A few weeks ago Australian government launched new spatial data initiative called the National Map. It is a cooperative effort of NICTA and several federal government agencies, and another attempt to catalogue, present and make accessible to the public vast amounts of spatial data created and maintained by public sector organisations.
Hopefully, this initiative will be more successful and more permanent creation than previous versions so business, as well as Australian public, can take full advantage of the investment for many years to come.
The concept of a “single online map” - the National Map, is not unique and this is not what will make this project a success. After all, there is nothing exciting anymore about “viewing things on maps” - especially within walled gardens of proprietary applications (State governments Google Globes initiatives come to mind as an example).
Rather, the value of this and, hopefully soon, State and Territory government initiatives is in exposing the data via web services for others to utilise - without constraints and within a variety of custom made applications.
Full data interoperability is the ultimate prize for the nation. Yet, this concept is so elusive and hard to achieve despite over a decade of concerted efforts of many individuals and quite a significant investment by government authorities to make it happen. Let us hope that the National Map initiative is the new beginning...
Thematic Mapper is one of many applications on the market which can readily make use of all those new data services. It is well capable of not only displaying National Map data layers but also allowing to “mash” them with a variety of other open source as well as proprietary information.
Take for example this set of maps depicting Internet availability and quality of signal in Australia. It is created with free and readily accessible Census data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics as well as information served by the Department of Communications:
You don’t have to be a GIS expert to make useful, informative and beautiful maps with Thematic Mapper. Contact mapdeck.com team to arrange a demonstration with your own data.