GIS Cloud Visualize, analyze and share your geo data online. Tue, 06 Oct 2015 15:46:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Engaging the Citizens in District Heating Management: A Case Study Tue, 06 Oct 2015 15:46:36 +0000

Another example of how cloud GIS may be used in local government projects comes from Mihai Iepure, Faculty of Geography, Babes-Bolay University Cluj-Napoca. Mihai Iepure wrote a case study in which he describes his implementation of GIS technology with a goal to assist the process of modernization of local heating network.

Namely, District heating Maintenance and Upgrade, in charge of the supply of heating and hot water in a district in City of Cluj, as well as in other parts of Romania, faces serious challenges due to the fact that in the last decade more than 50,000 apartments have disconnected from the system and switched to micro-heating units.* In order to preserve the district heating infrastructure, it was important to make the system more efficient by improving its maintenance and monitoring, which was the one of potential uses of Mihai Iepure’s project in the future and which could pave the way for modernization of district heating system. His main idea was conceived as a way to assist the citizens of Cluj-Napoca in managing their own district heating needs by helping them with an interactive overview of heating infrastructure.         1


Mihai Iepure – Faculty of Geography, Babes-Bolyai University Cluj-Napoca:

“If we were to look at the GIS implementation in local administration in Cluj-Napoca, the second largest city in Romania, surpassed only by the capital city, Bucharest, there is not much to see. The institutions are not very happy to invest money in something they do not believe in. They see only the financial part of the investment, but not the results and benefits this new technology brings. The same thing goes with the Autonomous Administration for District Heating (AADH). At the moment, AADH does not use any kind of GIS, even though large amounts of money have been invested in the development, modernization and keeping up-to-date the public heating network in Cluj-Napoca. Having this in mind, I thought why not create an application for everybody to use to ease somehow the “relationship” between the AADH, as provider of service, and the population, as recipient.


First step was to gather information about the district heating power plants, like the exact position (address, WGS84 and Stereo 70 coordinates), water temperatures, contact information in case of emergency, pipe types, isolation material used for the pipes and other types of data provided by the AADH. The second step was to contact a local cartography and GIS company, MicroMapper SRL. They provided the graphical database of the application. Working with the datasets was done in a local ArcGIS environment, and for the upload on the GIS Cloud platform, the GIS Cloud’s Publisher for ArcMap extension was used. The extension was very helpful because the uploading process went very smooth, and most importantly, the feature symbology was not altered. The webmap was featured in a couple of articles in the online version of two local newspapers: and , with more than 1,000 views.”

You can see the results of Mihai Iepure’s project, edited with the help of GIS Cloud’s Map Editor here.

Mihai Iepure’s project resulted in an interactive web map which was easy to access and navigate by any of the Cluj-Napoca’s residents. Now they could easily find the data they needed by simply searching their building by street address in the application, zoom in and get info they needed. For example, if they had a failure of hot water or heating system they could find out which is the station they are connected to and know where to call.

This project has a potential to be further utilized for district heating monitoring and maintenance, because it could be used for an overview of infrastructure and technical parameters required for different types of operations – for example the number of blocks or flats assigned to a power plant, technical info such as working temperatures, pressures, fuel type, modernization date and also contact info in case of emergency.    




With his project, Mihai Iepure highlighted the benefits of implementation and usage of cloud-based GIS technology, which are, in his own words:

    • facilitating access to information of public interest for citizens or access to project’s data to clients
    • cloud based platforms support having a large number of simultaneous users in applications
    • system implementation costs are relatively low
    • the introduction, maintenance and updating of data is centralized and in real-time

* “Some of these challenges are to ensure the overall efficiency of the centralized system, for which is necessary to include habilitation work and upgrading of the network, including modernization of boilers, pipelines and insulation, in order to diminish the heat loss, improve the overall efficiency of the system, and lower costs to be able to win back some of the lost customer base. (source)”
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Webinar: Everything You Need to Know about Map Portal (explained in 30 minutes) Thu, 01 Oct 2015 16:46:45 +0000 Dear GIS Cloud Community!

