Vector tiles vs raster tiles – the pros and cons

Base maps provide us with the foundation to visualise and analyse data using the ArcGIS platform. But with a range of options now available, have you ever wondered if you’re using the right base map within your solution?

Technology’s rapid evolution is driving the need to utilise fast rendering tiles, which is why vector seems to be getting all the coverage these days. However, raster tiles remain very useful for many tasks and workflows.

So vector or raster? There is a place for both types of tiles. Making the right decision as to what’s best for you and your customers really comes down to your specific needs.

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Guarantee the safety and productivity of your field workers with smart mobile apps

Keeping your mobile field workers safe, informed and connected is a challenge faced by an increasing number of organisations.

Whether you’re managing teams of winemakers, nurses or engineers, being able to effectively monitor and clearly communicate with your staff is vital to ensuring employee safety, productivity and trust.

A recent report from Strategy Analytics forecasts that the global mobile workforce will reach 1.75 billion by 2020 – accounting for 42 per cent of the total workforce.

To address the challenges that will come with this growth, MapData Services has recently launched the FieldWorker Suite for ArcGIS, providing essentials tools for managing your remote teams in ArcGIS Online.

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Insurance quoting is made easy with Geoscape

What happens when someone requests a home insurance quote? They get asked lots of questions about their property.

This allows the insurer to determine the level of risk and accurately calculate an estimate.

Before confirming the price of a quote, there are various property questions insurers typically need to ask. These include:

  • Is the building single or multi-storey?
  • Does it have solar panels or a swimming pool?
  • What material is the roof constructed from?
  • Is the building built on sloping land?

Any of these factors could reduce or create insurance risk, and therefore influence the quote provided.

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‘Big Data’ no longer a big problem (part 2 of the Dynamic Tiling saga)

Following on from Digital mapping’s dynamic makeover, where I touched on the differences between a traditional tile service process, and one which is dynamic, we also discussed how the Dynamic Tile Service can render custom styles and colours on the map tiles it produces in real-time using CartoCSS.

In this post, I’ll be talking Big Data and how the Dynamic Tile Service solves the problem of viewing large datasets on maps in web browsers.

Tiling Big Data to speed up web browser performance

The recent explosion in the popularity of ‘Big Data’ has left many people scratching their heads as to how to properly view a large dataset. Web browsers are not built to download large amounts of data all in one go – so when we try to view a large dataset on a web map, it can feel like putting a square peg in a round hole.

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Little Mis-type

It doesn’t take a genius to type an address into a search field but it’s something that we all seem to get wrong! If you’re looking for a map relating to a specific address or directions as to how to get there, a simple mistype could mean you’re provided with a map of the wrong town or even the wrong state.

Knowing this is a common error, we had a need for our applications to provide meaningful responses based on user input.  We needed a system where users were presented with options after typing just a few characters into the search box – these could range from suburbs and postcodes to street addresses and locations such as stores, cafes, and other places of interest. This would not only help when errors occurred but also reduces the amount of user input needed, making it a faster, more enjoyable user experience.

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Digital mapping’s dynamic makeover (part 1 of the Dynamic Tiling saga)

Over the coming weeks I’ll be talking about a new platform we’re calling the Dynamic Tile Service which delivers our high quality map tiles – in a jiffy.

As its name suggests, the Dynamic Tile Service creates map image tiles at the time when they are requested (dynamically) – rather than returning them from a pre-built cache of tile images. This has allowed us to add some pretty nifty features including the ability to support:

  • Custom styles;
  • Custom datasets; and,
  • A detailed view of thousands of map features right in the browser – instantly.

So what does all this really mean? Well, I’ll break it down for you.

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