How XYZ Studio makes managing map data objectively easier

John Oram
HERE Technologies

Managing map data is not the same as making maps. So why does geodata management have to be so hard?

This is supposed to be easier. And yet developers spend an inordinate amount of time creating maps in a counterintuitive process that involves working on a truckload of elements that are not the map.

In the average workflow of creating a map, 80% of the time is spent wrangling data and 20% of the time is spent making the map – we want to flip that around. That’s the driver behind the features we’ve built into XYZ Spaces.  

To begin with, the data management side of map making is nontrivial. Collecting, gathering, storing and tracking data for mapping is intensive. One of the notions behind XYZ Spaces is having a place to put that data and being able to get it back out in usable formats, rather than having it sleep as giant files in some directory on your desktop. That alone is a really big deal.

The tiling process is also a big deal – an existing system may force you to limit how many points you can call in one request, or you have to handle tiling manually. It’s a pain. We’re doing it for you, automatically and on the fly, so it’s one less thing you have to worry about and you can spend more time actually mapping.

So now you have your data in a cloud-based space. But here’s the secret goodness about XYZ - you can get that data back out or serve it out in a variety of ways. It’s open ended, and it’s made to help the workflows you already have in place.

If you don’t want to use the XYZ renderer – no problem, you can use XYZ Hub to deliver data to your map renderer of choice. Need to use our system for tiling? You can do that. Want to upload multiple, heavy data sets through CLI? You can to that too. Want to build the API into your own workflow? Easily done.

Take a journalist as an example. They probably already have a workflow that feeds into a de facto standard map for their program or publication. We can manage all the data, then provide the information back into a standard or dynamic map that’s they’re already using. In this, we’re solving the headache of supporting multiple different map display systems while keeping the data clean and organized in a central place.


Honestly, this is really cool. I personally know several developers who spend a lot of time managing geo-spatial databases in cloud networks. To put it mildly, it’s the least interesting thing they have to do. Now, we’re doing it for you in a scaleable, flexible platform.

This lets everyone from citizen cartographers to hardcore developers, to GIS professionals get to the business of making maps, and spend less time wrangling data. Whether you’ve got 100 points or 100 million points, this same infrastructure can serve out the maps and data you need.  

There is no better way to see how much easier we’ve made it than to make your own map – so I recommend you give it a try. The XYZ beta is open, and it takes less than 30 seconds to get set up. Head over to the XYZ Studio page and get started.

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