In the “Map Portal month”, following our special offer we have prepared for you a special webinar about using GIS Cloud’s Map Portal for data publishing purposes. Igor Farkaš will talk about reasons for using Map Portal, its applications, possibilities and benefits. A special focus will be on using Map Portal for local governments and consulting industry. Talk will be followed by a discussion, where you can ask anything you want to know about Map Portal and GIS Cloud’s platform.


Webinar Time And Date:

Thursday, October, 8th At:

8:00am PDT    11:00am ET   10:00pm GMT8   


Following Topics Will Be Covered:

  • Why use Map Portal for data publishing purposes
  • Applications of Map Portal in various industries
  • Using Map Portal for federal and local governments,  consulting and anyone who want to show their data to larger public.
  • GIS Cloud Map Portal users success stories coming from all over the world

Who Should Attend:

  • Local governments who are looking to setup a Map Portal for Citizen Engagement
  • Consultants who want to help their clients setup a custom branded app
  • All organizations who want to show their public data to larger audience
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Exploring the City of Darwin Map Portal Wed, 30 Sep 2015 17:42:56 +0000  

An insight into citizen engagement with the help of public maps

“The time, cost and resources required to deliver these projects was considerably less with GIS Cloud than would have been using previous systems.” – Josh Forner, City of Darwin

In the light of our current Map Portal special offer, we present you a use case with a great story of public map implementation in a local government workflow. Local governments as well as different commercial and noncommercial organizations interested in placing their data on public maps are just discovering the benefits of informing and engaging people and communities in different activities with the help of geospatial technology.

City of Darwin is an exquisite example of a well elaborated approach of a local government toward informing and engaging its community with the help of informatic infrastructure. One of many means for ensuring the successful implementation of democratic principles such as information transparency and citizen participation in community lies in smart deployment of various software solutions.

Making the data about various projects, happenings and infrastructure – pools, playgrounds, schools  or waste disposal facilities publicly available on a map can help the citizens to find all relevant info in one place so they could have an easier access to everything their city offers them. Finding the right playground, clinic or even local government office on city portal increases the overall number of visits to the official city website and this not only helps the citizens with their needs but also creates a new channel for communication where the city officials could inform and engage their citizens about public projects, roadworks or local elections process.

Geographic information system tools increased popularity in local government projects toward its citizens demonstrates this premise, and City of Darwin took advantage of this insight creating an admirable City Portal for its residents.

City of Darwin portal was conceived as a web map on which City of Darwin citizens could find the information on city infrastructure and facilities.



Although they knew they need a way of engaging their citizens through a map, they needed a simple way of publishing all their data without having a dedicated in-house server. Also, some of the data had to be collected in the field first, which presented an issue within their existing software solutions because they used desktop programs which required having  data collected with smartphones and tablets downloaded and merged  back in the office. City of Darwin’s staff wanted to be able to update the data on infrastructure such as photos, links and working hours for facilities directly to the project.

An example of types of data collected by field crews: a playground photo


City of Darwin’s staff used GIS Cloud Map Portal to provide their community with rich and detailed information on public facilities and infrastructure. They have included information such as the location of childcare centers, the opening hours of public swimming pools and photographs of all of their community playgrounds, so that people visiting their website can find location, photos and other information. In addition they have included infrastructure data such as stormwater pipes, roads and footpaths on their web maps which is quite useful for field crews who are working on infrastructure maintenance and easily accessible through smartphones and tablets on the site. All this information was added to publicly available white-labeled map portal under City of Darwin’s logo and adjusted to their specific needs. Aside from the Map Portal, they have also used the Mobile Data Collection app to collect and update some of this data.



Info on library working hours is also available through City of Darwin Map Portal



GIS Cloud’s Map Portal together with Mobile Data Collection was an optimal solution for City of Darwin map portal and data collection projects.

Mobile Data Collection application helped City of Darwin’s staff to make their workflows more efficient because it enabled them to collect and update data on the web map in real-time and with multiple users, therefore they avoided having to work in offline conditions. Now they can collect data that is immediately visible on their GIS Cloud Map Portal.


