GIS Services Firms and GIS Consulting
The range of GIS services provided by GIS consulting firms are many and varied. Some firms are focused on desktop development, and increasingly more on building web based applications. GIS applications themselves are multi-tiered and are often referred to as a “stack”. The “stack” is comprised of a database, a geospatial server, a hook between server and database (postGIS and ArcSDE are examples) and a client; in the case of web GIS the client is a browser.
Often mapping consultants specialize on one part of the stack. With the advent of tools to build rich internet applications (RIA) such as Adobe Flex and Silverlight, increasingly more map consulting is focused on the client. The role of these rich internet applications I cover in more detail elsewhere in this blog, but they offer the possibility of building mapping applications which resemble those on the desktop. Long gone are the days when users have to wait for maps to reload. We can now build rich data filled applications, that are “tied together” with a GIS map application. Intuitive design and animation now all have a place in this new mapping paradigm, which makes for a more user friendly experience.