Identifying the Types of Tasks for a Project

Just like carpenters, map makers know the value of using the right tool for the job. The digital map maker has a variety of tools to choose from, and each tool is designed for a certain task. Many tools can do one or two tasks well, and other tasks moderately well or not at all. There are five different types of tools used in digital mapping and its related disciplines. These are general categories which often overlap.

Viewing and Mapping

Viewing and mapping data aren't necessarily the same thing. Some applications are intended only for visualizing data, while others target map production. Map production is more focused on a high-quality visual product intended for print. In the case of this book, viewing tools are used for visually gathering information about the map data—how the data is laid out, where (geographically) the data covers, comparing it to other data, etc.

Mapping tools are used to publish data to the Internet through web mapping applications or web services. They can also be used to print a paper map. The concepts of viewing and mapping can be grouped together because they both involve a graphic output/product. They tend to be the final product after the activities in the following categories are completed.


Just viewing maps or images isn't usually the final goal of a project. Certain types of analysis are often required to make data visualization more understandable or presentable. This includes data classification ...

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