Have you ever wondered the differences between the main GIS/Map providers? We have too. So we asked 6 of the largest providers 6 questions to help us better understand. We will be rolling out the answers we received in a series of blog posts. This is the third in the series and covers our next topic: in combination.

Please note, the answers provided in this blog series is text supplied by each of the providers. We have not edited any of this text. We will in the last post of the series write a summary of the information provided.

Question 3: Does your offering extend or compliment other GIS or mapping solution? If yes, please elaborate?

Pitney Bowes

We’ve engineered our products to complement our suite of software solutions, not just in geospatial information but in a complete workflow including data quality, data validation, address management and verification as well as geocoding and mapping. This end-to-end workflow supports our clients that need master data management and location analytics. We can now integrate with big data solutions such as Apache Hadoop and Spark, thus extending our capabilities to geospatial enable business applications that now capture large amounts of data from financial transactions and social media, for example.

Carto

It’s complimentary to GIS and mapping solutions. It extends GIS by focusing on business analytics for business users. Whereas GIS is typically used by GIS specialists answering geography-centric questions, CARTO performs spatial analysis, including what-if, multi-layer combinations and specialized spatial algorithms.

Boundless

The Boundless open GIS platform most certainly complements other GIS / mapping solutions.  Powered by industry leading open source geospatial technologies, the Boundless platform is designed to be interoperable with other IT and GIS technologies, from the database through the web application tier, to mobile solutions.

Esri

Yes of course. Cooperation and collaboration are one of the key ideas behind modern web and cloud computing. And all of GIS has a very significant role to play here. This certainly includes ArcGIS, which is founded on these ideals as key system principles.

At Esri, we work hard to enable ArcGIS to be open and accessible for those that want to create interfaces or extend it. For example, ArcGIS includes capabilities for users to create their own Open Data Portal.

Modern GIS has always been about participation, sharing, and collaboration. Since the early days in GIS, people realized that to be successful they would need data and technical capabilities from other sources beyond their immediate workgroups and organizations. People quickly recognized the need for data sharing and technology integration. Open GIS and data sharing gained traction early and quite rapidly across the GIS community, and continue to be a critical aspect in GIS implementation. Modern web and cloud computing have accelerated what’s possible in collaborative computing environments, and ArcGIS is built to play a key role in this.

The ArcGIS user community has always been about collaborative and open engagement with all kinds of users.

GIS is also for public engagement. People everywhere are starting to engage with GIS. They have been using maps as consumers, and now they are interested in applying them at work and in their community relationships. Often this involves communicating with the public by telling stories using maps. More and more, members of the public are providing input and collecting their own data for GIS organizations and the public good. This makes for better civic engagement at multiple levels. ArcGIS includes a Hub for Community Engagement (for example, see the City of Los Angeles GeoHub).

These people may not call what they do “GIS”, but today’s cloud platforms and information accessibility through apps provides a strong community-built platform for geospatial integration. Thousands of organizations build on and extend ArcGIS. Just as many more integrate their systems with ArcGIS.

It’s very clear to us that GIS is for communities, and we enable ArcGIS to extend the reach of GIS and to integrate GIS with other modern web technologies in support of all kinds of broad GIS adoption and exploitation.

GIS Cloud

Our offering both extends and complements other GIS/mapping solutions.

The biggest problem for GIS departments that use heavy GIS systems is having all their data and work stored locally in locked data silos. To share their maps and data, they often print paper maps and hand them out to other departments and people in the field who often struggle with the provided solution. This is where GIS Cloud jumps in because it offers you to easily transfer your data from, now unlocked, data silos and create digital maps that can be consumed on any device. The best example is our Publisher for ArcMap that allows you to publish your maps from ArcMap to GIS Cloud in just one click.

Mapbox

Mapbox is designed to integrate with other data sources, apps and platforms. We provide a super fast visualization layer. Low level pieces of our offering have been pulled into and used in other stacks. Vector tiles is one good example.

Mango

We are focused on the publication and sharing of maps and data rather than data sourcing and preparation.

We work a lot with QGIS and have many tutorials and video resources that guide  users through step by step workflows that start on the desktop GIS and end with a fully feature web map or map portal available in the cloud via Mango.

We also offer Dropbox integration that allows users to make edits on the Desktop of data stored within a Dropbox folder on their computer and have those updates automatically pushed to Mango in order to update their web maps.

Read the next article in the series:

GIS/Map Providers Compared 4: Pricing?

Author: Matt Sheehan

Matt Sheehan is a Principal at WebMapSolutions. Matt evangelizes GIS and location intelligence around the world through keynotes, articles, tweets and his books. Follow him on Twitter:

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