Friday, September 21, 2007

Web Data Subscriptions: Simply Map & Geolytics On-Line

Our data users are so loving these new online data subscription options available through products such as the Geolytics On-Line Data & Maps and Simply Map. They can hop online, on or off campus, and access the data they need. These products make accessing demographic and business data as accessible as finding journal articles.

I had two faculty this past week alone make an effort to let me know how pleased they are that they and their students can access such data so easily online. Previously, we purchased such datasets via CD or downloadable files. Geolytics products were traditionally distributed as CDs to install on stand-alone PCs. Acquisition departments do not enjoy purchasing electronic monographs such as these, and then users needed to come into the library to access this data when the majority of our electronic holdings are accessible from off-campus. We have also been purchasing Applied Geographic Solutions (AGS) marketing data on the block group level from Spatial Insights, but this data was also distributed on CD for a single user. We worked out a solution where we received permission from Geolytics and AGS to serve the CD data using Citrix (and we continue to do so), but this requires the client to install an application. While the installation is small and free, it imposes numerous barriers that are not present for the majority of the library's other databases. Also, students do not normally have permissions to install software in campus labs.

Now, not only can users access their data so easily via the web, but they have choices to generate and download customized maps, delimited files, and even shapefiles containing their selected attributes. Geolytics CDs have always had this ability, but as of this summer, Simply Map now also provides the ability to generate and download shapefiles.

Seems like every month or so, Geolytics sends an email about another title they now provide via the web, and I discussed over the summer with the folks over at Geographic Research, Inc. about plans they have to build addons to their base Simply Map package. I hope they compete viciously with each other. That's the best!

Bottom line is the users are very happy, and when they actually take the time to thank me then that makes me happy as well...

By the way, I am sitting all alone here by myself during my first couple hours providing GIS Research Assistance in SL. Sure, it gives me a chance to write up this post, but someone come over and chat a bit, yeah?

4 comments:

Maps digitization said...

Thanks for sharing..
regards
SBL
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