We just released an update for YouTown that makes it easier for agencies to publish and use Maps — we’re pleased to announce ESRI Shape File (.shp) support in addition to our Google Maps and KML file support! ESRI Shapefiles are geospatial digital maps, like Google Maps, but provided by GIS software company ESRI. You can now publish your ESRI shapefiles to YouTown and we will render in the app just like we have been doing with the Google Maps KML feeds. This update should make life easier for agencies whose GIS departments use ESRI, and we hope to see an increase in the use of YouTown Maps because of it.
But there’s more … !
Several agencies have requested clickable links in the description box within YouTown Maps — and we listened! With this new update, cities have the ability to create geographical maps that contain links to webpages with more information. For instance, the City of Prattville has published a map of the sites on their Historic Walking Tours. Now, they have the option to link each of those locations to a webpage containing the details, stories, and history associated with it — visitors and residents could enjoy a self-guided tour of Prattville history!
These links can also be a useful tool for internal purposes as agencies can generate feeds for their maps to track things like work orders or inventories. Inserting these internal links (including HREF) in the <description> tag for each placemarker in the KML or SHP file creates a simple lookup tool for field work.
We can’t wait to see the ways that cities and counties will use these improvements to YouTown Maps. The possibilities of the platform are as unique as the agencies that use it. Let us know about your implementations and ideas — we want to hear about how YouTown is working for YOUR town!