Friday, November 27, 2015

Overview of MapDeck support for common map layer services

MapDeck mission is to personalise location intelligence services. That is, to deliver tailored solutions to meet specific requirements of a wide range of users - from private individuals and small business operators, to professionals and persons in corporate roles.

Flexibility in selection and ease of mixing map layers is a basic requirement for personalising map creation process. It is especially important for those users who are just starting to master the power of maps for decision making and who are not yet technically savvy to use advanced features of spatial software.

Unfortunately, the reality is that even a simple task, such as displaying several map layers from different web services, can turn into quite a challenge because of incompatibilities of variants of public web map services available on the Internet.

MapDeck’s Map Layers Manager handles that complexity of options, which makes it easy for anybody to work with almost any map layer, regardless of web service origin.

"[It] handles information published in Open Street Map (OSM), Tile Map Service (TMS), Web Map Tile Service (WMTS), Web Map Service (WMS) as well as ESRI image, map and tile service formats..."

Map Layers Manager tool handles information published in Open Street Map (OSM) tile format, but also those in Tile Map Service (TMS), Web Map Tile Service (WMTS), Web Map Service (WMS) as well as ESRI image, map and tile service formats. Also those variants requiring access key and/or published with custom parameters. That should cover 99% of map service formats available on the Internet.

MapDeck users have an option to subscribe to Map Layers Manager app which will give them the ability to create their own map layers from almost any web map service publicly available on the Internet. These custom map layers can then be used to create personalised maps and/or can be shared with other MapDeck users.

But perhaps of the most interest to all is that, thanks to Map Layers Manager, many public, as well as commercial, web services will be catalogued and pre-configured for immediate use with MapDeck apps, making it very easy to discover and mash map layers, and ultimately to customise map content to individual requirements. public page

The first batch of 32 public map layers has already been published on MapDeck beta test version. Additional 220+ map layer services have already been preconfigured and they will be progressively released to MapDeck users.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Sales Area Management Tool 2015 upgrade

As MapDeck is getting readied for the official, albeit soft launch in December 2015 we would like to start introducing individual apps that will provide initial functionality of the platform.

Sales Area Management Tools (SAMT) is the first app we would like to bring to your attention. Initially developed as a stand-alone proof of concept, SAMT is now fully integrated with MapDeck platform. It means, output can now be saved in the cloud and can be shared with nominated individuals. And SAMT is now accessible on any screen size (i.e. desktop, tablets and on mobile phones).

Sales Area Management Tool: mobile screen view

SAMT functionality was significantly expanded. For example, users can now select any polygon structures to build their territories with, including postal areas/ zip codes, suburbs and other administrative boundaries available in MapDeck catalogue.

These boundaries can be joined with attribute information, like counts of persons or estimates of market value, so when polygons are joined into territories overall totals for individual territories are calculated automatically. It will help in creating balanced territories and with rebalancing territories as local market conditions change over time.

Sales Area Management Tool: territories with attributes (desktop view)

Map window now extends to a full screen and users have much more control over styling of individual territories. There is an option to change base map background to any map layer available in MapDeck catalogue. As well, users have the ability to display only one territory at a time (e.g. for printing purposes).

For ease of use, polygon names appear on-mouse-over and location search is now a standard functionality of SAMT. Sorting by name or id, and searching within long lists of territories, is also supported.

Sales Area Management Tool: filter by territory name and mouse-over functions (desktop view)

Users have the ability to create several versions of territories and saving them all in the same data table.

However, the most significant innovation added to SAMT is the ability to include a trace-over layer on the map. This functionality can be very handy for displaying older versions of territories in the background when creating an updated or alternative version. Or in case where territories have to be reconstructed from a different geography.

For example, territories created from postal areas could be easily recreated with suburbs when the former is used for reference as a trace-over layer.

Sales Area Management Tool: recreating postcode based territory (orange) with suburbs (purple)

The latest version of Sales Area Management Tool can be accessed right now by current users of version 1 of the app. Please contact MapDeck’s Australian affiliate via email on to arrange for login details.

Update on the status of All-Things-Spatial

It has been a quiet year on All-Things-Spatial. We have only managed to publish 6 posts so far. The main reason for the lack of updates is a very busy schedule on the development front, with all hands on deck (pun intended!) to bring MapDeck concept to fruition. And to the point that it can be successfully launched on the market!

The project turned out to be much bigger than anyone anticipated but now the platform is very close to the official release. Thanks for all the financial support and great feedback we received during testing of various concepts! MapDeck users will be the ultimate winners – with easy access to tons of free and cheap data and tools.

We believe MapDeck is something very, very special – but you have to experience it in person to fully appreciate the potential. MapDeck may not be the prettiest website on the Internet, and may not have all the bells and whistles (yet!) of more mature (and better funded!) cloud based mapping software available on the market but it is the only one that offers fully personalised experience.

MapDeck will be launched with only a basic set of tools and information but product range will expand over time to meet a growing list of user requirements. More on what is available in a separate post. For now, we would just like to bring you up to date on the administrative arrangements for moving forward with this project.

In particular, MapDeck is a global service provider and operates as an independent business.

At the same time, brand will continue to participate on the project as a lead partner in Australia, providing local content for the platform as well as servicing local clients.

All-Things-Spatial blog will remain under control. It will be a vehicle for promoting MapDeck capabilities and for educating current and prospective users of the platform about advantage of using spatial technologies for decision making purposes.  

We hope you can join us here regularly for insights and good ideas how to make the most of MapDeck functionality. Stay tuned!