Resolving the Challenges Facing National Mapping Organizations

To address private sector competition, organizations need a strong platform to support customer needs. 
While national map, chart, and data production (MAPS) organizations have long been recognized as the source of authoritative maps and mapping data, they are currently struggling to retain that unique position and, consequently, their funding, due to increased competition from the private sector.
Commercial map providers not only have the ability to quickly collect mapping data but also to package and distribute it in a way that resonates with businesses and government agencies. Because these commercial map providers are able to bring together data and services and deliver them on the Internet and in mobile environments, customers expect the same capabilities from their national MAPS organizations. MAPS organizations must move from solely being data providers to integrating and delivering information products including maps, data, web services, and apps, using a common platform delivered through Web GIS.
Meeting Customer Needs
MAPS CEOs tell us they must ensure that their organizations are providing high-quality authoritative geospatial information products that are relevant to their customers’ needs. They must understand and meet evolving customers’ expectations for information products to support timely and evidence-based decision making. These products must be delivered in focused applications to their web and mobile devices. Providing these information products on demand in real time to their customers and their country’s national geographic information system (GIS) or spatial data infrastructure (SDI) will make MAPS organizations more relevant in addressing national issues. More pragmatically, it will help them maintain their funding—as many mapping organizations have had their budgets cut by 15 to 30 percent in each of the last two years. MAPS organizations require an enterprise platform that supports Web GIS and will allow them to update their workflows and procedures to cost-effectively provide the information products needed to support better decision making on national issues.
A Platform for Productivity
Esri’s ArcGIS platform is helping MAPS organizations address their challenges in numerous ways. One way is by using the same platform for collecting, managing, producing, and sharing their mapping information products to increase their productivity and quickly share them through Web GIS.
The national mapping agency in Switzerland, swisstopo, has taken advantage of the integrated capabilities of the ArcGIS platform to collect, edit, and manage its map data to produce the digital data and map products required by its customers. ArcGIS maintains the links between the GIS data captured photogrammetrically and the agency’s cartographic products. This eliminates the need to move data between different software applications, streamlines workflows, and reduces staff training time.

swisstopo‘s TOPGIS successfully marries GIS and digital photogrammetry.
In the Netherlands, the national mapping agency Dutch Kadaster uses ArcGIS to produce its topographic data and maps. It has reduced its staffing needs by using scripts and Esri’s ArcGIS to completely automate its production processes. It used 72 geoprocessing tools inside 400 models to automatically generalize and generate its 1:50,000-scale map production from its 1:10,000-scale Top10NL geodatabase. ArcGIS was configured to do this with no customization. Using ArcGIS, Dutch Kadaster realized a 5,000 percent savings in the time required by traditional cartographic methods for map production, reducing it from years to weeks.
Dutch Kadaster configured ArcGIS to automate the generalization of its 1:50,000-scale maps.

Evolving Together

The goal of MAPS organizations is to deliver real-time information as customers expect it: authoritative content on any device, anywhere, at any time. Using the ArcGIS platform allows them to do this by continuing to evolve along with information technology and take advantage of the resultant efficiencies.

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