Hong Kong recently published a digital guide with all sorts of useful maps and mapbooks freely available for download by its citizens and visitors.
Beyond navigation, the maps provide rich information on public transportation options, public services, points of interest and more. The wealth of information is extremely useful and it strikes me how often valuable geographic data, especially from government agencies, is locked away in GIS systems when it holds so much potential value for the public. And it can be easily shared with the masses by providing access in any location and on any device with 100% free software and apps.
Hong Kong used TerraGo Publisher and Composer to publish their interactive GeoPDF maps and mapbooks from ArcGIS. Then they offered the free TerraGo Toolbar (works with free Adobe Acrobat) and a free version of TerraGo Edge to help the public access the maps and even make notes, add photos and share them with others, from phones, tablets, laptops or computers. With GeoPDF, mobile users get the great benefit of offline access which means they work even without a cellular or WiFi connection. 100% availability with 100% free applications and mobile apps… Plus no data charges for accessing the maps while traveling.
Governments invest so much money and resources in ArcGIS and other GIS systems, because they’re so valuable. And they have GIS teams that do amazing things to visualize information in ways never before possible. The value of GIS for these organizations and their public service mission is self-evident.
But how often is government data under-utilized and under-valued when it’s not shared with the public? All these great maps with tremendously valuable information…. Not just tourism, but property maps and public safety maps and so much more…. locked away from a public that is now accustomed to using location-enabled apps, mobile maps and GPS positioning features in their daily lives….wow, what a great opportunity to make a positive impact for so many different agency stakeholders and individuals and engage citizens, connecting them to these tremendous assets.