Governments on all levels use GIS (Geographic Information System) for storing and visualizing data relevant to their jurisdiction. These file types are also referred to as shape files. GIS data is traditionally stored on internal applications and is designed for sharing and displaying that information to employees. When the information is shared with the public, it is usually published as a PDF document, which has huge limitations.
A large challenge for government, or business that use GIS data, is that most governments don’t have ways to efficiently share their GIS data. One of our missions at Cross Section Technologies is to make GIS data easily accessible to the public, even very large GIS datasets.
Case Study: City of Orlando Zoning
Standard Practice by Governments
The City of Orlando publishes its zoning maps into PDFs and puts them online for download. This single GIS data set must be divided into 26 PDF documents to be put online. See their zoning maps.
The overview of the 26 maps looks just like the image to the right. By clicking a number, you open the corresponding PDF.
Here are the limitations:
- The data must be divided into 26 PDF documents
- The user must have a program capable of viewing PDFs
- The visual data cannot be sorted or separated
- The user cannot search for an address, business location or use any search capabilities
- The PDF has limited zooming capabilities
- The PDF information cannot be stacked with other layers of information
New Potential Practices
By publishing GIS data with the Google Maps API, the large GIS data set can be displayed in one instance. This format provides numerous benefits.
- This web version does not require a PDF viewer and can be viewed on mobile devices within the page
- Search functionality could be added to find addresses, businesses and more
- The map has a very high zoom resolution, showing detail of boundaries around individual parcels
- GIS data can be overlapped in comparison to other GIS data sets
- This data set is many times smaller than all the PDF documents combined
- There are numerous ways to customize the user interface and experience