Lines image

Evolving geospatial readiness

1Spatial is a distributor for Geocortex in the UK and Ireland and will be hosting the free to attend, Smarter Data, Smarter World conference, Nov. 19th in London. Many organisations, including the Environment Agency, National Trust and Natural Resources Wales use Geocortex as a geospatial framework for extending the Esri ArcGIS platform to build and Web share simple, powerful web applications for improving geospatial data discovery, visualisation and analytics.

User demands and expectations in utilising these web applications are changing, including how users access geospatial data, for example base maps. As a result, organisations are evolving their geospatial readiness to meet these changes. One such driver is the need to make it easier for users to access and consume geospatial data on the web and mobile devices.

Users typically want and need access to the latest geospatial data and need to bring data together from different sources into their web and mobile applications for real time applications in the field (including data capture and inventory survey projects). At the same time, custodians and managers of geospatial data want to provide automated and integrated access to geospatial data, without having to maintain this themselves.

How can you provide users with automated and integrated access to geospatial data?

The Geospatial Commission recently outlined user concerns from the Commission’s call for evidence responses about the ability to access geospatial data in their 2019-2020 Annual Plan. These concerns ranged from the challenge of knowing what data exists, to connecting different datasets and the role that agreed data standards could have to improve interoperability.

As a way of tackling this, some call for evidence responses called for the creation of a “single platform” to bring together key geospatial data. These looked to solve a variety of apparent challenges – in particular, reducing the fragmentation of datasets, reducing the duplication of cost and effort in sourcing data, and providing an authoritative dataset for users.

Using online services to share and access base maps

The viaEuropa platform from Europa Technologies is an example of an online service for connected datasets and delivering high quality authoritative base maps directly to applications. viaEuropa bridges the gap between raw digital map data and consumption of base maps using Geocortex. The viaEuropa platform provides automated and integrated access to high quality, fully maintained base maps and geospatial data. By following standards from the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC), Europa Technologies ensure that it is easy to connect web services, for example Web Map Tile Services (WMTS) and Web Feature Services (WFS), to Geocortex.

Using web map services with Geocortex requires no custom development and administrators of Geocortex can create connections to web services in minutes with minimal technical expertise required.

viaEuropa includes support for Ordnance Survey Great Britain mapping including OS OpenData and data available via the Public Sector Mapping Agreement and One Scotland Mapping Agreement.  viaEuropa also supports Ordnance Survey Northern Ireland mapping, including OSNI Largescale, which is included in the Northern Ireland Mapping Agreement.

viaEuropa is already used and trusted in business-critical applications by organisations such as HM Land Registry, Cabinet Office, Scottish Government, Welsh Government, British Transport Police and numerous local authorities.

A framework for user engagement

Geocortex users can benefit from quick and easy access to base maps through online services, such as the viaEuropa platform. The viaEuropa platform provides access to definitive mapping anywhere within Great Britain and Northern Ireland without having to rely on local data storage and up to date workflows. Figure 1 provides a visual example of the viaEuropa base maps.

Figure 1, viaEuropa Web Map Tile Service with a Web Feature Service overlay showing buildings

Geocortex provides a framework for engagement, by sharing and accessing base maps, improving geospatial data discovery, visualisation and analytics.  This framework for engagement can reduce duplication of cost and effort in providing authoritative datasets for users.

Are you evolving your geospatial readiness to meet changing user needs?

1Spatial will be hosting the Smarter Data, Smarter World conference on Tuesday 19th November in London.

Author: Matthew White, 1Spatial