Atlas System

Atlas is an "enterprise" GIS System



Along with its analysis and content, Atlas is a "System". It has environments for GIS analysis, resources, and viewing.

The CAPABILITY of Atlas lies in the quality of the Atlas System.

Capability Projects are focused on the strategies, designs, and implementation of the Atlas System.


The Atlas Customers include residents, communities, non-profits, and public agencies, where value is GIS stimulating participation.

These Customers appear to share important requirements for 1) high privacy, and 2) low cost.

It's assumed customers would respond well to "crowd sourcing" capabilities.

The Atlas Customers also include the students who work with the program.

The relationship Atlas has with students is focused on enhancing their educational experience while reducing the cost of that education.

The value proposition with students sets the focus on creating projects that provide students opportunities to enhance market-relevant GIS System management skills.


ESRI (Environmental Systems Research Institute) is the world leader in GIS applications and is the option of choice for many organizations, certainly including government jurisdictions.

As with any commercial operation, ESRI chooses to price itself out of some markets.

Atlas, with its focus on non-profit, community, and GIS students, is one of those efforts that can't afford ESRI product.

Atlas has access to some of the ESRI products via the GIS students it works with. These students are provided tools by ESRI. Atlas also can use individual ArcMap Desktop licenses as long as the individuals with those licenses are volunteers to the 501c3.

The net is that Atlas needs to be in the Open Source space.

The good news is that the open source world for spatial technologies is robust. One indicator is the existance of an international standards organization (similar to W3 for HTML, etc.).

ESRI vs Open Source stacks


Student Lorn Fant did the intial exploration of qGIS.

His general conclusions were that the product is viable. No investigation of uDig has been done yet.


MapServer makes it clear they are not intending to be a fully-functional web service.

GeoServer focuses on complance/implementaton of OSGeo "standards".


GeoServer makes use of Freemarker, a template engine, at points where developer customizations are allowed.

Templates use Data Models as input. GeoServer has 5 Data Models.

Data Models are a sort of tree of hierarchy where each Element has a Name and a Value. [Same approach used by JSON]

In GeoServer, the Values are Types. Along with basic Types (e.g. boolean, string), there are list, map, and listMap Types.


There are a number of configurations that can be used to deliver GIS services and maps. Discovering and implementing those configurations is part of the learning journey for students.

Web services are an example. Initially, the services are delivered via JavaScript and map APIs created in a Dreamweaver and WAMP web development environment, installed and delivered via the Atlas web server.

Other configurations of interest are delivered via an online map service (e.g. Mapbox, ESRI Online) or with a GIS server in the configuration.

Atlas is designed as an open system because it offers the greatest opportunity for student benefit. Because of privacy and cost requirements, it does not include the use of proprietary web map services (e.g. Google Maps, ESRI Online).

The initial approach is to use GIS APIs for JavaScript (e.g. Leaflet, OpenLayers, ESRI), and deliver the production web map service via the Atlas web site.

Also part of the initial approach is investigating geospatial PDF capabilities. Although geospatial PDFs may not be a long-term direction, it appears it has capabilities that would be a valuable interactive environment for users.

GIS for Server is intended to be part of the overall architecture.

The approach is intended to create an environment for students to provide GIS system management services.

Project Documents

  • ESRI vs Open Source stacks (PNG)
  • Drawing of GIS Server architecture (PDF)
  • Current project document (Word) (PDF) [Not availale yet]
  • Architecture

Other pages


Immense thanks to Brandon for how generously he shares his world, including a great number of the links that started this list

Possibly relevant to Atlas

Web Development Environment

  • Aptana Studio Code development environment
  • Dreamweaver Proprietary web development environment
  • Firebug Firefox development environment
  • JSFiddle Online editor for front-end web developers
  • MooTools A collection of JavaScript utilities
  • Node.js Server-side JavaScript
  • Notepad++ Free source code editor and replacement for Notepad
  • PyDev Testing server, incl. server-side Python
  • Sandbox ArcGIS API for JavaScript development test area
  • WAMP Testing server
  • XAMPP Testing server
  • ZEND Testing server, incl. server-side PHP