Summed up by Josh Forner:

“Portal has allowed me to create very detailed and information rich web mapping application with limited resources. Mobile Data Collection has allowed me to quickly deploy data collection projects that are user friendly for field staff.”

An infrastructure overview


The key points for which they would recommend GIS Cloud were:

  • GIS Cloud is very easy to setup. Many data formats are supported and web maps can be created in minutes.

  • The Mobile Data Collection application allows you to collect or update data in real time using customizable data fields.

  • Deploying web maps is quick and easy either by embedding a map or using the more advanced features of portal.

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Mobile Data Collection 1.5.7 for Android Released Fri, 25 Sep 2015 14:16:59 +0000  

Review data attributes directly in the app collect multimedia1 - Copy

We have released a new version of Mobile Data Collection app. MDC version 1.5.7 for Android devices is upgraded with an option to add audio/voice recordings in duration up to 5 minutes. Previous MDC versions limited audio recordings to 30 seconds length.

Also, issues caused by photo file naming in certain Android devices have been resolved.

MDC 1.5.7 is now available in Google Play Store.



Stay tuned:

  • Map Viewer app for Android devices is just about to be released.
  • We are currently working on making all of your existing GIS Cloud maps available in offline mode (for Mobile Data Collection application).
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Map Portal Month: A Special Offer Mon, 21 Sep 2015 16:46:04 +0000 Dear GIS Cloud Community! This fall, we give you a special Map Portal offer –  starting September 21.

The offer expires October 21, 2015.

Note: this offer is valid for all users who claim it in aforementioned period (regardless of the industry).

Claim your offer:


Special offer includes 1x Map Portal subscription + 1x Map Editor Premium subscription + 1,000,000 features for the price of Map Portal subscription ($95 per month)

    Why do you need Map Portal?

  • Inform your citizens about zoning areas they live in, garbage disposals, road closures, city infrastructure & projects.
  • Engage your community online
  • Show your clients that imagery you’ve created with drones.
  • Show your work on a map and get feedback from the public now
  • For adding the data and building your maps, you can use Map Editor where you can add up to 1,000,000 features for free!

Save $55 and the cost of extra storage, and enjoy your cloud experience, using the fastest vector engine in the world!

]]> 0 Environmental Consulting Use Case: Watching Over Natural Hazards with the help of GIS Wed, 16 Sep 2015 18:23:45 +0000 environmental consulting

A lot of environmental issues are regularly addressed and solved by environmental consultants. Their scope of influence spreads within the range of environmental management, assessment, dealing with environmental crisis and strategic planning for both governments and commercial clients. Air, land and water contamination and assessment are in their area of expertise, and this is especially emphasized in the case of natural disasters.

Ubyrisk Consultants is a French independent consulting firm especially dedicated to the study and management of natural hazards since 2001.


As an engineering consulting firm, Ubyrisk Consultants are proposing a large number of services in the field of natural hazards, such as: stakes and vulnerability studies, spatial analysis dedicated to natural risks using GIS, professional training, advice and expertise relative to natural risks and their management, together with statistical data supply and processing.

The company manages the website – the first French language website dedicated to global natural disasters news. The site is daily updated with the most recent news about possible natural hazards. You can explore a detailed georeferenced database about dangerous natural events that occurred throughout the world since 2001. They wanted to use their database to build map layers with various types of natural events which could be shared with their subscribers.


Natural hazard risk Index by country in 2014. This map shows the global exposition level to natural hazards for every country in the world

In 2014, Ubyrisk Consultants had a project in which they wanted a tool that would have made possible for their clients to cross their own data (site localisation for example) with the natural hazard layer they would be provided with. For example, if you are an insurance company and want to assess the possibility of drought in a certain area, you would select the coordinates to have an instant overview of potential risks. Or, if you are a governmental agency conducting a statewide project on emergency preparedness, you would be instantly equipped with an overview of potential threats like tornadoes or tsunamis using various map layers as a tool for visualization of risk assessment.

