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maxreil123

Which features should a good web gis app have?

7 posts in this topic

Hi everyone,

I’ve seen some different web gis apps, some are good in UI interaction, some are good in functionality, but I can’t feel any significant difference among them. Before you purchase a web gis app, which features do you guys think a good web gis app should have? Thanks!

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It would be better to say what is your porpuse of buying a webgis app.I think based on usage we can tell you what you need.

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It would be better to say what is your porpuse of buying a webgis app.I think based on usage we can tell you what you need.

Thanks, I would say it's mainly for commercial use, which features are useful in this area my friend?

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Thanks, I would say it's mainly for commercial use, which features are useful in this area my friend?

well the main features of a web gis is

- common controls

- the architecture of application,Is it 3 layer (ui,webserver (geoserver  or mapserver),db)?

- is libraries open source or not?

- does is supports 3d GIS?

- about ability to edit features, vertex by vertex or only delete, drawing etc.

- is it restful, etc

 

about UI:

- it is better to use javascript instead of silverlight and etc

- it is would be better to show analyzes on maps. not only showing a set of layers on it.

- about analyzes you can focus on heatmaps and etc,

- network analyzes, service analyzes and etc must be included.

 

-choosing a right service, wfs,wms, using pure geojson and etc for each application is a good idea and must taken into account.

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Some basic rules for a WebGIS to my opinion.

 

From Aministrator's site:

- Should have UI for administrator;

- Able to host GIS data (vector, raster) in the cloud storage;

- Able to display GIS data from WMS/WFS/WMST services;

- Able to create thematic maps from GIS data;

- Able to create <embed> object into HTML website/blog/forum;

- Manage users by different security levels;

- Allow multi-user working environment.

 

From User's site:

- Very fast feedback (high speed map display, searching, info query...);

- Should have Layer Control;

- Able to display map legend/attribute tables;

- Able to show pop-up information by mouse-click;

- Able to search for information by conditions;

- Able to analyze/summarize information by request;

- Able to do some other tasks: measure, print, export....

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This is a very very broad question. It really depends on what you will be using it for. When starting out I start out with only 2 major questions:

 

1) What functionality do I need? Less is more. Too many web mapping apps are loaded with almost too much functionality. It's a challenge making something that is robust functionally and intuitive to use at the same time. Many of the templates you will use will only have 50% of what you will actually need and the other 50% will be things you don't need/want. This includes security. This also includes determining whether or not users will connect through a mobile device to your app as well as a PC (this changes a lot of things). Things like User vs. Administrator functionality need to be considered, target audience, large-scale multi-user editing requiring enterprise dbms, etc... Open source vs. properietary?

 

2) What back-end will I use to store and manage the data and what front-end will you use to deliver the data (i.e. Silverlight, HTML5, etc...) They each have their advantages and disadvantages and is usually determined by the functionality I need. There are still reasons to use Silverlight in some rare cases. They are tools to do the job, just like a hammer or wrench. I've seen some terrific Silverlight webGIS (our main company editor is still utilizing Silverlight due to the fact it can still do somethings our staff rely on, that something like HTML5 cannot). On the reverse, I've seen some terrible HTML5 webGIS applications as well. Although I do strongly urge most people to stay away from Silverlight due to the obvious fact that its not supported by a lot of new browsers as well as UI issues it tends to have.

 

There are no real "best practices" for what to put on a user's site because it's dependent directly on what the user will be doing with it. For example at our office, we like everything minimalist and this means no scale bars, scale text, etc... on the map (these only show up if the user wants them to from the toolbar or in a print layout). Our staff want maximum imagery and no "filler". We use regional and local projections (i.e. MTM or UTM zones) and not generic Mercator projections as we need good measurements with little distortion. We do NOT like to use cloud storage (this is different obviously for other businesses). We put lots of effort into creating good printing templates for reports (this is something that is really really neglected I find on web GIS apps).

 

I mean I guess you could say north arrow, scalebar, print, export, legend etc... but those aren't really best practices that are related to WebGIS as they apply to all cartographic products. Things like heat maps, cluster mapping etc are often used incorrectly. In order to use this type of mapping you really need a nice amount of representative data. Having a heat map generated from say 20 points over a large national area is relatively useless. I don't recommend these things unless your data is good enough to support it. Web GIS applications are often created with what looks like the intended purpose of fully replacing a desktop environment and I strongly think this is a recipe for disaster because its impossible to do that. I see a lot of Geocortex solutions do this and a lot of it is just screen "bloatware" (its a great product in the right circumstances though).

 

Consider these adjectives:

 

- intuitive
- responsive

- quick

- easy

- simple

- comprehensible

- stream-lined

 

If your application can meet most of these, then you are on your way. Of course, the application is only 1/2 of the package. The data is the other 1/2. If the data isn't properly prepped, etc for use on the web or in your application then your awesome application will run slower as it struggles with the loading of the data.

 

When you say it is for commercial use, do you mean you will be using it to sell products on it commercially (i.e. such as an air photo library), or do you mean it will be used by "Company X" as a generic viewer for their staff at work?

Edited by group5e
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