What is the most common mapping question we are asked, can you guess? Its how to combine in a single map: ‘Our own in house data with outside data”. A simple question, can lead to a simple answer if you know what you are doing. Let’s explore in this blog post.
New low cost web mapping solutions
We have a real estate client based in Denver. She works across the Metro area, with properties in many different counties. She has two major sets of data which are at the cornerstone of her work:
- Parcel data – ownership and valuation information
- Comps or available properties
She has her own available properties data and relies on others for parcel data. That can be the counties themselves or third party suppliers for the parcels data.
The agent came to us with a simple question:
“I spend too much time searching for parcels, plus I have no way to map my own data. Could I have one simple map which contains the parcel data for all counties in the Denver Metro area and maps my comps?”
Our real estate client has two options:
Option 1 – Do it Yourself
Let’s imagine your data is in the form of a spreadsheet, and each available property includes an address. The parcel data you have been given for free. The data for each county is contained in a zip file. What should you do next?
First you’ll need to examine your data and understand what you have. Open the zip file, what does it contain: shapefiles, Geojson etc? This might be your first hurdle, understanding your data.
Second, somehow you’ll need to find a way to publish that data so it can be used in a map. Depending on your budget and needs, there are many good GIS mapping platforms available. You can push your parcel and/or comps data to one of these platforms, which will magically generate what is called a map layer.
Third, choose a basemap. This could be a satellite image, roads map etc.
Lastly, add each of these published layers to this base map, and publish your map as a web app.
No doubt there is a learning curve to creating your own web maps. Data will be your biggest challenge. But if you are prepared to roll up your sleeves and learn, you too can become a GIS mapping expert.
Option 2 – Use an existing map viewer
New light weight mapping apps are becoming popular. They are easy to use and low in cost.
For our client we built a simple web app which includes all the parcels in the Denver Metro area, and allows her to drag-and-drop her comps onto the map. The app answers all her questions in a single click. Its a solution we’ve now made available to all.
Simple and easy, that is the future of the maps, designed to help you save time and save (make) money!
Contact us on 801.733.0723 for more information.