By Charlie Frye, Esri Chief Cartographer
We are transitioning from MappingCenter, where for over four years we have been sharing resources to help people create great maps with ArcGIS, to the new Mapping Resource Center. We are making this transition for several big reasons.
First, the release of ArcGIS 10.1 is a big deal with respect to sharing maps online. In particular, the web maps we can all make in ArcGIS Online are the future. They are how the value and the useful information held within GISs everywhere will reach many audiences. Our initial efforts on the new Mapping Resource Center will focus on web maps. We feel it is imperative to support ArcGIS users who are working to leverage the Web to deliver the value of their GIS to their customers.
Second, We learned a great deal about what we now call resource centers from the MappingCenter, and are applying much of the good, along with some new ideas in an ArcGIS system-wide collection of resource centers.
Third, the existing MappingCenter site is now old. When we started it, we adapted a number of technologies in inventive ways; those that did not always prove to be trends, so the timing is good for us to get aligned with the trends in publishing resources online.
The new Mapping Resource Center will initially focus on how to create and deliver useful ArcGIS web maps and apps. We realize that statement is a bit charged, but we feel justified. The potential to reach more people with the value of GIS is our incentive. Online maps from ArcGIS are at last capable of doing so much more, for so many more people. Better decisions through better information are why I chose GIS as my career direction. Printed maps are still needed, still work just as well, and they continue to be a part of Esri’s ongoing new development agenda. We have more ways to share maps and GIS content than ever before, and we are excited by the prospects that web maps and apps offer our customers and their customers.
Further, great cartography and design are the fundamental lifeblood of intelligent information products. Much of the content, like the resources, maps, and cartographic effects from the MappingCenter website will be moved to the new Mapping Resource Center in the coming months. In the meantime those resources will continue to exist and be available where they are now on the MappingCenter website.
Are we moving all of the existing MappingCenter content? No, some of that content is anchored in time or for older software versions. MappingCenter was about supporting ArcGIS users with content about how to most effectively use the current release of ArcGIS. Thus our mission is to eventually include everything that was on MappingCenter that applies to using the current version of ArcGIS.
What’s in this new Mapping Resource Center for you? First, and foremost, your ability to interact with us and each other is enhanced. We have upgraded our blogging software and our forum technology. We are also integrated with ArcGIS.com, which also provides some additional means to interact. One of the key words that drove our design of the new resource centers was “community”, and this new Mapping Resource Center is designed to be a basis to interact for everyone making useful information products, intelligent online maps, and maps that require the Print button in order for you to share or work with them.
On behalf of the entire Mapping Resources Team at Esri we hope you find the new Mapping Resource Center useful and worth visiting frequently.