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Web mapping without a web server?

Updated: May 18, 2023

In my previous blog post we looked at parallel processing using a number of desktop GIS products using a relatively large dataset of parking tickets in Philadelphia. In the post, I mentioned that while Postgres gave the best results, ArcGIS and Manifold were full featured GIS products that not only included the parallel processing, but also had other great GIS features like cartography.

Just yesterday (May 8, 2023), Manifold GIS added additional functionality to serve Manifold .map files on the web. But, they did it in a way that doesn't require a web server or a map server. If you have a computer with an IP address, you're good to go.

In this video, I quickly show how you can now take a Manifold .map file and present it on the web. Note that the .map file has the following characteristics:

  • there are millions of objects being displayed.

  • some of the data is local inside the .map file,

  • other data is being pulled in from Postgres,

  • and even more data is being streamed over the Internet.

This just hit yesterday, so it is still warm from the oven so to speak. It is, of course, experimental and limited at the moment. As I indicate in the video, what you see is what you get. You can't turn layers on or off, you can select features, or do much of anything else. But, that's not the point. The point is, Manifold has created an architecture that allows us to display huge amounts of data without the need of a web server or map server!!

I'm in the process of getting a public IP address from the university so that I can publish more maps and evaluate the response time. As that develops, I'll keep you up-to-date.

Fun times ahead.

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