MapGeo 2.0: New Features Address the Needs of Local and Regional Governments

Posted on September 9, 2015 in News

Question: What do you get when you cross your local data, Google Maps and CartoDB?

Answer: MapGeo 2.0

MapGeo 2.0, AppGeo’s hosted local government mapping solution, weaves together technology from Google Maps and CartoDB and a whole lot more. The new version serves local and regional government employees, businesses and citizens with a fresh intuitive interface, enhanced data integration, and stunning map options. MapGeo leverages these technologies and provides new features in response to what we heard from MapGeo subscribers. Other related posts talk about the uses and benefits of MapGeo, and look back on our motivation for creating MapGeo.

Here’s some of what’s new in MapGeo 2.0:

Leveraging Google Maps API and Data – MapGeo users told us they wanted to keep the interface simple while adding the power of familiar map tools and high quality base maps. Google Map’s tools are powerful and its interface familiar. MapGeo layers Google’s high quality imagery, search, directions and basemaps with your local authoritative geospatial data. And, when either source is updated, so is MapGeo.

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Why We Built MapGeo

Posted on September 8, 2015 in Thinking

When you were a student it’s likely your parents and instructors reminded or scolded you to “Pay attention!” They believed that keeping an eye on what’s going on around you is valuable both for learning content and for getting ahead in life. At AppGeo we work hard to pay attention to our clients needs, to technology changes and new software and application licensing and delivery options. These were all part of bringing MapGeo (AppGeo’s hosted local government mapping solution), and now MapGeo 2.0, to market. Other related posts include what’s new in MapGeo 2.0, and a description of the uses and benefits of MapGeo.

Our Clients are the Driving Force behind MapGeo

AppGeo has served local and regional governments for more than 20 years. Our consulting and programming staff listened to customer requests and probed their needs, resulting in dozens of well received custom GIS websites. All that experience revealed some common needs. So, we started a list. Our local government customers needed:

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How MapGeo Delivers Value for Cities and Counties

Posted on September 7, 2015 in Thinking

AppGeo created MapGeo (AppGeo’s hosted local government mapping solution, first launched in 2011) to help city and county governments better use and share their geospatial and property data. Now in its second release, MapGeo is putting more data, tools and answers to questions into the hands of local government leaders, staff, businesses and citizens. Below we describe how MapGeo aligns with the expectations of today’s consumers of map-based information. Other related posts include a description of what’s new in MapGeo, and a look back on our motivation for creating MapGeo.

Beyond the Basics

Nearly everyone involved in government, both insiders and constituents, is sold on the need for accurate data, transparency and accountability. These same people are also sold on the value of maps in visualizing those data, sharing information and making decisions. But today’s challenges go beyond just creating and sharing maps. Municipal leaders and those who work for them demand quick access to a wide variety of data and new ways to view, measure and share project outcomes. Citizens are more savvy; they want quick answers to their questions and assurances their concerns are received and addressed.

The maturation of local government mapping systems revolves around performance based management. Municipal leaders and constituents are pushing maps to address performance questions:

  • Are we taking the right actions?
  • Are we effectively communicating what we are doing?
  • Are we meeting our goals in a timely manner?

For example, city leaders might set a goal of improving response to citizen service requests. Maps showing the status of service requests built off the latest data would help leaders determine if the selected strategies were working, help citizens follow progress and provide regular reports on meeting goals. A time series map could show exactly how the status changed weekly, monthly or across the year.

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Certified Partner to CartoDB

Posted on September 1, 2015 in News

We are proud to announce our certified partner status with CartoDB. Through this relationship, AppGeo will help its customers to take advantage of this exciting new location intelligence and data visualization engine, including building custom applications, adding CartoDB to your enterprise GIS implementation, and providing CartoDB licenses.

“Without question the CartoDB platform advances the speed and elegance of geographic data visualization for our clients,” said Rich Grady, President of AppGeo. “Our customers look to us for empathetic solutions that lower costs, increase public engagement, enable collaboration, integrate the newest datasets and visualize them in variety of expressive ways. CartoDB’s toolset is a key part of the current and future Applied Geographics solution stack for government and commercial enterprises.”

“We are excited to see the valuable technology solutions AppGeo will craft with CartoDB to help clients make better decisions,” says Javier de la Torre, CEO of CartoDB. “We believe this partnership will bring robust tools that help local government use data to uncover insights and enhance their operations.”

Based on its extensive functional capabilities, AppGeo has already built CartoDB mapping into the latest release of our MapGeo hosted Web mapping solution for local government.

In keeping with our mission, AppGeo continuously explores new technologies that match customer requirements for performance, functionality and cost-effectiveness when applying geography to solving problems. CartoDB meets our standard in all respects. Our geospatial analysts and developers consistently find that CartoDB technology provides faster turn around on geographic analysis and application development, yielding better results at lower cost.

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Merging Geospatial Technology Stacks: Building Hybrid Systems

Posted on June 16, 2015 in Presentations

Michael Terner‘s presentation on today’s leading geospatial technologies makes the case for hybrid (best of breed) approaches, and provides examples, including work for the Western Governors’ Association (WGA), our own MapGeo, which itself is undergoing a hybrid evolution, and Google Imagery.

This slide deck was presented at the May 2015 Utah Geographic Information Council (UGIC) and GeCo West conference held at the Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort.

