GIS solutions had it’s infancy with a paper and pencil where skilled cartographers would create paper maps and keep paper documents as tabular repositories. In the late 70s and early 80s computers and the advent of Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) revolutionized the way we accessed data. In the 90s, the client server was dominant, where only the trained few could manipulate digital files. Since the early 2000s the Web became the delivery mechanism of choice.
Presently, technology is offering more than a pretty web layout. It is beginning to take shape as 3D technology utilizing the Building Intelligence Model (BIM) thereby enabling the true visualization of objects in their relative geospatial environment. Gone are the days when a graphic element connected to a database was considered leading edge. Marmak offers a variety of desktop and web-based GIS viewers. MiTown 2.0 a comprehensive power user viewer, SimpliCity for the casual user, and Autodesk Infraworks for the desktop 3D visualization.
All viewers are based on the same technology and share tabular and graphical data. Additional layers such as traffic counts and accidents information help to produce a more comprehensive and rich solution. Tabular data is linked to maps which can be themed based on predefined values. Redlining tools, buffers, reports and predefined queries enhance the functional capability of the end user.
The future is 3D – 6D BIM where designers, developers, and builders will interact throughout the various construction stages without the need to recreate datasets. It will be possible to virtually design, visualize, simulate, and analyze projects effectively throughout the various stages.