What do you mean by ‘publishing on the web’?
‘Publishing on the web’ means making and formatting digital maps, data and documents so they are accessible online through a standard web browser and conform to web accessibility requirements. OpusMap provides a way of doing this.
OpusMap is hosted on our servers. We offer a subscription contract so you can use OpusMap directly (also via a standard web browser) to publish and maintain your own interactive mapping websites and web mapping applications.
OpusMap gives you direct control from in-house in how and when you publish maps, data and documents on the web. That is fundamental to OpusMap as a publishing system: it gives you 24/7 access to and control of your data at all times.
Why is it easier to publish on the web with OpusMap?
That’s our opinion based on our understanding of OpusMap compared to other software designed to publish maps online. We use GIS and other mapping software so we understand what comparisons are being made.
OpusMap was originally designed to help us build mapping websites for our customers but when we showed them how we used OpusMap to build their mapping they asked if they could use it themselves. So we had to come up with a way of providing access to OpusMap for customers to use and from that demand we created a new business opportunity.
But the key issue from the outset in how to provide access to the OpusMap system was that our customers were not GIS experts or webmasters. They were planners, technicians, managers and decision-makers, the people who actually understood the practical requirements of their data, who understood to whom the data needed to be presented and what drivers were in place to publish their data in accessible formats.
So we had to keep OpusMap simple and easy to use for our customers without losing sight of the technical features and functions they wanted nor of the way that they wanted the public and other stakeholders to interact with and identify with their data. OpusMap had to factor in not only where the maps and data were coming from but also where they needed to go after they had been prepared by our customers. So OpusMap had to be more than a GIS, it had to be a user-friendly and web-friendly system that could be used and made accessible to as wide an audience as possible.
We do now have customers who use OpusMap as a web-based alternative to a GIS solution and as a companion to their in-house GIS. So if you want OpusMap to form part of your GIS set-up then it’s more than capable of satisfying that requirement.
So what exactly is OpusMap?
OpusMap is web technology software for delivering and interacting with maps, data and documents through web browsers.
Hosting OpusMap on our servers means if you become a subscriber of OpusMap no part of the system sits on your computers or network. You access all parts of OpusMap through a standard web browser with Internet access. That’s another reason why we say OpusMap is easy to use because we remove the potential problems of hosting on your own servers or with installing software across your network. Our servers are optimised for OpusMap and nothing else so there are no conflicting priorities in how our servers are configured. This means OpusMap is fast, dependable and accessible 24/7.
To provide you with access to OpusMap we create a web domain on our servers that identifies your organisation. Once that web domain is set-up users within your organisation can have direct access to the OpusMap system via their preferred web browser. Again, that’s another reason why OpusMap is easy: you can use it through an interface you already know and love!
Because OpusMap sits on our servers you don’t have to worry about ongoing maintenance or updates to the software. We take care of all of that on our own servers. You just focus on your data and documents. There are no user limits so anyone within your organisation can be a potential user of OpusMap
How does OpusMap publish my maps and data on the web?
OpusMap includes a Content Management System or CMS. The CMS is the part of OpusMap that links your data and documents to your web audience through a website. You access the CMS via your preferred web browser. We supply you with a URL, a username and a password and you’re straight into the CMS.
The CMS allows you to upload map data directly into the OpusMap system. You can upload map data in a number of different formats, including ESRI SHP and MapInfo TAB. Don’t worry, you don’t need to use a GIS to access your map data. It’s probably on your network somewhere, all you have to do is browse your network for where the relevant files are stored and the CMS takes care of uploading.
Once your data is in the CMS there are a range of functions available to you for configuring how you want to publish maps and data on the web. There’s more about those functions further down.
OpusMap is flexible in what base mapping can be used and where that base mapping is stored and accessed by OpusMap. Base mapping can be published from our servers, from your servers or from an external domain.
What functions are available to me in OpusMap for publishing on the web?
There are many functions in the OpusMap CMS but the main ones are about how you want visitors to your website to view and interact with your maps and data. In the OpusMap CMS you can style each map layer, create a map legend, set what viewing scales you want your data to appear at, show text on the map and allow visitors to draw on the map.
What maps can I use on my website?
OpusMap can support any base mapping you want to use. If you want to use Ordnance Survey mapping like MasterMap OpusMap can handle that. If you want to use mapping provided by a WMS feed you can set that up in the CMS. If you don’t have any mapping then we can set you up with options such as OS Open Data, The People’s Map, Open Street Map, Google and Bing maps.
Is OpusMap safe and secure? Is my data safe?
What are the benefits of using OpusMap rather than a recognised GIS?
There are a number of benefits that we can identify.
First things first: we like GIS. We use it ourselves in all our data and mapping projects.
However, for the web we prefer to use technologies that have been designed specifically for the web and in particular open source technologies. As a small business we find GIS expensive to licence and maintain and if we were to use a GIS to do what OpusMap does it would cost us more to do it. That cost would have to be passed onto you.
With open source technologies we have a set of components, tools and processes that we can build on with our development team. We can customise open source technologies to make maps and data as easily accessible as possible and we think that approach has four key benefits to you over a recognised or proprietary GIS.
Firstly, with OpusMap you can manage and maintain the maps and data yourself in the CMS via a standard web browser. You don’t have to install any software, plug-ins or downloads nor do you need to be a GIS expert or a webmaster to use OpusMap. This means that OpusMap can be more easily and quickly implemented throughout your department or organisation because access is so simple and the method of access (i.e. a web browser) is recognisable to all users.
Second, you can use OpusMap with your existing personnel and resources, it doesn’t need you take on more resources in order to gain the benefits of the system. As we said above, you don’t have to be a GIS expert or a webmaster to use OpusMap. Anyone can use it because the software is designed for anyone to use. You don’t even have to change your web browser!
Third, using open source technologies means that we are not dependent on a proprietary development model for improving and updating OpusMap in order to bring you more features and functions that you need and want. We are free to develop OpusMap the way our customers want it to be developed and are not reliant, for example, on value-added reseller licensing models that are designed to benefit the supplier rather than the customer. OpusMap development is driven by its users.
Fourth, open source technologies are well supported globally. We can therefore easily and readily identify and implement new and improved features into OpusMap. Because OpusMap is built using open source your data can be easily transferred into updates and upgrades to OpusMap without you even knowing about it! That’s because open source is built on open standards. That in itself brings considerable benefit to you. You know that your data is always accessible to you because it isn’t stored in a proprietary format and can be exported by you from OpusMap into any other software that supports open standards at any time. Also using open standards helps to future proof your data to any changes in resources in-house, either in our business or in your organisation. If we fail in our role as a supplier your data will not be compromised or lost.
Finally, OpusMap is provided as Software as a Service. This means there is no licence. Access and use of OpusMap is granted under a subscription service with OpusMap being the software through which we provide the service. That keeps everything nice and simple.
So what’s the catch?
The only catch is that OpusMap is not free.
OpusMap is provided in one of two ways. The first way is to pay us to design and build your interactive maps in OpusMap and either publish them to a dedicated OpusMap website branded in your image or publish them into pages of another website.
The second way is to take OpusMap under a Software as a Service (SaaS) subscription and be trained to use the system yourselves and build and maintain your own interactive maps and content via its CMS.
We are generous and flexible in our subscription terms. For example we set no User limits. Some of our clients are single users, others work in teams across more than one location. Most of our customers have a team of 4-10 Users. Some of our clients use OpusMap to support one project or one programme of work, others use it across multiple projects and workflows in support of numerous programmes.
Contact us today to discuss your requirements and we’ll design and propose an OpusMap package that works best for you.