Information Today
Volume 18, Issue 8 September 2001
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BeyondGeo Links Interactive Maps with Database Information

Blue Marble Geographics, a Maine-based developer of geographic software products, has announced several new implementations of its recently launched BeyondGeo service (http://www.beyondgeo.com). According to the company, BeyondGeo is an Internet map-server service that enables businesses and organizations to easily and cost-effectively publish interactive database-driven maps on their Web sites.

Using BeyondGeo, the town of Carrabassett Valley, Maine, has published an interactive database-driven tax-assessment map on its Web site (http://www.carrabassettvalley.org) that allows visitors to access detailed tax-parcel information and view a citywide map of streets. Clicking on any parcel brings up the related tax-assessment database detailing lot numbers, dimensions, owner records, etc. Users can also search and find parcels by any field in the tax-assessment database and view the highlighted parcels and the associated database records on the site. The map also features intelligent, scale-sensitive labeling.

"We are very excited about our ability to publish our tax-assessment database on our Web site with an interactive map. This provides a tremendous service and value to our citizens, real estate appraisers and agents, and others throughout our community," said David Cota, Carrabassett Valley's town manager. "The fact that we didn't have to purchase any software or hardware was key for us. We were able to create this map from our existing data, with very little technical effort. There was no need for training or specialized technical GIS [geographic information systems] skills on our part. It was very intuitive."

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is using BeyondGeo to report and publicize oil spill cleanup efforts following the spill damage caused by the oil tanker Julie N. in September 2000. The Maine DEP used existing maps, aerial photographs, and the detailed reports gathered through its assessment efforts with the BeyondGeo solution to create an interactive map driven from its database of field observations. The map is located at http://janus.state.me.us/dep/rwm/JulieN/story3.htm. BeyondGeo has been used in other environmental applications as well, such as publishing detailed interactive erosion maps with integrated photographs from the field.

According to Blue Marble, the unique database-driven architecture of BeyondGeo allows map features to directly link to a corresponding database and display detailed information on that feature, which may include audio and video files. Using an intuitive, custom-built map composer, users can select from over 50 map layers (streets, water, landmarks, census data, etc.) to use separately or in combination with their own maps. Users can pan, zoom, navigate, and search anywhere within the map.

BeyondGeo was designed to support the GIS power user as well as the typical business user. BeyondGeo handles traditional dBASE IV and Excel files and supports most mapping files in their native format, such as ESRI's ArcView, MapInfo, AutoCAD, MrSID, ECW, and others. For businesses that simply have a database of locations, BeyondGeo will geocode the file for free. Blue Marble currently serves over 120,000 customers in over 60 countries.
 

Source: Blue Marble Geographics, Gardiner, ME, 207/588-2184; http://www.bluemarblegeo.com.

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