Why your users want Google Maps, not your GIS ... And what to do about it!


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Google Maps is a hugely successful product. Initial popularity due to great speed, cartography, and user interface design grew to near dominance of online mapping when routing and Street View were added. Once GIS users realized there was a better way to access spatial data and functionality, they quickly became dissatisfied with traditional GIS. But GIS is much more than what Google Maps provides ... Paul Joyce of we-do-IT addresses the issue of Why your users want Google Maps, not your GIS ... And what to do about it!
Paul has worked extensively with Smallworld, ESRI and Intergraph GIS systems. A recent project of his involved establishing an enterprise-wide adoption of GIS technology, using a combination of consumer-targeted (Google Earth, Google Maps), and open source server technologies (GeoServer, PostgreSQL).

youTube ...
Pt One: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yT3-3aMX44o
Pt Two: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJSpDbi12zQ
Pt Three: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ImBywcXTH0c


Published in: Technology
1 Comment
  • I already use Google Maps as GIS to build road maps (graph structures). The problem I stumble upon is collaboration. Specifically, collaboration in building datasets -- not using them. Majority of GIS portals I know are there for 2 purposes:

    (1) to use a GIS dataset together
    (2) to build a dataset based on the interface provided by the portal.

    The simple purpose I am trying to pursue is left unfulfilled by both the above. Which is actually strange because quotas on requests exist for any existing API -- GoogleMapsAPI or ArcGIS, although it could be in slightly varied forms -- ArcGIS is paid from the start and has rather big quotas while GoogleMapsAPI has very restrictive quotas in its free form.

    For example:


    is a simple serverless web application which uses client's daily quota to suck routes from GoogleMapsAPI and stored them in my Dropbox folder. All clients write to the same folder. Collisions are resolved by the web application. This is a very simple collaboration.

    Note that its purpose is different from that of default modes of ArcGIS or GoogleMaps (API or Engine) and cannot be created by the either of them. I am surprised to find myself in the position that public collaboration on a (useful?) dataset is completely impossible just because it departs -- a little bit -- from the default use.
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Why your users want Google Maps, not your GIS ... And what to do about it!

  1. 1. GITA gisDrinks<br />Why your users want Google Maps, not your GIS ... and what you can do about it<br />
  2. 2. Comparing Google Maps with Others<br />Cartography<br />Speed<br />User Interface<br />Functionality<br />
  3. 3. Cartography – Typical GIS<br />
  4. 4. Cartography – Yahoo Maps<br />
  5. 5. Cartography – Bing Maps<br />
  6. 6. Cartography – Google Maps<br />
  7. 7. Cartography<br />41latitude.com<br />Label readability<br />Number of labels<br />Label placement<br />Town icons<br />... more<br />
  8. 8. Speed<br />No waiting 5-15 seconds for a redraw<br />No refresh button <br />Google’s infrastructure > your IT department’s<br />
  9. 9. UI – SIAS<br />
  10. 10. UI – G/NetViewer<br />
  11. 11. UI – G/MobileViewer<br />
  12. 12. UI – ArcGIS Explorer Online (ribbon)<br />
  13. 13. UI – ArcGIS Explorer Online (new)<br />
  14. 14. UI – ArcGIS Viewer for Flex<br />
  15. 15. UI – ArcGIS.com Viewer<br />
  16. 16. UI – Bing Maps<br />
  17. 17. UI – Google Maps<br />
  18. 18. Functionality<br />What your GIS looks like to most of your users<br />
  19. 19. Functionality<br />Less is more<br />Web GIS ≠ Desktop GIS<br />Web GIS = Workflow support server-based geoprocessing<br />
  20. 20. Good Reasons To Surrender<br />>150 million users<br />>19 billion km of routes served last year<br />Cartography, Speed, UI<br />Street View<br />API<br />Hundreds of updates per year<br />training, implementation, licence costs ↓<br />productivity, scalability ↑<br />
  21. 21. When<br />Internet and users that only need location are candidates for a Google Maps-based solution<br />
  22. 22. How<br />Google Maps + placemarkers<br />Google Fusion Tables <br />Google Maps API + custom/product<br />
  23. 23. If You Can’t Or Don’t Want To<br />Just support workflows<br />Pay attention to user experience<br />cartography: basemap + operational, imagery<br />speed: maps, geoprocessing<br />ui: simple, clean, workflow support<br />
  24. 24. Thanks<br />