Partners Expand National Geographic's MapMachine

31 Dec, 2005 By: Amy Stankiewicz

The U.S. Department of the Interior, ESRI, and the National Geographic Society have teamed together to integrate each organization's Web-based geospatial services into an interactive, three-dimensional (3D) map resource for private citizens throughout the United States.

The partnership involves integrating National Geographic's MapMachine, (which is powered by ESRI's ArcWeb Services), with the Geospatial One-Stop portal ( "to expand the data and resources available through Geospatial One-Stop," said Scott Cameron, deputy assistant secretary of the Interior for Policy, Management, and Budget. "Private citizens may virtually explore the geography of their neighborhoods and planet through the portal, while having the benefit of information from a variety of sources, including the U.S. Census Bureau, NASA [National Aeronautics and Space Administration], National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the World Wildlife Fund," Cameron added.

The new resource will "allow people who have had little exposure to maps to use simple tools to see their world and explore the rich content that the GIS community maintains," said ESRI President Jack Dangermond.

The portal provides access to more than 72,000 federal, state, tribal, local, and private sources of geospatial data. Users will be able to search and select desired GIS services then integrate those services with MapMachine's content. ESRI and National geographic developed a feature in MapMachine that enables users to visualize and integrate geographic information from many sources in 3D. Users can select an area of interest and use MapMachine's 3D viewing capabilities to pan, zoom, rotate, and fly over any given region. ESRI's MapStudio allows users to make their own customized maps.

MapMachine's 3D content will include National Geographic maps and aerial photographs from GlobeXplorer and MDA Geospatial Services and street data from Tele Atlas. For more information, visit

About the Author: Amy Stankiewicz

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