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Mapping Software and GIS Glossary


What are mapping tools?

Mapping tools are software programs or online applications that allow users to view, create, and interact with maps and other geographic data. These tools are essential for understanding the relationships between locations, distances, and other geographic information. Popular mapping tools include Maptitude Mapping Software, Google Maps, OpenStreetMap, MapBox, and Carto. Each of these tools offers features such as satellite imagery, terrain maps, search capabilities, and route-planning capabilities that make them invaluable for a wide range of applications.

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What are the mapping tools in GIS?

Mapping tools in GIS are software programs or functionalities that allow for the creation, manipulation, and analysis of spatial data. These tools enable users to visualize and understand geographic patterns, relationships, and trends. Examples of mapping tools in GIS include geocodingspatial analysis, and geoprocessing.

Examples of mapping tools

Overlay mapping tools estimate populations for features on a map

Overlay mapping tools can estimate and compare demographics in different locations

Map tools for locating your data on a map

Geocoding tools can create pin maps by address, postal code, coordinate, and more

Drive-time ring mapping tools can determine accessibility at any interval

Drive-time ring mapping tools can determine accessibility at any interval

Build custom sales districts with territory mapping tools

Territory mapping tools can create custom territories based on areas, proximity, or drive time

Heat map tools

Heat map tools can identify weighted concentrations of features and over- and under-served areas

Filter features by geographic attributes, conditions, or a combination of the two

Mapping tools can filter features based on location and geographic attributes as well as conditional data attributes

Routing tools for finding efficient paths to service stops

Routing and logistics mapping tools can find shortest and fastest routes

3D and color mapping tools illustrate data

Mapping tools can illustrate geographic patterns with color, size, charts, 3D maps, and more

Maptitude GIS map of weighted center gravity location of customers

Weighted-center mapping tools can determine trade areas and identify valuable sites

Mapping tools for identifying suitable facilities

Facility location mapping tools can find suitable locations for expanding your business

Map tools for locating your data on a map

Mapping tool for locating businesses and competitors

Thiessen mapping tools create straight-line distance territories

Thiessen polygon/Voronoi diagram map tools can create straight-line distance territories

Maps communicate information that is related to space and location in a remarkably efficient way, reducing volumes of information to a single, clear visual presentation. A weather map lets you know in an instant whether it will be cloudy or sunny, how warm or cold it will be, and whether it will rain or snow. Traffic maps let you know in seconds what route you should take to avoid an accident or steer clear of construction. In politics, history, advertising, and recreation, maps are a part of our everyday lives because they tell us so much of what we want to know.

To share your own information through the powerful medium of maps, there are several factors that should be considered. These include which custom map tools you require and whether you need high-quality map data. There are many mapping applications and Geographic Information Systems (GIS Software) on the market that you can choose between, ranging from:

  • being free to costing tens of thousands of dollars
  • having basic or canned interfaces to customizable open systems
  • being easy to use to requiring expert level experience
  • having no data to providing extensive and integrated commercial grade maps

The more expensive applications typically have professional, but often esoteric, cartographic map production tools. The free applications typically come with zero or limited data, low-quality data, or limited functionality.

Maptitude map tools

The mapping software market is highly competitive but only Maptitude provides:

  • ease-of-use
  • commercial-grade data
  • the ability to customize every element in a map
  • affordable pricing

Maptitude (Maptitude mapping software) has flexible tools for map creation, customization, and map edits, and also supports more sophisticated tools such as enforced topology and adjacent area map coloring.

Maptitude provides the tools, maps, and demographic data that you need, with commands and special functions that let you tie in the data you use every day in your work. The MapWizard® automatic mapping tools create brilliant and informative maps with a single mouse click. Even more importantly, Maptitude provides ways for you to use the maps you create to analyze and understand how geography affects you and your organization or business.

Maptitude provides easy-to-use, professional mapping tools along with detailed USA data and at an affordable price. International versions of Maptitude mapping software are also available and come with demographic databases and geographic boundaries and features for each country.

Top 27 mapping tools

Mapping tools can be considered separately from mapping software or map applications. These are the actual functions that a geographic information system (GIS) provides. These tools allow the user to work with maps and geospatial data. In the table below we list the 27 most common mapping tools.

Tool Description
Add Data Adds data to a map, including vector data, raster data, and tabular data.
Buffer Creates a polygon at a set distance surrounding a feature.
Census and Demographic Data Provides access to census and demographic data for a variety of geographic areas.
Clip Extracts a portion of a feature based on a specified boundary.
Data Visualization Provides a variety of tools for visualizing data, such as charts, graphs, and heat maps.
Dissolve Merges overlapping features into a single feature.
Extract by Attributes Selects features based on their attribute values.
Fleet Optimization Optimizes the routing of multiple vehicles to multiple destinations.
Intersect Finds the features that overlap a specified area.
Join Combines two or more feature layers based on a common attribute field.
Label Places text on a map to identify features.
Map Customization Provides a variety of options for customizing maps, such as adding legends, titles, and north arrows.
Map Scripting Automates GIS tasks using a scripting language.
Map Sharing Publishes maps to the web or exports them to a variety of formats.
Merge Combines two or more features into a single feature.
Overlay Displays two or more feature layers on top of each other.
Polygon to Raster Converts a polygon feature layer to a raster image.
Project Converts data from one coordinate system to another.
Radius Searches for features within a specified distance of a point.
Raster to Polygon Converts a raster image to a polygon feature layer.
Reclassify Changes the values of raster cells based on a specified classification scheme.
Redistricting/Territory Optimization Creates boundaries, often commercial or political, that are optimized for certain criteria.
Report Generation Generates reports that summarize and analyze data.
Route Planning Creates routes between points, taking into account factors such as distance, travel time, and traffic conditions.
Site Selection Identifies potential sites based on specified criteria.
Thematic Mapping Creates thematic maps to visualize the distribution of data.
Zonal Statistics Calculates statistics for raster cells within a specified zone.

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