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We increasingly live in a modular world. Airplanes, computers, car engines, all are now made up of series of discrete elements or modules. In the software world modular apps have also become increasingly more popular. So what are the advantages of taking a modular approach? Simplicity, flexibility and affordability.

Let’s dig deeper.

Why Choose Modular Custom Map Apps?

Today’s Complex and Inflexible Apps

Mapping and GIS technology has come a long way over the last few years. We’ve moved towards a world of geospatial platforms. As we show in the diagram below, that means a single source for most of your mapping and GIS needs. All services, and a wealth of mapping apps, are bundled together in one platform. Buy a platform subscription and enter a (proprietary) GIS and mapping universe.

But a mapping platform subscription brings advantages and disadvantages. Subscribers have a one-stop shop for most of their mapping needs. That includes tools for data preparation, data publishing, map creation, access to geospatial services and deeper integrations with other platforms.

As a custom map development company our particular focus is on apps. That is how users access and use a mapping or GIS platform; through mobile and web map apps. Today we see two types of map apps dominating:

  • Complex and expensive apps
  • Focused and inflexible apps

In this first category, we still see many legacy ‘custom’ app frameworks, and old style map viewers. Expensive, tool filled map apps. Many are confusing to use and difficult to modify.

Most of today’s proprietary GIS and mapping platforms come with an increasing number of so called commercial off the shelf apps (COTS). These are pre-built apps designed with a single purpose in mind: data collection, navigation etc. These focused apps can be a great way to get started working with a mapping platform, but are generic and hard or impossible to adjust or customize. Put a different way; you get what you get.

In summary, many of today’s mapping apps are a mixture of complex, expensive, and inflexible.

The Advantages of Modular Map Apps

Simple, flexible and affordable, that is often how we describe light-weight modular mapping apps. This is a move away from large, complex, unwieldy solutions to light and flexible.

Take a look at the image below. This is an old style web map app.

Notice the cluttered interface. The multitude of buttons and tools. Below is the same web app opened on a smartphone:

As you can see, this would be very hard to use.

In contrast, below is a module-based web app:

Notice the clean interface. A focused group of widgets or modules are included in the left side panel, which can be opened or closed. This is a focused and configurable group of tools. Below is the same app being used on a smartphone:

Again it is clean, simple and easy to use.

Light-Weight Modular Custom Map Apps are the Future

There is little doubt that modularity is the future of web and mobile map apps. And though many organizations still use old style inflexible map apps, these will gradually be replaced. Simple, flexible apps which are easy to customize and affordable bring many benefits. This modular approach allows developers like WebMapSolutions to build customizable maps for clients which fit exact requirements. Solutions which can be configured, adjusted and extended.

There is a huge new wave of interest and demand for mapping and GIS technology. Much focus is on web and mobile map apps. That has led to advances in how to design and build map apps. Modularity is the new paradigm, that means simplicity, flexibility and affordability.

Contact us for more information on light-weight modular custom map apps on 801.733.0723.

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Author: Staff Writer

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