UK mapping products comparison continued…
UkMap works on a 3 year cycle of updates. Retail use is surveyed every 12 months.
There are updates issued by the Ordnance Survey every 6 weeks for MasterMap, which means according to the OS, that the data is never more than 6 months out of date.
In this context functionality means the ease of utilising the data on a project.
UK map is a new product that not all users will be familiar with. The data structure is complex, based on primarily 5 fields from which the data classification of land use can be symbolized. There are also 2 other fields which allow the symbolizing of Points of Interest and Retail Classification. The complex feature coding system allows for multi-level classification of data, breaking land uses down into sub-classes The land use classification requires a degree of work being able to employ these classifications with symbolizing the data, but once done once can be applied to future versions of UKMap data.
MasterMap is an established product so will be easily recognisable to users as will the structure of the data. The data structure is relatively simple, based on primarily 2 fields from which the data classification of land use can be symbolized. This makes the data easy to use straight away but limits the actual number of classifications and levels of classification available.
The delivery format of UKMap is in Industry standard GIS file formats so are easily read into most GIS packages, which will also make the receiving of updates and integration into the existing dataset easier.
The delivery format of OS MasterMap is GZ this is a zipped GML dataset (Geographic Markup Language), this is an open source format but is not easily opened in any of the major GIS packages. This means that a conversion process is required before it can be brought into a GIS or Graphics package.
Overall Advantages of using GIS
The last point brings me to another observation, I am obviously biased but I can’t understand as to why GIS is not utilised by the some of the wayfinding industry. The advantages to the creation of base maps are numerous;
Symbolise by Attribute: By using the products above you are able to apply a palette of colours to the map based on the land use, rather than the selecting of individual parcels and applying a shading to them. Line weights, hatching density etc. can be applied based on the attributes of the data.
More available data: GIS is a convergent technology, by which I mean that it is able to read multiple file spatial formats, including, dxf, dwg, dgn, kml/kmz (Google Earth) to name a few non-GIS formats. There are an amazing range of datasets that are available in GIS, rangimg from base mapping at a huge range of scales, socio-economic, demographic, and environmental datasets.
Export to Illustrator: Once the data has been set up and layered within GIS it can be exported straight out .ai format.
GIS is often thought of as an expensive option and the mainstream well known packages ArcGIS and MapInfo are pricey but there are many other cheaper options. QGIS is free, Manifold GIS is available for around £250 depending n the exchange rate. Both are able to do the simple tasks and match the expensive product options. Manifold is a personal favourite of mine and I often use it in preference over ArcGIS and MapInfo.
Damien is a GIS professional who has recently begun to move into a more technological consultancy role. His background is a BSc in physical geography and an MSc in Land Information Management and Mapping. He has worked in many sectors, including Urban Design, Transport, Environment, Demographics and Flood Modelling. Through this work he has been granted fellowships with the British Cartographic Society and the Royal Geographic Society and has also been chartered by the latter. He has his own blog on all things geospatial where he collates his thoughts, some coherent some less less so (his own words). Visit http://geospatialandtechnology.blogspot.com/ for more information.