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KE-27 - Value of Professional Geospatial Organizations

There are a great many professional associations in the geospatial sector.  They provide a great deal of value to the geospatial community and professionals working in that community.  The value can be described in terms of professional development, technological and organizational advancement, advocacy, governance, and leadership.  The following text explains the various ways in which professional associations provide value to the community.

CV-03 - Vector Formats and Sources

In the last ten years, the rise of efficient computing devices with significant processing power and storage has caused a surge in digital data collection and publication. As more software programs and hardware devices are released, we are not only seeing an increase in available data, but also an increase in available data formats. Cartographers today have access to a wide range of interesting datasets, and online portals for downloading geospatial data now frequently offer that data in several different formats. This chapter provides information useful to modern cartographers working with vector data, including an overview of common vector data formats (e.g. shapefile, GeoJSON, file geodatabase); their relative benefits, idiosyncrasies, and limitations; and a list of popular sources for geospatial vector data (e.g. United States Census Bureau, university data warehouses).

CV-16 - Virtual and Immersive Environments

A virtual environment (VE) is a 3D computer-based simulation of a real or imagined environment in which users can navigate and interactive with virtual objects. VEs have found popular use in communicating geographic information for a variety of domain applications. This entry begins with a brief history of virtual and immersive environments and an introduction to a common framework used to describe characteristics of VEs. Four design considerations for VEs then are reviewed: cognitive, methodological, social, and technological. The cognitive dimension involves generating a strong sense of presence for users in a VE, enabling users to perceive and study represented data in both virtual and real environments. The methodological dimension covers methods in collecting, processing, and visualizing data for VEs. The technological dimension surveys different VE hardware devices (input, computing, and output devices) and software tools (desktop and web technologies). Finally, the social dimension captures existing use cases for VEs in geo-related fields, such as geography education, spatial decision support, and crisis management.

PD-28 - Visual Programming for GIS Applications

Visual programming languages (VPLs) in GIS applications are used to design the automatic processing of spatial data in an easy visual form. The resulted visual workflow is useful when the same processing steps need to be repeated on different spatial data (e.g. other areas, another period). In the case of visual programming languages, simple graphical symbols represent spatial operations implemented in GIS software (tools, geoalgorithms). Users can create a sequence of operation in a simple visual form, like a chain of graphical symbols. Visual programs can be stored and reused. The graphical form is useful to non-programmers who are not familiar with a textual programming language, as is the case with many professionals such as urban planners, facility managers, ecologists and other users of GIS. VPLs are implemented not only in GIS applications but also in remote sensing (RS) applications. Sometimes both types of applications are bundled together in one geospatial application that offers geoalgorithms in a shared VPL environment. Visual programming languages are an integral part of software engineering (SE). Data flow and workflow diagrams are one of the oldest graphical representations in informatics.

CP-14 - Web GIS

Web GIS allows the sharing of GIS data, maps, and spatial processing across private and public computer networks. Understanding web GIS requires learning the roles of client and server machines and the standards and protocols around how they communicate to accomplish tasks. Cloud computing models have allowed web-based GIS operations to be scaled out to handle large jobs, while also enabling the marketing of services on a per-transaction basis.

A variety of toolkits allow the development of GIS-related websites and mobile apps. Some web GIS implementations bring together map layers and GIS services from multiple locations. In web environments, performance and security are two concerns that require heightened attention. App users expect speed, achievable through caching, indexing, and other techniques. Security precautions are necessary to ensure sensitive data is only revealed to authorized viewers.

Many organizations have embraced the web as a way to openly share spatial data at a relatively low cost. Also, the web-enabled expansion of spatial data production by nonexperts (sometimes known as “neogeography”) offers a rich field for alternative mappings and critical study of GIS and society.

PD-16 - Web GIS Programming

Web GIS programming involves creating, extending, utilizing, Web GIS or web mapping solutions to solve specific problems, build complete applications, or consume or produce data and geospatial processing services. With the expansion of the internet and availability of Web GIS or Web mapping options, web GIS programming is becoming a commonly required skill set in many organizations. Web GIS programming is a type of software development that provides a means of handling internet, browser-based software application development tasks which require unique solutions to web GIS or web mapping problems. In addition, a number of Web GIS software options offer application programming interfaces (APIs) that provide a means by which developers can leverage the published data and processing services of others to build and customize applications through standardized interfaces with external web GIS software, data, and services. Web GIS programming applies to mobile as well as desktop application development. A browser typically runs software applications by submitting Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) or Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) requests to a server hosting resources the application user wishes to access available through a Uniform Resource Locator (URL), and the server replies by providing resources or performing functions requested by the user. This entry reviews the fundamentals of web GIS programming, accompanying the Web Mapping and other entries in the Programming and Development section, the Web GIS entry in the Computing Platforms section, and the User Interface and User Experience (UI/UX) Design entry in the Cartography and Visualization section (Sack, 2017; Quinn, 2018; Roth, 2017).

CV-15 - Web Mapping

As internet use has grown, many paper maps have been scanned and published online, and new maps have increasingly been designed for viewing in a web browser or mobile app. Web maps may be static or dynamic, and dynamic maps may either be animated or interactive. Tiled web maps are interactive maps that use tiled images to allow for fast data loading and smooth interaction, while vector web maps support rendering a wide variety of map designs on the client. Web maps follow a client-server architecture, with specialized map servers sometimes used to publish data and maps as geospatial web services. Web maps are composed of data from a database or file on the server, style information rendered on either server or client, and optionally animation or interaction instructions executed on the client. Several graphic web platforms provide user-friendly web mapping solutions, while greater customization is possible through the user of commercial or open source web mapping APIs. When designing web maps, cartographers should consider the map’s purpose on a continuum from exploratory and highly interactive to thematic and less interactive or static, the constraints of desktop and/or mobile web contexts, and accessibility for disabled, elderly, and poorly connected users.