Most of our work in my office is related to facility planning for the U.S. Navy. Years ago, one of the first things we’d try and get when we started a project was General Development Maps (GDM) for the installation which were usually in CAD and usually tiled. We’d usually have to develop GIS from this CAD and it was much work anyone who’s ever had to import hundreds of CAD layers into SDSFIE can attest to. As time has gone on, more of these installations have invested in their GIS and now have some great looking datasets for us to use with our projects.
What I have noticed lately is the quality of the mapping from our clients. These “basemaps” replace the old GDM maps that were used in the past (or NIMA) and they look very professional. What is even more amazing is that they are done without any of the old tricks we had to use in the past (export to Illustrator, etc). I also think we are at the cusp of a cartography revolution with the new cartographic features of ArcGIS Desktop 9.2 (I blogged about them back at the UC). I’m looking forward to see what maps are produced using the new powerful cartography tools.
While there is a great resource for Cartographers on the web, there isn’t much on the ESRI site. Maybe if the ArcScripts gets cleaned up and organized better, we’ll be able to find more nuggets on the site. What would be really good is if there could be the equivalent to EDN for cartographers on the ESRI site. I think the trend is to have more communities out there rather than one big support site. I mean wouldn’t it be cool to see a Geoprocessing community go up, rather than the static download page that is currently up?