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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Building your Foundation Map tool kit

At MapData Services we’re constantly trying to expand the number of APIs and tools through which you can access our Foundation Map. Today I’m going to talk about using the Esri ArcGIS API for JavaScript to display the MDS Foundation Map.

The best place to start is to jump right into the MapData Services API documentation where you will find useful information on functionality, security and example code. We will be using the “Tile” API endpoint, I have included a screenshot to demonstrate how to navigate to this page.

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If you can dream it, we can map it!

Today is exciting! Why I hear you say? Well today is the day we change the way in which we see our world in maps, and bring power back to the cartographer and their visions. We’ve launched our new Foundation Map.

I’ve been designing the look and feel of MapData Services’ maps now for more years than I care to remember, and I have always had to be conscious of trying to develop a style that will satisfy a broad range of requirements within a single map – juggling the requirements of many, in reality means probably only meeting the needs of a few.

In my world, the time it takes to create millions of map tile images means we’ve been a little gun-shy on offering up customised design for each client or offering, it was all (simply put), too much!

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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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