The goal of Ubyrisk Consultants, viewing themselves primarily as a service provider, was to optimize their workflow and focus on producing the quality content on natural hazards risk. Therefore, not having to worry about software maintenance was one of the prerequisites of having an unobstructed workflow.

In the words of Yorik Baunay:

“We needed a cross-platform map tool that could be displayed on PC, Mac, tablet and smartphone and from any location.”

It was also important that this platform had a user friendly interface that can be handled even by a non specialist, so that their staff could maintain their usual working schedules and tasks without extra effort in mastering complex GIS software.

In abstract, the key prerequisites for the project were:

  • having a collaborative platform for sharing mapping data with clients
  • web solution compatible with any device and accessible from any location
  • not having to worry about the software maintenance which includes hiring extra IT staff
  • easy-to-use interface which could be used by people with no previous experience in GIS

Tropical cyclone hazard : Probable maximum intensity for a tropical cyclone with a returning period of 50 years

They chose GIS Cloud platform as an answer to their needs for successful execution of the project.

Yorik Baunay, Ubyrisk Consultants:

“The main challenge that we overcame with GIS Cloud apps was to have a single online system that allowed us to display in a same map a lot of structured layers (our layers and our customers layers) in order to get a powerful “geodecisional” tool understandable by everyone (everybody can read a map !)”

Choosing an online platform like GIS Cloud for data management purposes meant that their data didn’t have to stay on their servers, and that they didn’t have to worry about storage and maintenance. Their maps would be easily accessed and edited from anywhere using a platform which at the same time provides both space & tools needed for managing large datasets regardless of computer performance or user proficiency.

“Using GIS Cloud apps made our mapping workflow easier, because we directly produce standardized data layer that can be imported under GIS Cloud. For that we work with QGIS software, create our layer ready to import it to GIS Cloud.”

Considering the fact that georeferenced data on natural hazards is rare to find, Ubyrisk Consultants made use of GIS Cloud’s platform to promote their expert service built on layers of data quality. It improved their communication with the clients, making a data sharing process easier and secured on a cloud.


Earthquake hazard : Probable maximum intensity ( Mercalli Scale) for a 475 years period return earthquake

Recommendation (Yorik Baunay)

  • the relative simplicity of handling the system (for administrators as well as for final user)
  • the price that makes the tool affordable compared to others solutions, especially for a small company like us
  • the fact that the platform is evolutive and is continually improved


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University in the Clouds: GIS For Academic and Educational Purposes (Part II.) Mon, 07 Sep 2015 13:46:27 +0000 Why use cloud-based applications in your institutional workflows?

We opened the first part of the discussion on GIS for Academic Purposes with an overview of basic usages of geospatial technologies at institutions primarily engaged in education and research. The merit of interdisciplinary research projects at universities and research centers is a successful collaboration between departments and individual researchers. Collaboration practices improve with the technological development, as supporting tools are becoming faster, easier to use and more accessible. This is especially highlighted within the advancement of geospatial technologies.

The value of efficient collaboration is also known to educators as well as to makers of educational policies. There is a significant number of researchers, educators and policymakers who are using geospatial tools as a supplement to their projects. Most of them, except maybe geographers, are not necessarily experts in managing large amounts of data generated with the help of mapping tools.

Mapping tools are commonly used in the form of desktop-based programs which are dependent on the performance of computers, often not too friendly to end-users and, finally, definitely not the collaboration tool of choice.

So, what’s the alternative, suited for use in research, education and educational policies?

Cloud GIS solutions offer by definition a great collaboration ability.

What is Cloud GIS?

“Cloud GIS is often defined as a next generation on-demand GIS technology that uses a virtual platform and infrastructure in a scalable elastic environment.“

While traditional GIS is installed on your desktop or server, Cloud GIS makes use of the flexibility of the cloud environment for data collection, visualization, analysis, sharing and publishing.
If you upload a great amount of data on the cloud, you have not only solved a problem of relying on one particular desktop computer, but also opened yourself to a real-time collaboration with your colleagues and research partners.

For example, if you are mapping a particular area collecting the data on dangerous pathogens, you can easily access the map from your smartphone or tablet and update it in real time. It is also possible to attach various types of data such as photos, notes, audio records etc. to a specific location on a map, together with the detailed instruction on action to be performed and a list of tasks.

