Web Based Gis Softwares Computer Science Essay

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Due to the improved performance of computer systems, Geographical information systems are becoming more usual. As the time passes web-based GIS are becoming more and more important. Some of the GIS software's are available free of cost also. Most information available in the world is available on the internet. World Wide Web (www) is a useful tool for gathering and manipulating the useful data and information. It is secure also we only share that information which we want to share and the remaining will be hidden from the others. In this paper, we are elaborating the web-based GIS software tools that are used in the development of a complete and complex real-life GIS application in the analysis, design and implementation. We describe characteristics of these web-based GIS software tools helpful to understand better and to develop different type of GIS based application software's.

Keyword: Computer system, Web-based GIS, World Wide Web, Information, Software, Application.


Most of all information has a geographic context and the information that exists is placed on map. GIS is a computer based system design to capture, to store, to integrate, to analyse and to display the data from geographic perspective [1]. Moreover a GIS provide tools to develop models create scenario and ultimately provides solution for various environmental socio economics that exists.

There are many reasons we use GIS, but most are based on a societal push, our need to more effectively and efficiently use our resources, and a technological pull, our interest in applying new tools to previously unsolved problems. GIS as a technology is based on geographic information science, and is supported by the disciplines of geography, surveying, engineering, space science, computer science, cartography, statistics, and a number of others.

Software for GIS is unique in their ability to manipulate coordinates and associated attribute data. A number of software tools and packages are available to help us to develop GIS. In the simplest terms, GIS is the merging of cartography, statistical analysis, and database technology [6]. GIS are helping to creates revolutionary new applications and possibilities. With the continuous improvement in the technology the future of GIS looks brighter now than ever before.

A geographic information system (GIS) is a system designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage and present all types of geographically referenced data.

GIS is a computer based set of tools for the study, analysis and visualization of maps/attributes and events through the integration of various sources of data on the basis of a common geography [2].GIS provides the necessary set of tools required for gaining appropriate insights into the places and processes that arrives our environment, society and economy.

GIS combines layers of information about places to give better understanding of that place. The layers of information are combined depends on purposes e.g. finding the best location for a new store, analyzing environment damages, viewing similar crimes in a city to detect a pattern and so on.

Objectives of GIS

To provide efficient ways for distributing and handling data.

To maximize the efficiency of decision making and planning.

To remove of redundant database to minimize duplication.

Complex analysis/queries involving geographical reference data to generate new information.

To provide the capability for integrating information from many sources.

To update data quickly and cheaply.

Components of GIS

Geographical Information System has mainly five key components [7].

Computer Hardware Module

Central processing unit is the main H/W component of GIS. This is connected to a disk drive storage unit that provides space for storing data and programs.

Computer Software Module

The GIS software includes the programs and the user interface to drive the hardware. Good GIS software requires user friendliness, functionalities, compatibilities, updatability, documentation, cost effectiveness.


The most important component of a GIS is Data. The data can be collected in house, compiled to custom specifications and requirements, or purchased from a commercial data provider.


Without people, GIS technology has limited value. The people manage and develop plans for applying it to real world problems. GIS users may be technical specialists to design and maintain the system and those who use it to perform their daily work.


Methods are the set of procedures and rules to implement plans and business activities in GIS.

Major GIS Applications

GIS has many applications and one can say "when there is a map, there can be application of GIS".

GIS may be used in the following areas :

a) Archaeology

- Remote Sensing

- Public Utility Management

- Precision Agriculture

- Emergency Management

- Navigation

b) Cartography

- Natural Resource Management

- Photogrammetric

- Environmental Contamination

- Aerial Video

c) Geography

- Land Surveying

- Urban Planning

- Landscape Architecture

- Localized Search Engines.

GIS Software Functions

GIS software provides the tools to manage, analyze, and effectively display and disseminate spatial data and spatial information. GIS software provides the specific tools to view and edit data, manipulate them, to generate and extract the information we require, and to produce the materials to communicate the information we have developed [3] [16].

