I come from a background in IT, not geography. Over the last five years, the "Geographic" part GIS has intrigued me more and more. Writing software for many other types of "Information Systems" just doesn't seem as interesting.

Today I spent a couple hours building some search forms from the Configurable Search feature we're currently wrapping up for Geocortex Essentials 1.5. Building search forms is such a common IT operation. What web-based application doesn't have a search function? And what specific system implementation hasn't required custom functionality on top of that search. The cool thing about writing search tools for a GIS is that we can apply spatial filters and then "see" the results (here, seeing means more than squinting at rows and columns in a table).

For example: Find me all of the parcels within the zip code 28214 that have a land value greater than $450,000. The word "within" becomes a very powerful part of that sentence.

parcel-by-value

This search found me 119 parcels. I don't really want to sift through that data in a table... but seeing the results on the map empowers my results to "mean something".

parcel-by-value-results