Patho Map – an example from a project coming from Weill Cornell Medical College

You can also manage the data from any location on any device which allows you to browse the internet, while the map performance depends solely on the application, and not the device you are using.

More and more people are relying on the cloud-based solutions essential for their workflows and efficient project execution. Cloud based solutions are not only cost-efficient, but also more functional when it comes to projects which include many people. Work conditions at universities, schools and research centers are highly collaborative and this is the reason why cloud-based software is perfect in academic environment. Project managers often have to rely on tight budgets reserved primarily for expensive equipment. This doesn’t have to be the case with the software tools which support the workflow efficiency.

Cloud GIS solutions are reliable, easy to use on any device and also cost efficient in comparison with desktop solutions, which complicate the workflow mainly in the aspect of sharing large data sets, and in case when fieldwork is required, investing in field devices can be quite expensive.

Also, if a project requires some kind of community engagement, the easiest way to create publicly available information is having it already settled on a cloud. Public maps in this instance are just few clicks away and a matter of assigning a licence.

Let’s summarize some of the benefits of working in the cloud environment, applicable to work conditions in science, education and educational planning:

  • The best environment for data sharing and real time collaboration with other users who can create, edit, manage and update the maps
  • It enables managing large volumes of data, application management and geospatial analytic tools
  • Managed services prevent data and work loss from frequent outages, minimizing financial risks, while increasing efficiency
  • Offers a competitive advantage – it is faster to share and publish maps, with always on always available maps
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Data Publishing Use Case: GIS Solutions for Government Tue, 25 Aug 2015 21:15:53 +0000 The Easiest Solution for Sharing and Publishing the Data on a Public Map: An example from Argentina

shutterstock_226350037 Many governmental departments just recently started to discover how to benefit fully from geospatial technologies. Especially in the case of planning, public works and services, having an adequate tool for data visualization on the map might be a game changer in terms of creating an efficient workflow. This concerns sharing the data on current projects such as infrastructure maintenance and expansion within and between the departments, sub-departments, ministries and other smaller and larger organizational units. In conducting the project on a larger scale, it is also important to have a good infrastructure for making the data publicly available, completing a data flow circle with the best possible outcome.

An example coming from the Secretariat of Public Works, a department of the Argentine Ministry of Federal Planning, Public Investment and Services shows how the needs in the public sector can easily be met with a simple mapping solution. 

The imperative coming from the department was to have a reliable, fast and cost-efficient data sharing and publishing solution. What the Secretariat of Public Works had in mind was to open the access to information about more than 45 000 federal public works to their citizens. The projects which were to be shown on the map were the result of government programs conducted in the last 12 years, as a collaboration from different departments throughout Argentina.

All that information, concerning various works in the healthcare, education, transportation, residential and other parts of infrastructure should be easily accessed and managed by both governmental staff and the citizens of Argentina.


In the process of finding the perfect solution for sharing and publishing the data, the biggest challenge was to find a way to escape from the ‘inertia’ of having the GIS data limited to desktop solutions.

The centralization of the data storage on individual computers has shown its shortcomings: it wasn’t easy to share the great amount of collected data in various formats and on different devices with other people, and there was even more difficulty in the distribution of data to wider public. A unique methodology and a platform for data sharing and management was needed.

What could be done?

The answer was simple. What the Department of Public Works needed was a cloud solution. They needed a platform for which the only requirement was to have a browser and Internet access. The department was offered a recommendation of GIS Cloud applications, which met all the prerequisites for the Argentine government data publishing project.

In the first phase of the project, the required software had to offer them a possibility to add the data and attributes like the information about the particular education, health or transportation facility to map layers in collaboration with different users, and store it on the cloud. GIS Cloud’s Map Editor helped them in executing this first phase of the project. Data was uploaded directly on the cloud and therefore stored in a way to be easily accessible.

This made the second phase of the project execution even easier: with Map Viewer, information on the map was easily shared with particular users coming from different departments.

