The Internet has been exciting to all and sundry – Internet is now visible in games, telecom, tourism, transport, human interrelationships, arts, … the list seems unending , not to mention Internet GIS or Web GIS. We have been having Web GIS for long, and the interesting advancements have taken place with time. The development of GIS technology has evolved from traditional GISystems to client/server GISystems to distributed GIServices (manipulation of GIS data and maps interactively over the wired Internet or wireless telecommunication networks).

Seen in the light of developmental activities embarked upon by Malaysia and the Ninth Malaysian Plan, more and more addition of GIS functionality on Internet that requires least GIS expertise, enables local and regional governments to adopt informed decision making. Online availability of several spatial themes of environment, local government finance, donor, infrastructure, poverty, spatial planning, etc., for different administrative units as village, sub-district, district up to provincial level, would make the governments access the situation in one glance. This further makes possible for regional government to adopt measures for various needs in its area. Investment, for example, becomes a big issue in regional government circle. By serving accurate data and information, quick and correct, the government would be able to improve its local investment climate thus increasing the local economic development of the region. JUPEM’s Geoportal’s launch is step to seen in this direction.

The availability and growing usage of Open Source (OS) Web GIS software have made things easier. The ability to tweak OS Web GIS or customise it has brought down the threshold barriers, making it more and more accessible to public. Open Source Web GIS like MapServer have become quite mature, sophisticated and user friendly. Commercial software developers too are supporting this initiative. Formation of ‘MapServer Foundation’ by the MapServer Community and Autodesk last November is one of the cases. The end user application for the general public seems to be dominated by the heavy weights of the IT industry like Google, Microsoft, Yahoo etc. Perhaps this could have prompted Autodesk to move out of the web GIS domain and let the elephants fight it out.
Does this mean that Web GIS has brighter days ahead?

South East Asia Team Page 1 of 1