The City of Prince George has released an updated version of their PGMap online Application. PGMap is what they refer to as the “On-line Geographic Information System” for the City of Prince George, British Columbia. PGMap was created and is provided free of charge to the public to use for viewing and searching property boundaries, aerial photography, legal descriptions, parcel information, verify zoning and various other City boundaries. Users can also create and print customized reports and high quality maps with PGMap. It is a very robust easy to use, user friendly interactive mapping application. PGMap provides a variety of different tools and functionality that appeal to a wide range of users from those that just need to view basic default maps to those that want to include their own GIS data and create custom maps of their own.
The mapping application uses Geocortex Essentials technology by Latitude Geographics built upon Esri’s ArcGIS Server and requires the Microsoft Silverlight Plug-in which is normally automatically installed by most modern web browsers (and available free), so if there are problems loading maps or data then one should first try upgrading their web browser or trying another. It was tested and worked well here in the following three web browsers: Internet Explorer, FireFox and Chrome.
The interactive map window is made up of two main regions; the map window panel and the information panel. The map window is like most other web mapping applications with a number of key cartographic features such as scale bar, overview map, spatial location in coordinates, and zoom controls. The information panel is located along the left hand side and allows users to perform various tasks to customize the look of the map such as selecting different map layers, viewing a legend, using search functionality. The information panel can also be hidden from the map if you are not interested in showing the various layers of your map and want to emphasize your mapping window instead.
The navigation is very user friendly, easy to use, and the data in the map window provides more detail at higher resolutions when you zoom into an area. To navigate around the mapping window with the mouse by clicking and dragging it around, the mouse wheel allows quick zooms in or out to full extent. PGMap also provides a shortcut menu that you can expose by right clicking in the map window and there are also the ability to use the keyboard to navigate around as well.
A number of base maps are provided to choose from allowing the ability for further customization. It starts off with a default road layer base but there are also aerial photography, thematic layers, and topographic backgrounds available such as hillshades and a lidar intensity layer (ground only surface model). The orthos sets are from different years (1993 up to 2010), allowing users to compare aerial photos over time for an area while incorporating other vector data sets such as property parcel or topographic information on top.
The toolbar section is yet another part of the mapping application that is hidden by default but can be exposed by clicking on the little toolbox icon (like the one in ArcGIS) and is one of the features of the application that make this better then most others. The toolbar contains a number of tabs that hold all the tools that a user needs to interact with and customize their map. The various tabs group similar functions together making it easier to use and find tools to customize the map. The “I want to …” drop down menu contains several tools that allow you to search for data as well as provide quick access to common tasks to help customize your maps.
There are tools in the toolbar that allow users to draw points, polygons and other features onto the map, incorporate their own data (shape files, CSV data) and use basic analysis functionality such as measure and plot coordinates. There are a few buttons that allow you to compare same location with other online maps such as google or bing if you want to compare what you have made with others. And when you are all done you can save the map your working on for someone else or later, or export it to use later. open your project later on and also open other people’s maps
The PGMap online mapping application for the City of Prince George is a well done online cartographic tool that can be appreciated and utilized by a wide range of users.
I recommend that you try it out for your self and hope that other cities will take a look at it and consider doing the same with their GIS data sets for the public to use. Feel free to share you feedback and experience’s using the PGMap or any other Canadian online web mapping applications.
The City of Prince George have also contributed their city data sets to the Esri Canada Community Maps program so you people also use the data on the popular ArcGIS.com online mapping system for free if they decide that they do not want to use the PGMap application but generate maps for the City of Prince George . And like most other larger Canadian cities they have also made much of their data sets available through The City of Prince George Open Data Catalogue, so people can download data and use it with their own GIS software if they prefer.
They also offer a digital street centreline base map in PDF format if all you need is to print off a street map of the area.