Viewing Political/Statistical Geography in Context of OpenStreetMap
OpenStreetMaps (OSM) is a collaborative project to create/maintain a free editable map of the world. The OSM Internet-based map resource is built by a community of people who contribute and maintain data about roads, local geography and much more, all over the world.
GIS Applications Linking/Combining Shapefiles with OSM
This section illustrates viewing political/statistical geography in context of streets/roads shapefiles and/or Web-based street/ground coverage graphics. When using GIS tools to view census tracts (as one example) rendered through the use of shapefiles, there is often no convenient way to view the boundaries in context of roads/ground cover. There are two alternatives. One option is to add a layer using the corresponding streets/roads shapefile. This option has important features but is often difficult, time-consuming or not feasible as the roads shapefile coverages are organized in county units. Also roads shapefiles provide only part of the picture with respect to ground coverage. A second option is to use Web-based roads/ground coverage tiling services such as OpenStreetMap. Both options are reviewed here.
The CV XE GIS software is used to view a census tracts shapefile/layer in context with 1) roads shapefile/layer and 2) Web-based OpenStreetMap (OSM) layer via OSM WMS (OGC Web Map Service). CV XE GIS supports the OGC WMS standard, which means that it can be used to open map layers from any properly functioning WMS server, including OSM WMS servers. Use of the OSM shown here is available at no cost and has global coverage. Tiling graphics are courtesy of MapQuest.
Get Started Now
No registration or fees are required to use the CV XE GIS software with OSM. Run the CV XE GIS installer on a Windows-based computer and create views/applications such as those shown below. Make custom maps of your neighborhood or a city/country anywhere in the world.
Examining Optional Views (scroll section)
While the focused is on census tracts it applies equally to any political/statistical geography.
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