Functions commonly provided by GIS software:

a) Data entry

- Manual coordinate capture

- attributes capture

- Digital coordinate capture

- Data import

b) Editing

- Manual point, line and area feature editing

- Manual attributes editing

- Automated error detection and editing

c) Data management

- Copy, subset, merge data

- Versioning

- Data registration and projection

- Summarization, data reduction

- Documentation

d) Analysis

- Spatial query

- attribute query

- Interpolation

- Connectivity

- Proximity and adjacency

- buffering

- Terrain analysis

- Boundary dissolve

- Spatial data overlay

- moving window analyses

- map algebra

e) Output

- map design and layout

- Hardcopy map printing

- Digital graphic production

- export format generation

- Metadata output

- Digital map serving

Web-based GIS

Web-based GIS is becoming more and more important as time passes. The World-Wide-Web (WWW) is a useful tool for the gathering and manipulation. Most information that is available in the world is now available over the Internet [9]. There is no need to buy any expensive software packages for manipulating the data needed for GIS.

Web-based GIS, software applications are available with the advent of Java based programming. Some required no special software but some of programs required to buy and others are require to plug-ins to use capabilities of the web browsers. Because of these advancements, people are getting information easily.

Another useful facet of using web-based GIS is that the people giving the information are completely in charge of the amount of information made available to the public. If there were privacy issues surrounding certain bit of information, don't make it accessible to others [18].

Internet connections getting faster and faster, the amount of information that can be transferred over the Internet is staggering. Web-based GIS software's are given below.

1. Map Server

MapServer is an Open Source geographic data rendering engine written in C. It was originally developed by the University of Minnesota (UMN) ForNet project in cooperation with NASA, and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MNDNR). Beyond browsing GIS data, MapServer allows you create "geographic image maps", that is, maps that can direct users to content [10]. For example, the Minnesota DNR Recreation Compass provides users with more than 10,000 web pages, reports and maps via a single application. The same application serves as a "map engine" for other portions of the site, providing spatial context where needed [17].

Later it was hosted by the TerraSIP project, a NASA sponsored project between the UMN and a consortium of land management interests.


Scale dependent feature drawing and application execution

Feature labelling including label collision mediation

Fully customizable, template driven output

TrueType fonts

Map element automation (scalebar, reference map, and legend)

Thematic mapping using logical- or regular expression-based classes.

Import/Export: Data formats supported by Map


raster and vector data formats

TIFF/GeoTIFF, EPPL7, and many others

via GDAL.

Platform: Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, Solaris.

2. GISNET Server

GISNET was established in July 2003 with its main aim being consulting in the GIS Industry. The company has been in operation since and has completed various GIS projects under the guidance of Founding Member, Prenesha Pillay .


GISNET offers a variety of effective GIS solutions across various disciplines; Mining and Exploration, Environmental Studies, Disaster Risk Analysis and Hydrological Studies. Production GIS, GIS Project Management, GIS/User Analysis, GIS Data Audits and Data Management, GIS Training/Lecturing, and the Supply of Skilled GIS Personnel to Client Sites are the main focus areas of GISNET [11]. Technical GIS skills, include spatial and raster data processing and manipulation, spatial modelling; including hydrological modelling, data projections, spatial data quality control and data verification, structuring of spatial databases, digitizing, data-capturing, and image-georeferencing. 

The preferred software of GISNET is the ESRI products, namely ARCGIS including Spatial Analyst, 3D Analyst, and Network Analyst. Develop high-performance mapping software with GIS.NET. Supports desktops, PocketPC, Tablet PC, Smartphone, and Windows Mobile! Download a free 60-day trial now and see just how fast GIS.NET can get your location-based software to market! GIS.NET is loaded with features, including: Full support for PocketPC, Windows, Smartphone and Windows Mobile!Full support for EPSG-based coordinate conversions.

Platform: Windows

3. PlanetGIS

PlanetGIS is the easiest GIS to learn and use and was designed to enable anyone to start and manage a GIS project from the ground up. All stages from data capture, data manipulation through thematic mapping to map production are simple and efficient [12]. Development on PlanetGIS started in 1993 and the software has been in extensive use by GIS practitioners since 1994.


Fast, compact and friendly, cost effective, productive

PlanetGIS can connect to file-based databases (DBase, Access, ODBC) and SQL servers (MySQL, PostgreSQL, Firebird, SQLite, Oracle, SQL server, Informix, Sybase, Interbase).

It is available in many editions(basic, professional, enterprise, web server)

Manageability of extremely large vector and raster datasets.

Import/Export: Data formats supported by


Vector data formats

ESRI ArcView shape files (.SHP), MapInfo MID/MIF, AutoDesk DXF, ESRI ArcInfo Export files (.E00), MicroStation DGN, MapGuide SDL and ReGIS Feature files (.FEA). PlanetGIS can also export GIS data to all of these formats except .E00 and .DGN.

