Traditional software based GIS visualization


What is it?

GIS as a system that provides spatial data entry, management, and retrieval, analysis, and visualization functions.

Web user can visualize but Cannot (yet) modify existing databases. Can make the model too easy to use.


By using user profiles, personal filters and personal styling and symbolization, users can configure and design their own maps.

Can be tedious, but is limited to functionality of whichever coding language is utilized (i.e. Python, javascript, etc.)


User or Owner access. Allows use of either commonly available or user’s own data.

Public access, but User must manage and find data, and use correct projections and data preparations.


GIS accuracy depends upon source data, and how it is encoded to be data referenced. MATIND surveyors have been able to provide a high level of positional accuracy utilizing the GPS-derived positions of health facilities. Paper maps, though these may be of limited use in achieving the desired accuracy since the aging of maps affects their dimensional stability.

Web technology are changing the quality, utility, and expectations of GIS to serve on a grand scale.

Data capture

Entering information into the system―consumes much of the time of GISpractitioners. There are a variety of methods used to enter data into a GIS where it is stored in a digital format.

Captured data transfer to the webserver or webpage or web GIS through open source or commercial software.

Data output & cartography

Cartography is the design and production of maps, or visual representations of spatial data. Thematic, dot density, chlorepath contours maps and other graphics can be generated, allowing the viewer to visualize and thereby understand the results of analyses or simulations of potential events.

Web Map Servers facilitate distribution of generated maps through web browsers using various implementations of web-based application programming interfaces (AJAX, Java, Flash, etc.).

Data updating medium

In traditional cartography, when dealing with printed maps or interactive maps distributed on offline media (CD, DVD, etc.), map update caused serious efforts, triggering a reprint as well as a redistribution of the media.

Because web maps distribute both logic and data with each request or loading, product updates can happen every time the web user reloads the application. Web maps, data and product updates are easier, cheaper, and faster, and can occur more often.

Sources of data & quality

If primary data collected than well appreciated for GIS, but user has to rely on and trust the external secondary data sources, if not available primarily.

Using open standards and documented APIs one can integrate (mash up) different data sources, if the projection system, map scale and data quality match. The use of centralized data sources removes the burden for individual organizations to maintain copies of the same data sets.

Collaborative mapping

When primary data correlates with external data sources, the original author often cannot guarantee the availability of the information.

Enable distributed data acquisition and collaborative efforts. Examples for such projects are the Open Street Map project or the Google Earth community. As with other open projects, quality assurance is very important, however, and the reliability of the internet and web server infrastructure is not yet good enough.

User familiar

Easy to use for someone already familiar with ArcView/ArcGIS or other GIS software.

For novice GIS users, easy to learn and understand options and immediate decision making.


Commercial GIS Software are huge cost, but can now open source software are available.

Free of cost. Software and hardwareinfrastructure for web maps is cheap.


Best tool for an experienced GIS user to apply any applications.

No need to require a substantial investment in software based on GIS applications.

GIS spatial analysis

GIS packages are increasingly including analytical tools as standard built-in facilities, as optional toolsets, as add-ins or “analysts”.

The increased availability has created a new dimension to business intelligence termed “spatial intelligence” which, when openly delivered via intranet, democratizes access to geographic and social network data.


Geospatial intelligence, based on GIS spatial analysis, has also become a key element for security.

Confidentiality is a challenge for web based maps.