Using free map data for GIS

By July 14th 2011

The implementation of GIS can help you manage various parts of your organisation. For example, you can plan or display sales / franchise areas, quickly visualise customer locations and trends and draw informed conclusions for marketing, sales and business growth.

Implementing GIS has just become a whole lot cheaper with the integration of free Bing Maps into ESRI ArcGIS. First of all just to clarify matters; Bing is the new name for the Microsoft search tool. Whilst rebranding their search tool they have also rebranded their mapping engine powered by Multimap, now called Bing Maps.

ArcGIS current and future users now have the opportunity to seamlessly access Bing Maps with the new ArcGIS 9.3.1 release. Access is entirely free and includes up to 50,000 transactions per license which should be plenty for most users.

Bing Maps delivers you ready-to-use cartographically rendered and precached 2D and 3D maps delivered as a Web service including

  • Bing Maps Aerial-Worldwide orthographic aerial and satellite imagery
  • Bing Maps Roads-Street-level detail for 67 countries/regions
  • Bing Maps Hybrid-Includes imagery overlaid with roads and labels

You can then use the Bing Maps within your GIS software to overlay any information you need. Lovell Johns is a licensed ESRI reseller and can offer solutions and advice on any ArcGIS product.

Other free UK mapping options include Open Street Map (http://www.openstreetmap.org) which has a range of user generated mapping meaning it is kept up to date on a regular basis. Our website also contains a selection of other free data that you can use for GIS.

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