This month Google released an open source version of its QGIS Google Maps Engine connector. So what does this mean for Google Maps Engine users?
If you’re not familiar with the application, QGIS (previously Quantum GIS) is a free, open source, cross-platform, desktop Geographic Information System (GIS) application that allows users to view, edit and analyze data. One of the application’s most valuable attributes is that it supports a wide variety of data formats and plugin architectures, which allows users to expand its use beyond its core functionality. In the past I have used the application to organize data before uploading it into Google Maps Engine.
Although Google recently added the ability to edit data from the browser through the Google Maps Engine admin interface, this functionality won’t meet the workflow requirements for all end users. This gap is where the QGIS connector can come into play. With the launch of the updated QGIS application, Google extended the connector’s plugin architecture and developed a new plugin that will allow users to securely access the GIS data they have stored in Google Maps Engine on the desktop.
Some use cases where the connector may be of assistance include:
Editing and authoring data from the desktop
Helping bridge any gaps between existing geospatial data and Google Maps Engine — users can now take any data format that QGIS can read and manipulate and upload the data into Google Maps Engine
Creating map mashups with data sources from Google Maps Engine and other sources that may not be permitted for upload into Google Maps Engine due to company restrictions
Building extra functionality to meet each users’ individual needs
Overall, the QGIS connector for Google Maps Engine is a valuable tool that can significantly expand available functionality for users working with Google Maps Engine. To learn more about the QGIS connector, click here.
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