Raster image formats

Import JPEG and TIFF/GeoTIFF images into a native super-fast indexed image format and will utilize World files if available. MrSID and ECW images will be displayed directly. PlanetGIS can also create JPEG and GeoTIFF files.

Platforms: Windows 2000/XP/2003/Vista, and there are plans to port Planet to Linux, 'Mac, .NET and portable platforms.

4. AltaMap Server

AltaMap Server is a Web-based GIS tool. It is used for publishing maps on the Internet's and provides powerful visualization, spatial analysis and geoprocessing features [13]. AltaMap server can give you the functionality you need to deliver GIS functionality though a web browser.

With Internet GIS we can access, employees in call centers, mobile workers, and management can access geographic data for faster, smarter, and more efficient decisions. Ensure security of sensitive business information by self hosting mapping on self hosted servers.


GPS Navigation System and Mapping Server: We can search a large database of business listings, either by category, by name, or both, then immediately call the listed phone number or navigate to that location.

GPS Tracking and Driver Efficiency: The Mobium GPS Fleet Tracking System ensures that you always know where your fleet is and provides route guidance to guarantee that your fleet gets to where it needs to go [15].

GIS- Geographical Information Systems: GeoMicro's AltaMap is an integrated collection of software products, including a mapping server, for building a GIS solution that is right for your business.

Multithread support

automatic resource pooling

Fast in process communications with HTTP server.

Lower cost of ownership through centrally managed GIS applications.

Import/Export: Data formats supported by AltaMap Server

Vector data sources

Shape, TAB, MIF, Oracle relational data model (optional).

Raster data sources

BMP, JPEG, GIF, BIL, LAN, TIFF, MrSID, Export to PNG, JPEG, and GIF (optional)

Platform: AltaMap Location Based Service (LBS)

5. GeoServer

GeoServer is an open source software server written in Java that allows users to share and edit geospatial data. Designed for interoperability, it publishes data from any major spatial data source using open standards [8].

GeoServer is developed, tested, and supported by a diverse group of individuals and organizations from around the world.

GeoServer is the reference implementation of the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Web Feature Service (WFS) and Web Coverage Service (WCS) standards, as well as a high performance certified compliant Web Map Service (WMS) [14]. GeoServer forms a core component of the Geospatial Web.


Easy to use web-based configuration tool - no need to touch long, complicated config files.

Excellent [Google Earth Support], including advanced features like super overlays (vector and raster), 2.5D extrudes, Time, advanced template options for pop-ups and titles, and styling with SLD.

Integration with [GeoWebCache], for accelerated tile mapping (like on Openlayers or Google Maps)

Integrated OpenLayers as a default ajax viewer and preview engine.

Performance, on par with the fastest open source mapping servers, and we are quite confident that we do faster rendering than any major proprietary server. See the post on the geoserver blog for more info.

Full SLD support, the open standard to define map styles, including both user defined (POST and GET) and used natively in styling configuration.

Java (J2EE) servlet-based, can run in any servlet container. This means we easily support 64-bit architectures and advanced multi-threading capabilities.

Easy to write new data formats with GeoTools DataStore interfaces and helper classes, making GeoServer the standards based interface to legacy data.

[Documentation] that details everything in easy to understand language.

Commercial grade installation, support, customization and improvements available from an eco-system of companies, non-profits, and consulting individuals.

Import/Export: Data formats supported by GeoServer

Raster and vector data formats

PostGIS, Oracle Spatial, ArcSDE, DB2, MySQL, Shapefiles, GeoTIFF, GTOPO30, ECW, MrSID, JPEG2000

Platform: GNU/Linux, MS-Windows, Mac OS X, POSIX .


GIS software's are only one of its kinds in their ability to manipulate coordinates and associated attribute data. To develop GIS a number of software tools and packages are available.

We think that the best GIS software is the one that everybody can use easily. Not much learning curve required for it. If you have a little background in GIS then the product should be usable immediately to you.

According to our opinion AltaMap Server and GeoServer is better for Web Based GIS software. For security point of view AltaMap Server is the best. Web-based GIS software's has its own characteristic to develop GIS applications, we choose according to our needs and requirements. We should also focus on the security and use secure web-based GIS Software's to develop GIS applications.