Monday, August 05, 2019

The GeoSeer API

GeoSeer is an incredibly useful spatial data search engine which allows you to discover free, open-source geographical datasets from around the world. Using GeoSeer you can search for spatial data by location and by subject. GeoSeer will then show you all the spatial datasets it finds, which are available as OGC web-services. Those are datasets which are available as:
  • WMS (Web Map Service) - basically, a map
  • WFS (Web Feature Service) - raw vector data
  • WCS (Web Coverage Service) - raw raster data
  • WMTS (Web Map Tile Service) - a pre-rendered basemap
A great way to search GeoSeer is to use the GeoSeer API Demo. This demo map, created to showcase the GeoSeer API, allows you to zoom in on any location in the world and search for the available spatial datasets for that location. 

What I particular like about the GeoSeer API Demo is that you can review all the returned search results by overlaying any of the datasets on top of the demo interactive map. For example the screenshot above shows two of the spatial datasets which can be found if you search in New York. The datasets shown are a geo-rectified vintage map of New York and Microsoft building footprints from 2018.

Using the data provided with the results it is easy to add a discovered dataset to your interactive mapping platform of choice. For example - this Leaflet.js map shows the Microsoft building footprint dataset above.

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