS to Plot Crime’
Mapbender is a PHP/Javasript based map viewing tool that has recently been accepted by the Open Source Geospatial Foundation as its first oficially approved project. “It provides a data model and interfaces for displaying, navigating and querying OGC compliant map services. The Mapbender framework furthermore provides authentication and authorization services, OWS proxy functionality, management interfaces for user, group and service administration in WebGIS projects.”