My earlier post on “paper mapping” and web services coincided with the OS Options conference which took place at the OS head office in Southampton today. In many ways the Options network represents the future of printed maps, it is a network of organisations which access an OS web application (developed using ArcIMS) which allows the creation of customised large scale mapping plots and data downloads.
The Options network in my mind has always appeared to be the awkward child, hidden behind the scenes while the OS MasterMap data products take the limelight, while at the same time successfully meeting the needs of the community of small professional users and SME’s. Options has just got on and delivered what its community needed and indeed last month the 1,000,000th options product was produced.
There is a balance to be achieved between developing a simple series of on demand printed products while at the same time building an application which is simple to use, and with Options we still have some work to do.. but this I believe must be a beacon to the future direction of paper mapping.
Written and submitted from the Holiday Inn Southampton, using my Vodafone 3G network card.