Michael Terner’s UGIC 2015 Presentation on Hybrid Systems

MapGeo Online Property Mapping wins Best Web Map Application Recognition at 2014 FOSS4G

Posted on September 17, 2014 in News

Map Gallery judges at the 2014 annual international FOSS4G (Free and Open Source Software for GIS) conference chose MapGeo as a “Best Web Map Application” from among the almost 100 entries.  MapGeo was developed by AppGeo for local governments to empower them to provide access to authoritative geographic and detailed property information through a modern, useful and high performance mapping interface. 

The scalable MapGeo platform leverages the Leaflet open source javascript library; PostGIS for data storage and geospatial queries; GeoServer for web map services and cartographic styling; GeoWebCache as well as Arc2Earth for tile cache creation; Amazon Web Services as Cloud-based Infrastructure with Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2) for servers and Simple Storage Service (S3) for tile cache storage.  AppGeo continually adds to and improves MapGeo, which is provided on a subscription basis to local governments across the nation.

More than 75 municipalities and counties currently enjoy the high performance and utility of MapGeo for sharing their property data with government staff, businesses, and residents.

Pictured below is Beverly, MA .

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Highlights of 2012

Posted on December 28, 2012 in Thinking

From all of us at AppGeo, we wish you a Happy New Year!

Our expanded portfolio of work this past year, the growth of our staff, and our investments in new technology reflect many of the internal and external factors shaping our industry.  Some highlights of AppGeo’s 2012 include:

  • Cloud Hosting – Our 2011 migration to cloud hosting for customer websites proved successful in 2012, enabling us to deliver exceptional performance to our clients.  An added benefit is that we’ve applied this valuable experience to help our clients choose among hosting options.
  • Mobile applications – The popularity of smart phones and tablets is driving demand for new and innovative mobile applications for viewing and collecting data, and we have continued to build applications for these purposes, including launching a mobile version of the GPV.  Supporting a mobile workforce requires more than user applications, however.  Behind the scenes, we’ve gained valuable experience designing  the infrastructure needed to support a department of transportation’s mobile workforce.
  • MapGeo Milestones –  Launched in 2011, our low-cost, subscription based MapGeo website for county and municipal government is now in use in seven states with more than 45 active sites.
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MapGeo Subscription Growth Expands Access to Local Geographic Data

Posted on November 8, 2012 in News

Subscriptions to our MapGeo property mapping platform continue to increase steadily and have picked up in the last few months.

“Since July, we have added more than a dozen MapGeo subscribers” said Michael Terner, Executive Vice President, “and today there are more than 40 MapGeo subscribers representing counties and municipalities in 7 states, including Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Virginia.”

The web usage statistics show that MapGeo sites are visited regularly and repeatedly, generating maps and views of all types of data.  Even more important than the numbers, users find substantial benefit in the data access provided by MapGeo.

“The feedback we are getting from subscribers and users is very positive,” said Terner.  “Local government staff, real estate and other business professionals, and residents have written to tell us how much they like the user interface and how MapGeo makes it easy to access local geographic data directly, saving them time and money.”

“Our focus at AppGeo is empowering our clients to put geographic data to work for real benefit,” said Rich Grady, President. “The democratization of authoritative local geographic data through MapGeo supports that goal.”

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HTML5 + Geospatial: Past, Present, and Future

Posted on May 8, 2012 in Thinking

Where we’ve been and where we see the potential of HTML5 for the GIS Community

AppGeo’s Vice President and Director of Software Architecture, Peter Girard, has been watching the development of HTML5 for several years with the conviction that it represented the correct technology direction for the company.  We held back jumping on the Flash bandwagon, and we took some flack for not being at the “cutting edge” while we quietly invested in HTML5 components as they appeared, and the dividends are now arriving and we are not surprised.

HTML5, simply put, makes sense for the GIS community for several reasons, not least of which are:

  • Improved handling of graphical and multimedia elements without plugins
  • Support for device access or awareness such as geolocation, orientation and sensor input
  • Expanded scope for modern user interface design
  • Operates efficiently on low-powered devices
  • Enhances offline and storage options that keep applications running even if connectivity is lost temporarily

If you just follow the news, you might have the impression that HTML5 just arrived on the scene.  But the truth is that HTML5 has been coming slowly for several years, and will keep delivering in the years ahead.

Bottom line: we are fans, and have put HTML5 into practice with our MapGeo(TM) application and other custom mobile and web-based applications that we have developed or are developing.  For example, our award-winning custom applications for the City of Baltimore and for the US Geological Survey GAP Analysis Program took advantage of HTML5.

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Cloud Rules! Cloud Rules? Is cloud hosting good for municipal GIS?

Posted on April 10, 2012 in Thinking

Cloud hosting* and virtualization* are a perfect combination that may be suitable for your local government GIS website hosting.

We have managed a fully secure hosting infrastructure for GIS websites at our office since 1997.  Now, after much evaluation and experimentation, we’ve taken the plunge and moved the majority of our hosting operation to the cloud in a virtualized environment and are learning some lessons in the process.  Our new subscription-based web mapping application, MapGeo™, for example, is hosted in a completely virtual, cloud-based environment.

As we gain experience with our new cloud hosting environment (we are using Amazon Web Services (AWS)), we are evaluating the differences and benefits.  Here are some of our observations and a preview of what we are anticipating or confirming to be true:

Extended redundancy  & failover capability

This is a no brainer; because the work can be spread over the cluster, the virtual servers are better protected from hardware failures.  Moving to AWS means we are operating on an especially large cloud-based hosting infrastructure.

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