Over the last few years a range of online internet mapping resources have become available starting out with basic map providing sites such as Streetmap and Multimap (now part of Bing Maps). Google broke all the boundaries with the revolutionary Google Earth and its related Google Maps and Microsoft has followed with its own Bing alternatives. ESRI are the providers of leading industry standard GIS software ArcGIS which historically has consisted of powerful desktop mapping and analysis tools and server side applications such as ArcSDE and ArcGIS Server to manage multi-user “geodatabases” and provide web access to desktop authored content.
Recently though ESRI have been expanding there online offering at ArcGIS.com to provide base mapping services, sharing of ArcGIS Server services, and sharing via download of ArcGIS desktop layer and map packages. Now ESRI have finally provided the ability to upload some content created in their desktop software to the Map Viewer and Map Explorer applications on ArcGIS.com with the ability to share these maps. This represents a great leap forward for those with access to ArcGIS desktop software and the developments at ArcGIS look set to continue.
Currently on Scotland-Landscapes you’ll find a range of different maps for different purposes including Multimap, Google and ArcGIS.com maps. From where we are currently, it looks likely that authoring content in ArcGIS and publishing it via ArcGIS.com is the way that we’ll produce online maps from now. Hopefully the possible range of content and functionality of these maps will continue to move forward.