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:

  • accurate basemaps
  • easy to use property search
  • access to property attribute information
  • to identify abutters
  • to view and interact with other local and state data

In 2010, we drafted a blueprint of what a hosted platform that met the above needs might look like. In partnership with several municipalities we detailed the platform requirements:

  • powerful geospatial toolset
  • elegant, intuitive interface
  • fast, intuitive, informative
  • cost effective, affordable
  • hosted subscription service
  • continuous improvement with regular enhancements/releases
  • browser only implementation (no plug-ins or downloads)
  • configurability based on a municipality’s data and existing systems
  • scalable

Our first MapGeo sites were launched in the fall of 2011. Built on Open Source, MapGeo won an award at the 2014 FOSS4G conference. From 2011 to 2015, as MapGeo subscribers grew in numbers, we paid attention to changing expectations, feedback from MapGeo users, and to the ever changing technology environment. The more that local government staff and constituents interacted with MapGeo, the more they wanted to do. City leaders wanted performance metrics to guide their work. Citizens wanted smarter maps to understand their community and watch it change over time. And new technologies offered new possibilities to meet those requirements, while maintaining the ease of use and elegance that distinguishes MapGeo.

Technology Changes

Today, MapGeo 2.0 has a different mix of underlying technologies than when it began, but adheres to our vision of using the best of breed components for our solutions.

Google’s Maps API is mature and familiar. The company’s data – both licensed satellite and aerial imagery, Street View,  and its own street map and building vector data – offer outstanding base maps. We built MapGeo 2.0 to take advantage of the Google platform and its powerful features. AppGeo signed on as a Google Enterprise Partner in 2013.

CartoDB’s location intelligence and data visualization engine makes it possible to generate beautiful cartography and perform advanced analysis. That’s why we integrated CartoDB’s mapping and visualization into MapGeo 2.0. AppGeo became a CartoDB partner in 2015.

AppGeo staffers have always worked with multiple technology stacks. We continue to focus on finding the best solution, be it open source or proprietary, platform as a service (PAAS) or software as a service (SAAS). And, we continue to entertain mixing and matching of components as we had with the original MapGeo.

It’s Hard Work, and the Work Is Never Finished, But It Is Worth It

Building the first iteration of a platform is hard work. Enhancing a platform to meet changing demands and changing technology is more hard work. But both are possible if you work hard, pay attention, and are willing to adopt new ideas and technologies. We invite you to pay attention to what we’re doing with MapGeo 2.0. And, we are already thinking about how to make MapGeo even better.

Explore the City of Malden, MA’s MapGeo 2.0 implementation, and visit our MapGeo page.