Geography Network Content

The Geography Network provides access to geographic content from hundreds of organizations around the world. The content ranges from "live" map services that can be viewed online to static geographic data sets that can be downloaded for use with mapping software. Below is a description of the types of content available through the Geography Network.

Content Descriptions

Map Service (Image):
A map service is a dynamic map that is published over the Internet. A Geography Network map service is published using Internet Map Server tools that support standard XML communication protocols, including ESRI's ArcIMS software ArcXML or the Open GIS Consortium Web Map Server (WMS). The content of the map image is defined by the publisher, while the user can interactive with the map to change the area of interest and viewing scale. A map service can be published as an image service or a feature service. An image service presents the results of a map request as a Web graphic (i.e., GIF, JPG, or PNG format).

Map Service (Feature):
Same as above with the following exception. A feature service presents the results of a map request as a stream of vector data that is interpreted and rendered by an intelligent client application, such as ESRI's ArcExplorer-Java Edition.

Data Service:
A data service is a map service for which you can download the geographic data being displayed. Data services enable users to perform a custom download of the digital data they are viewing to access locally with GIS software, such as ESRI's ArcExplorer-Java Edition.

A GeoService is an Internet service that performs basic geoprocessing tasks, such as geocoding or buffering. A Geography Network GeoService is published using the standard Geography Network XML communication protocol so that all requests for like services are handled the same.

A solution is an online application built using Geography Network content or other Internet hosted data. The application includes a complete user interface and set of geographic content needed to perform one or more tasks.

Map Data File:
A map data file is digital data that is intended for use with geographic information system (GIS) software. The data can be presented in vector format (e.g., shapefile, coverage, DBF) or raster format (e.g., TIF, MrSID, JPG).

Map Image File:
A map image file is a finished map that is presented in any static graphics format (e.g., GIF, TIF, BMP, MrSID). The content of the map image does not change with user requests, as opposed to a map service.

A clearinghouse is a Web site that contains references and links to a variety of free geographic data. Many clearinghouses offer geographic data for download while other sites include metadata references or hyperlinks to data sets that may be acquired through other mechanisms.

Geographic Activity:
A geographic activity is an event or set of events that are geographic in nature. This would include activities such as land surveys, geographic explorations, GIS conferences, and more. The information about these events can be presented in many forms, such as a Web site or map service.