The Drawbacks of Code Focused GIS

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With the vast amount of options that ArcGIS for Developers provides to its users, it seems that any application can be created to meet the exact specifications of any client. Those who may be more adept or more comfortable with programming every step from scratch may feel that templates or the convenience of the Web App Builder on ArcGIS Online are the easy way out.

However, what can often appear as an endless frontier of possibilities can often bog down projects, slowing down the time it takes to create maps. If programming is over exploited – it not only results in overall time lost – it can cause a waste of service credits. While there are aspects of ArcGIS Online’s templates could benefit from more options to edit code, always starting from scratch is often an effort in postponing the results of a project that could be realized in a much shorter time frame.

In many ways, the forced implementation of coding in the creation of maps often serves as a method of gate-keeping those interested in working with geospatial information systems, or those who may have a different perspective on conveying geographic data. While more of these pre-constructed applications are pushed aside in favor of development, the more individuals who could bring unique aesthetic sense into the field could be discouraged.

When approaching a GIS project, it’s important to ask whether the data in question requires a tailor made map to present it. Could it easily be conveyed in a preset application, or assembled together in a story map? GIS departments could benefit from reorganizing this workflow in a way that promotes the often ignored synergistic aspects of a diversely skilled staff.

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