  • ArcGIS Viewer for Windows
  • ArcReader
  • Boundless Design, customization, and installation of open source geospatial maps, applications, context, and data.
  • Eclipse An open source community of tools, projects, and collaborative groups
  • ESRI Explorer Explorer for ArcGIS and ArcGIS Explorer Desktop
  • Freemarker template engine: A Java library to generate text output (web pages, email, configuration files, source code,etc. Freemarker is used in GeoServer.
  • GDAL (web) Geospatial Data Abstraction Library
  • Geocortex Web mapping applications
  • GeoJSON (web) JSON for geographic objects
  • GeoSpatial PDFs (PDF)
  • Geospatial PDFs (web)
  • GeoSpatial PDF Adobe
  • GeoPDF Trademark
  • GRASS GIS Geographic Resource Analysis Support System; an open source GIS tool
  • JSON JavaScript Object Notation
  • MapBox Service
  • MapBox WIKI
  • Maptime A GIS Meetup site
  • Marble A virtual globe and world atlas
  • Mozilla Developer Network Open source sharing environment
  • Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Standards
  • OpenEV A software library and application for viewing and analyzing geospatial data
  • OpenGL Open Graphics Library, an API specification for rendering graphics, usually 3D
  • The Open Source Initiative
  • OSGeo Open Source Geospatial Foundation
  • Planet PostGIS Portal to PostGIS extensions to PostGres
  • PostGIS PostGIS spatial and geographic objects for PostGreSQL
  • PostGreSQL (PostGres) Worlds most advanced open source database
  • QGIS A free and open source GIS
  • QGIS Cloud Personal Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI)
  • Red Ring Example of resource vs. need web map service
  • TerraGo Toolbar Adobe Reader plug-in
  • uDig Open source GIS framework for Eclipse
  • VirtualBox Open source virtualization tool from Oracle
  • Remaining Alphabetical

  • Android/iOS (SDK)
  • API
  • ArcGIS 10.2 for Desktop Help
  • ArcGIS 10.2 for Server (Windows) Installation Guide
  • ArcGIS 10.2 Quick Start Guides
  • ArcGIS 10.2 System Requirements
  • ArcGIS 10.2.2 for Server (Windows) Help
  • ArcGIS 10.2.2 Uninstallation Utility for Windows
  • ArcGIS Blog
  • ArcGIS Collector
  • ArcGIS Executive Dashboard for Local Government
  • ArcGIS for Develpers
  • ArcGIS for Emergency Management
  • ArcGIS for Local Government
  • ArcGIS for Professionals
  • ArcGIS GeoEvent Processor for Server 10.2 (Windows) Installation Guide
  • ArcGIS Ideas Submission Portal
  • ArcGIS Marketplace
  • ArcGIS Online Help
  • ArcGIS Online Service Credits Overview
  • ArcGIS Online
  • ArcGIS Open Data
  • ArcGIS Operations Dashboard
  • ArcGIS Pro
  • ArcGIS Resources
  • ArcGIS Solutions
  • ArcGIS Story Maps
  • ArcGIS Viewer for Flex
  • ArcGIS Web Adaptor (IIS) Installation Guide
  • ArcGIS Web App Templates
  • ArcGIS Web AppBuilder
  • ArcNews
  • ArcUser
  • ArcWatch
  • Blog - ArcPy Cafe´
  • Blog - The GIS Studio
  • CDC GIS data
  • Data.KingCounty.Gov
  • Data.Seattle.Gov
  • Esri Applications Prototype Lab
  • Esri ArcGIS REST Services Directory
  • Esri Australia Technical Blog
  • Esri Briefing Book
  • Esri Business Analyst
  • Esri Community Analyst
  • Esri GeoNet
  • Esri Geoportal Server
  • Esri GIS Education Community
  • Esri GitHub
  • Esri Holistic Testing Blog
  • Esri Insider
  • Esri Main Site
  • Esri Map Book Gallery
  • Esri Mapping Center
  • Esri Maps for Office
  • Esri Press
  • Esri Publications Unsubscribe
  • Esri Severe Weather Map
  • Esri Store
  • Esri Support Services Blog
  • Esri Support Technical Articles
  • Esri Support
  • Esri Training Matters
  • Esri Training
  • Esri Video
  • Flex
  • GeoExt
  • GeoTools
  • GIS Stack Exchange
  • GitHub Collaboration
  • GRCC ArcGIS REST Services Directory
  • King County ArcGIS REST Services Directory
  • King County GIS Data Portal
  • Learn ArcGIS
  • Linux
  • MapFish
  • Mapnik
  • Marble
  • NOAA ArcGIS REST Services Directory
  • PROJ.4
  • Puget Sound Regional Council
  • Python Extension Packages for Windows
  • Python for ArcGIS
  • Python Shapefile Library
  • Red Hat Red Hat
  • Socrata
  • Software Development Kits (SDK)
  • SQLite
  • US Census Bureau API
  • US Census Bureau
  • USGS National Map ArcGIS REST Services Directory
  • USGS Wetlands ArcGIS REST Services Directory
  • WA State Dept. of Health GIS
  • Washington State Dept of Natural Resources GIS Data