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What it is
GeoCommons is a free geospatial data storage, visualization, and analysis tool made by GeoIQ, Inc. The commercial version, with enhanced features, is known as GeoIQ Enterprise.
Create a free account (big orange link on home page) to upload your data or to create maps, but anyone can search and download data.
Use GeoCommons to:
- search for free geospatial data.
- upload, store, and share your own spatial data.
- visualize spatial data to make customized maps; share or download completed maps.
- perform some common analysis functions (merge datasets; dissolve polygon features; clip one geographic dataset by another; and more).
GeoCommons consists of two main components:
- GeoCommons Finder!: The data warehouse, allowing anyone to contribute and share open data, easily build shareable maps, and collaborate with others.
- GeoCommons Maker!: The geospatial tools that provide data management, visualization, and analysis capabilities in a collaborative, browser-based interface.
Although many aspects are unique to a free, online mapping product, GeoCommons has need for improvement in several areas to enhance its competitiveness with other products. These include:
- Labels: Features currently can't be labeled on a map. The key to visual distinctions of features can be indicated only in a legend. Clicking a feature opens an identification window that lists the values of attributes associated with that feature.
- Visualizing by attributes: When using the Style Palette and visualizing by theme, only numeric attributes can be visualized by color. No distinctions among features can be made based on values of text/string attributes.
- Searching: The default permission for uploaded files, and maps or analyses created by users, is public. Although sharing is an admirable goal, there are a vast number of "sandbox" files stored in the data warehouse. Often, little care was used in naming or fully describing these datasets with appropriate terminology. The search mechanism is crude.
All this often makes it difficult to focus a search on what you're looking for, to look through a lengthy results listing, or to feel confident that your search has identified all potential useful datasets. This problem is increasing as the size of the GeoCommons data warehouse increases.