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Posted on December 2nd, 2014

Is an Offline Basemap Right for Your Business?

During my brief four years in the geospatial industry, the hot topic always seems to be streaming or web services. Imagery-related services have been around for quite a while and the technology keeps getting better, not to mention that the ability to update imagery within a service on an almost daily basis, it’s pretty incredible. To give you an idea of how long this type of product has been around, Google Earth was first introduced in 2005, nearly 10 years ago, can you believe it?!

These types of services are extremely easy to get up and running; for instance, I was on a demo today and the goal was to show a prospect how to consume a WMS in their OGC-compliant software. The entire process took about 2 minutes, so to say it’s easy to use is an understatement. So far it sounds like the perfect type of basemap: easy to set up, updated, high resolution and no storage costs, it’s all relative (see our article on DigitalGlobe’s Global Basemap).

A storage facility site in Duba, Saudi Arabia imaged on December 19, 2010 by the 50-cm color satellite, WorldView-2. (Image Courtesy: DigitalGlobe)

And while it may seem like the perfect product or service, it doesn’t meet the requirements of some of our clients. For example, a streaming service may not work if you’re creating a VizSim type of application, or if you need to load high-resolution offline imagery onto an appliance and behind a firewall for security purposes. These are just two applications for an offline high-res countrywide basemap, there are countless others. I know of clients who have their reservations about loading sensitive exploration or asset points onto an online platform, I say it depends on the platform. And on the other hand, I have my reservations about shopping at Target or Home Depot because their systems can be hacked into and my information compromised, but that’s neither here nor there. Two reissued credit cards later and we still shop at both places.

As technology progresses with online basemaps so does the technology to create countrywide ortho-mosaics with next to no cloud cover. I didn’t want to provide the specifications or a long list of what countries are available because formats, tile sizes, projections, datums, etc can be ordered based on your data needs. With close to 50 countrywide, offline 50-cm basemaps currently on the shelf, we may just have the right data for that specific, secure application your business demands. Another great feature of purchasing offline (besides security) is the perpetual license, no more 12 month subscriptions or renewals.

To find out which option is best for you or to see a list of available countries, please feel free to reach out to me so we can discuss your project.

Robert O’Munneke
Chief of Sales
(703) 304-6425

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