Monday, March 19, 2012

Updating the Cached Map Services

The GIS Hub currently has two cached map services:  Basemap_General (hillshade, roads, boundaries, water) and Basemap_Imagery (statewide, county, and city aerial photography). Cached map services can be used in ArcMap and in web applications as base maps that redraw very quickly.

The two cached map services are currently being rebuilt and will have the following modifications:
  1. New and updated data - new City of Fargo aerial photography; updated city boundaries and roads
  2. Transparency outside of the state border - this will enable overlaying the GIS Hub base map on top of other base maps without masking the other base map outside of the state border
  3. File format - unless we find a show-stopper, we are switching to the "compact" format which results in less files and smaller storage needs.  As an example, for one scale level:

In the future, we plan to build additional cached map services.  If you have suggestions of what you'd like please let us know (comment in this blog or via the Feedback Form).

Friday, March 9, 2012

Improved Data Downloading is Coming

For about a decade the North Dakota GIS Hub has been making geospatial data available for download. Users download vector data in the file format and coordinate system of their choosing.  Raster data is downloaded in the file format and coordinate system native to each particular data set.  Vector and raster data discovery is done through the Hub Data Portal. Once a dataset of interest is found, one clicks on the More Information button, carefully reads the descriptive information of course, and then in the Transfer Options section, selects the Download link to begin the download process.

We are now in the early stages of upgrading the GIS Hub's data download system.  The first steps include upgrading the vector data download system which is based on Safe Software's FME Server and deploying that to multiple servers.  In addition, the interface that is used to specify the file format, coordinate system, and email address will be upgraded to accommodate the new version of FME Server and if all goes as planned, provide the ability to clip by polygon, selected or sketched.

Planned future work includes upgrading the data download system to allow downloading of raster data in a chosen file format and coordinate system. This could be a challenge due to the size of the data but we are optimistic that it can be done.