|The number and variety of GIS applications on the Internet has grown to the point that desktop GIS software is sometimes overkill. If your spatial analysis and map-making needs are not too far out of the mainstream, a web-based geographic information system may be out there to meet them. Even if you can't find an Internet application that meets your needs, building your own Internet GIS may be a better option than a desktop GIS project. The availability and user-friendliness of newer web development tools is making the "do-it-yourself" option more and more attractive.|
What Is An Internet GIS?
Many academic institutions, government agencies and NGOs host web mapping applications. Some of these applications are powerful and versatile enough to be considered real geographic information systems. For the purposes of this discussion, we consider a site that allows the public to view the host's specialized databases, manipulate layers and do some basic cartography to be an Internet GIS. It's becoming more common for Internet geographic information systems to include some serious analytical capability. Web Soil Survey, hosted by the Natural Resources Conservation Service is an example.
We don't consider a web mapping application whose primary function is data distribution to be a true Internet GIS. Such sites fall under the category of download portals and are discussed in the section on desktop GIS.
Find A Suitable Geographic Information System On The Internet
A number of useful reference guides have been published by colleagues in the geospatial technology community.
A Handbook of Web-based Environmental Data for Wisconsin's Planners (Göçmen and Van Gilder, 2010) is available in pdf format. http://urpl.wisc.edu/people/gocmen/environmentalgeospatialdata.pdf
GIS Pilot is an attempt at a comprehensive directory to web mapping sites and download portals.
Wisconsin County and Municipal Web Mapping Sites is an on-line directory of state and local
government websites. The directory is the work of David Hart at UW Sea Grant.
DNR Interactive Web Mapping Applications is an on-line directory of
web-mapping applications published by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
Internet GIS - Basemaps Plus is an on-line directory of Internet GIS applications published by Otter Geospatial. http://www.ottergeospatial.info/internet-gis/basemaps-plus
Internet GIS - Demographics is an on-line directory of Internet GIS applications published by Otter Geospatial. http://www.ottergeospatial.info/internet-gis/demographics
Internet GIS - Earth Science is an on-line directory of Internet GIS applications published by Otter Geospatial. http://www.ottergeospatial.info/internet-gis/earth-science
Internet GIS - Ecology is an on-line directory of Internet GIS applications published by Otter Geospatial. http://www.ottergeospatial.info/internet-gis/ecology
Internet GIS - Environmental Quality is an on-line directory of Internet GIS applications published by Otter Geospatial. http://www.ottergeospatial.info/internet-gis/env-quality
Internet GIS - Land Information is an on-line directory of Internet GIS applications published by Otter Geospatial. http://www.ottergeospatial.info/internet-gis/land-records
Consider Building Your Own Internet GIS
If you are unable to find a GIS on the Web that suits your needs, you don't necessarily have to fall back on desktop software. Building and publishing a task-specific Internet GIS may be a viable option.
The Biodiversity Center's DIY Web Maps webpage lists the technical options that we're aware of and provides some examples of output possible with various approaches.
Using Internet Geographic Information Systems
applications and user experience
Internet GIS - User Notes is a collection of user experiences compiled by Otter Geospatial. http://www.ottergeospatial.info/internet-gis/user notes