What’s A Special Purpose Map

what's a special purpose map

In geospatial technology, what’s a special purpose map? Well, that’s the tricky part. A SPmap is a special geospatial dataset that serves a specific purpose in a specific application. Other than those limitations, there are no real universal rules. When it comes to unique purpose maps, it can be pretty hard to generalize anything about them at all. Creating and using these datasets for a specific purpose requires thinking about geospatial data in a very different way from how we usually do it.

WHAT’S A SPECIAL ABOUT PURPOSE MAP? AND WHY?

SPmaps are maps explicitly designed for a particular application or use case. They may not be suitable for any other application and may or may not have any other uses at all.

Some SPmaps might only be designed to be used in a specific application, where they must be used with all or most of their default settings. Others may be designed to be used with specific settings and may have other uses when those settings are changed.

WHY ARE THESE MAPS SO UNIQUE?

Because, again, SPMaps are not a type of geospatial map but rather a type of data that is used to create a map. And because, again, SPmaps are designed to be used in very specific applications. And in some cases, only with specific settings. 

When we create special purpose maps, it’s important to make sure we’re only using data that is appropriate for our specific application. This can include only using data that is appropriate for our specific application, using data that is appropriate for the specific settings in our application or using data that is appropriate for both.

So Why Not Just Use A Standard Map?

The most obvious question at this point is, “Why not just use a standard map?” The answer to that question for many applications is, “Because we can’t.” Sometimes, the data required to create a map is unavailable as a layer in an existing standard map.

Also sometimes, the data is available in an existing map, but there is no way to turn that layer on or off or to change the symbology. Sometimes, the data is available in an existing map, but there is no way to change the layer’s extent.

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