Thursday, 20 January 2011

Where did 2010 go and whence 2011

More a reminder ot myself of the blog than a post on anything specific - there is sooooooo much to rant about that I'm just resigned to yelling at whatever media is giving me the 'news' and neglected these pages. Some say blogging has had its day but you just can't be coherent in other (anti?) social media but with say Twitter Times to curate (censor?) one's interests its evident that blogs are a significant piece of my world at least. So, more attention here this year!

This post is also not going to be the ever-popular forecast of what might happen in the GI sector, plenty of others have been down that path already! 2010 was certainly a year of (some) change in the inner workings of the GI landscape, the consequences of some of which are not as apparent as some would have hoped (remind me of those killer apps folks, you know the ones with very big social and economic benefits attached; unless you were at Location Economics when the public sector laid a few out), the absence of which others have long anticipated.

And data.gov.uk has been a context free illusion too for the most part. Reverting to type - potholes: number, size, speed of disappearance, appearance, re-appearance, type of contract, method of repair. The problems inherent in identifying 'efficiency' in pothole repair are repeated across the data domain - in the absence of policy context, contract award criteria (targets anyone - even old DC contradicts himself there in NHS speech) and so on, the only thing that can be pedalled is an agenda.

2011 promises more change for the small coterie of interested parties in this landscape with the launch of the PSMA, further changes to pricing of certain OS products, the establishment of the GI Group (no, not applying to Chair it myself), the sadly continuing recession and potential for double dip as public sector cuts hit hard in April and beyond and the adjustment in private sector business models to compensate for what was perhaps an over-dependency on public sector spend.

This is a landscape of opportunity I sense, of clear blue water, for bold decisions by suppliers and buyers alike, and to that I look forward. And perhaps this year emapsite's services will get a mention here, who knows!

Announcing the all new Plans Ahead - better print services

I haven't often used this blog to announce or extol emapsite's products and services but I am genuinely excited to be able to share that we are releasing an entirely new platform for the production of maps in printed plan form under our Plans Ahead by emapsite brand.

We have retired the old Java platform and in its place comes a solution seamlessly integrated to our existing OpenLayers based mapshop platform; amongst many other things no more plugins for users. In comes a brand new customisable plan design interface with visualisation of backdrop mapping and user overlays at its core. Plans Ahead for emapsite is available now, accessible by all to easily create clear and compelling plots and plans whether for consumer planning applications or professional public consultation.

The retired Plans Ahead was revolutionary when launched giving users the ability to view large scale mapping in any browser with re-usable OGC-compliant WMS back end, logic and web services components including dynamic pricing of often complex products. This platform found favour with consumer and professional alike and has in recent years seen spiralling numbers of users from our accreditation on the UK planningportal. However, we have always had greater ambitions for emapsite as platform for the professional map user. To accommodate feedback and suggestions from users while being easily extensible, in comes print sizes from A4 to A0 with landscape option as well and in comes revisions to text placement, movement, sizing and colouring, a revised approach to symbols from uploading through selection, placement and sizing and a genuine fully WYSIWYG print preview.

Don't just take my word for it, see an example plan.

Plans Ahead by emapsite illustrates our ambition, putting the user and their requirements at the heart of the solution, giving them the tools and the power to combine their own data with the latest Ordnance Survey detailed mapping and customisable overlays to create unique customer-branded prints and plots.

At its heart Plans Ahead opens up the opportunity, absent til now, of users being able to create printable maps with any backdrop, overlay and annotation, maps that are easily understood by the people using them in decision making processes. Plans Ahead by emapsite provides the tools and content to do this, creating truly accessible printed maps on demand.

We've even bundled in very large scale block plans for an even more streamlined service for consumers seeking printed maps for their planning applications. And yes, if ye seek, ye shall find GIS-lite type visualisation functionality including buffering, object re-sizing and rotation.

And this is solely another, albeit significant, step down this path....exciting times.