Finally, when data was prepared and ready for public access, the GIS Cloud’s Map Portal was a perfect publishing solution, fully customized for the department’s needs.

You can see the results in a video.


The final result

Marcelo Alejandro Portela, a consulting specialist, sums up the main benefits of the successful integration of the GIS Cloud solution in three points:

  • the excellent performance gained by html5
  • easy navigation through various map layers using the ‘search’ feature
  • the simplicity of use.

The main advantages of using the GIS Cloud applications for the governmental purposes, attested by Mr. Alejandro Portela are:

the fact that the user interface is easy to use even for the non-GIS experts (commonly represented in the governmental staff), at the same time offering the fast and high quality data visualization solution, easily accessible anytime, from any device.

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University in the Clouds: GIS For Academic and Educational Purposes (Part I.) Thu, 20 Aug 2015 16:28:08 +0000 How to research, collaborate, educate and optimize institutional workflows with the help of mapping technology?

Interdisciplinarity is a common word in the world of contemporary education. At the institutional level, it highlights one of the most important facets of increased flow of information and ideas – collaboration. Literally, interdisciplinarity signifies working between diverse academic disciplines, while the main goal is to combine subjects together in new ways to achieve a specific purpose. That kind of prospect asks for intensification of networking and features collaboration between people with different academic and practical background.

Most of all, a need for an interdisciplinary approach is visibly present in sciences such as geography, definition of which strongly implies the notion of interdisciplinarity. GIS, Geographic Information System merges cartography, statistical analysis, and database technology, with the purpose of storing, analyzing, and displaying geographical information. This data can be used later on for the purposes of projects, decision-making, lectures and for other purposes.
Using GIS software for academic needs magnificently serves the notion of interdisciplinarity in academic terms. The spatial dimension of research is important for disciplines in the range from environmental research, to archaeology or population genetics. All of these fields of study often require a help from mapping technology to display, interpret and analyze the data.

An example from Patho Map project : Displaying the pathogen map or “PathoMap” of New York City and surrounding areas

An example from Patho Map project : Displaying the pathogen map or “PathoMap” of New York City and surrounding areas

So, the first, most obvious use of GIS for academic projects in a wider sense is for the uses of collaboration on various projects between different disciplines.

In a more direct and narrower sense, GIS is widely used in educating the generations of geographers and GIS experts. But, we shouldn’t stop at educating only in the area of geographical research and theory. GIS software can also be used in teaching various subjects such as environmental studies, earth science, history, mathematics, chemistry, biology, languages, arts, etc. We can say that GIS technology is present on all levels of education, from elementary schools to higher education, where the most of its academic usage is concentrated, unifying its purpose as a research tool together with instructive quality. For example, it is a very commonly used tool for undergraduate and graduate research projects.
Observing widely, we can see GIS software used in schools, at technical colleges, universities, libraries, museums and other educational institutions.

So, what would be the basic reason for such a wide application of mapping software?

As an instructional tool, GIS serves its purpose as a great way of encouraging students to employ critical thinking, engage in projects and surveys and boost their problem-solving skills. This technology gives the students a good perspective in visualization of spatial patterns, linkages, and relationships. It enhances their numerical and information processing skills and also helps develop the general linguistic intelligence needed for reading and interpreting visible symbols and word information.
Taking into account a strong orientation on visual images present in the contemporary culture, there is no reason why educators wouldn’t encourage the rise of spatial and map literacy.

Namely, the importance of visual preview in education is supported by the fact that humans process images 60, 000 times faster than text.
Also, people remember only around 20% of what they read alone, compared to 80% of what they see.

A history class is a good example in this case. Maps are used to communicate not only spatial, but also historical data. Therefore, interactive maps can be great teaching tools for history classes. They proved to be a good way for remembering a big amount of historical data.

Except for the great value of GIS software for instructional purposes, there is one more aspect of its usage in the education.

Mapping applications, as an essential part of GIS software, can also be used in educational administration and forming education policies.

