Vector Tiles and Basemaps
Vector tiles provide improved performance and customization for layers and basemaps. Rather than creating static tile images for all the various zoom levels, vector tiles allow you to publish the layer's base tiles unstyled, and customize later with JSON. For example, Esri® traditionally published a few popular basemaps (streets, terrian, topo, etc.) that consist of image tiles for all the various zoom levels. These basemaps are great, but the images were static. With vector basemaps, Esri provides users with a neutral dark grey basemap canvas, and the user can edit the hex colors for the water, land, urban areas, boundary colors, and labels components.
KOOP is an open source server application that is able to consume geospatial feature data from foreign APIs that are not Esri-based or GeoJSON-based, and transform this data so it can be consumed by an Esri mapping application. The output formats include GeoJSON, CSV, KML, Shapefile, and a HTTP response similar to an ArcGIS Feature service. To bring in a new geospatial API, a small amount of code is needed for the translation between the APIs, and KOOP takes care of the heavy lifting. An Esri developer demonstrated consuming the Craigslist API and the Yelp API to load filtered apartments and restaurants onto an Esri map.
Developers at Esri continue to enhance the open source Leaflet plugins on Github. This is to allow developers who prefer Leaflet and GeoJSON to still use ArcGIS basemaps, feature layers, and other Esri map services. The presenter demonstrated how you can easily create a plugin to use the Esri routing engine within a Leaflet map.
In February, Esri released more features to the Open Data portal to make it easier for site administrators to manage and customize their organizations' Open Data offerings. The presenter showed how to create pages, edit with markup and markdown capabilities, and customize the look and feel. He also displayed award-winning Open Data sites, including Kenya, Africa and Raleigh, NC.
By: James Lawruk, Developer
Photos retrieved from GitHub, Inc.