GEOG 865
Cloud and Server GIS



This lesson marks a shift in the course where we will move away from talking about ArcGIS Server running on Amazon EC2 infrastructure and begin discussing various online software as a service (SaaS) options that enable GIS in the cloud. We'll begin by exploring services offered by the company Mapbox. You'll have a chance to restyle some online basemaps and see how these new styles can take effect immediately using vector tiles. You'll also learn how to create and load data into Mapbox for thematic mapping.

Before you begin this lesson, please make sure that all your Cloud Builder sites and all your Amazon EC2 instances are stopped. You wouldn't want to leave them running and accruing charges during the next few weeks while we are working with other technology.

Lesson Objectives

At the successful completion of this lesson you should be able to:

  • list some advantages and disadvantages of the software as a service (SaaS) cloud computing model for GIS;
  • give examples of SaaS providers for GIS and mapping;
  • use services offered by the company Mapbox for basemap design and thematic mapping;
  • embed maps from Mapbox in a web page;
  • explain the advantages and disadvantages of vector tiles and their differences from the rasterized tiles you created with ArcGIS Server.


  • Complete: L05: Assignment
  • Participate: L05: Discussion