Photo: Marta Klarić Ravnić

Photo: Marta Klarić Ravnić


Some of the examples of GIS software application in infrastructure management and administration are:

  • university infrastructure overview and planning
  • campus planning and safety
  • curriculum planning encompassing room capacities
  • technology infrastructure
  • emergency preparedness
  • managing alumni network
  • recruiting students

One of the ideas of how mapping software can be used is, for example, in university self-assessment, using the data for displaying the information such as teacher-student ratios, basic demographic data and various statistical parameters, including the state of infrastructure.

Last but not least: if we shift the focus from the academy to a wider system of educational policies, we should know that the geographic tools are very useful for policy makers, influencing various strategic decisions.

GIS helps visualizing important data about educational facilities and general statistics on local and national levels. It can display expenditures, performance, and compliance with educational regulations. It can show the data in a range from literacy level of the students to the distribution of federal funds. Therefore, GIS is very important as an overview which informs the decisions connected with resources, and program implementation, and distribution.Some types of data that can be visualized for educational policy strategies:

  • amount of money spent per pupil
  • teacher-student ratios
  • geographical distribution of literacy levels
  • demographical information in relation to educational data
  • student, school, and district performance
  • distribution of funds
  • comparisons between states, districts, and school

An example of New York City education survey – red parcels: districts with highest density of students below 9th grade; green parcels: districts with lower density of 9th grade students

All of these GIS possibilities, attached to an academical context often are limited with restricted allocation of resources, primarily funds and technological infrastructure. For that reason, educators and academic staff are often inclined to use cost-effective and non-demanding solutions. One of the ways out of the situation of restricted funds and infrastructure is turning to Cloud GIS solutions.

In Part 2, you can read about reasons to use GIS in Cloud environment for educational and academic purposes.

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Land Administration and Parcel Management Case Study: New York State Thu, 13 Aug 2015 15:23:09 +0000

Data visualization makes our lives easy and simple. It is not a new thing, but the way we do it improves and upgrades daily. Just recently we were still drawing maps, filling forms manually and collecting GPS locations as a single point, with no media associated.

With the boom of free data that is now available to a large audience for free or at a low cost, the ways of visualization had to keep up. The list of data formats prolonged, data volume exploded, and new ways of visualization emerged.

We are no longer locked to our desktop computer, to a single location or to a single person. Our appetites got bigger for the speed and performance of our maps. We now depend on it, but also enjoy the ways of visualization at all scales that increase the precision of our decision making and collaboration.

This is an example of a data visualization solution that Systems Development Group, Inc. needed for their client, New York State land administration and parcel management.


Systems Development Group Inc. creates software for working with New York State real property and county clerk information. Many municipalities throughout New York have chosen to use their software to organize and distribute their data.



SDG needed an application that can show different data like aerial photos, parcel and soil data in large volume and that is accessible to their clients in a form of web maps. Not having to worry about servers and internet speed greatly reduced their worry for creating many online maps for clients to utilize. Without the cloud component, that wouldn’t have been possible.

The most challenging thing for them was to find a solution that wouldn’t require the IT staff and that they can run a cloud solution in a user friendly way on their own. The cost was another bonus as it was dramatically less than if they had attempted to do it on their own. Adding URL-s to their data, specifically parcel was another requirement


The combination of GIS Cloud apps proved to be a perfect solution for their needs. Map Editor enabled them to make ‘big data’ maps in various formats. It has the media integration option, so the URL links were very easily added to their data. Once the maps were ready, they published them in a form of a white labeled Map Portal. This app is a great solution for data visualization as it has search, interactive, export, switch map options and many more.


For instance when you click on a parcel you are shown a clickable link that opens a popup window showing all the parcel information from the municipalities SDG ImageMate Online (IMO) website. If you were to click on the “Pin Property on GIS Map”, then you are taken back to the GIS Cloud map. There is a link for it on every parcel on the IMO website. Click on it and it zooms you into the parcel and highlights it.


With GIS Cloud, SDG was able to get a cost effective solution without installing any software. In their own words: ‘They helped us to shed the behemoth that is ESRI. Their costs were getting astronomical. GIS Cloud has allowed for an online viewer presence without the previously needed IT expertise’

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