Incorporating maps in web pages has been made even easier with the launch of a new version of GeoConcept Internet Server, already a key resource from MapMechanics for people who need to deliver browser-based mapping on the internet or on corporate intranets.
With the new version 4.0 of GeoConcept Internet Server (GCIS), maps are delivered to browsers faster, users can pan around the maps more quickly, the web server can deliver map-based pages to far more users at the same time, and interactive mapping can be made more seamless for users, integrating more completely with browsers and web applications.
GCIS is based on GeoConcept, one of the world’s leading applications for map production and geographic analysis and reporting, which is supplied and supported in the UK by MapMechanics. GCIS enables many of the powerful map generation and delivery tools of GeoConcept to be incorporated seamlessly in web sites.
When users encounter online maps, whether just "find us" maps or extensive bespoke mapping (for instance, local authority infrastructure maps), often it is GCIS that is working behind the scenes to generate the maps "on the fly" and embed them in the web pages.
GCIS 4.0 takes these processes a major step forward. A key feature is High Traffic Client – a technical term for the system’s ability to "second-guess" each user’s likely requirements. For instance, as soon as a map "tile" (rectangle) is served via a web page, GCIS generates tiles of the adjacent areas, so that these are ready for delivery if the user pans sideways or up and down. Initial tiles are delivered to the browser immediately to minimise panning delay. Map tiles are also stored on the web server so that they do not have to be regenerated.
In the words of Chris Greenwood, MapMechanics’ managing director: "The server can handle up to twenty times more users than a system without this feature, and users benefit from more snappy, responsive pages and a more seamless browsing experience."
GCIS is often used not just to present maps to users, but also to enable users to interact and manipulate maps via their web browser. In effect, it allows distributed mapping within an organisation or on the web without the need for a desktop mapping application on each computer.
To enhance this functionality, GCIS 4.0 can be used to deliver a new and more streamlined interface to users, designed for easy incorporation in browser-based applications. GCIS 4.0 is also designed for easy integration with specific web browsers such as Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari and Google Chrome.
The Enterprise version of GCIS 4.0 includes all the above features of the Standard version, and also introduces Smart Routing, a GeoConcept technology that brings significant improvements in isochrone (travel time and distance) calculation. Users can set up the travel time and distance parameters more quickly, and make dynamic amendments to reflect up-to-the minute traffic changes. It is also quicker to perform accurate routing calculations.
Reflecting the current interest in location-based services, the Enterprise version of GCIS now features enhanced proximity searching, making it possible for users to "search around" and "search along" a given location or route for any points meeting given criteria. The system uses .Net technology to allow this searching to be integrated smoothly with a broader information technology structure, using Web Services to pull in relevant data easily from external sources.
Another useful new feature is reverse geocoding, which allows users to determine a street location on the basis of the appropriate x and y coordinates. This is particularly useful in applications that involve tracking vehicle location by means of coordinates captured from a GPS device.
MapMechanics can supply development kits to accompany GeoConcept Internet Server 4.0, enabling software engineers to create fully featured advanced GIS web mapping applications.