Do you use Google Maps? Yahoo Maps? If you’re in Philadelphia, you could be using PHLmaps. The City of Philadelphia’s GIS Services Group has created a high-quality, public mapping service packed with valuable data.
Built on the cloud-based ArcGIS platform, the free, interactive service leverages data the City has been producing and acquiring for years. The service includes Philadelphia-specific basemaps designed by the GIS team and over 140 maps showing specific data points such as healthy eating establishments, police stations, evacuation-routes, and zoning districts, among others. While these maps can be viewed on the PHLmaps site, the basemaps are also available to download as APIs through the Open Data Philly portal.
Most recently, the GIS team added aerial imagery from 1996-2012 to the PHLmaps service. This means that you can view any property or location throughout this period of time, and zoom at a higher quality than is offered through Google Maps or other services. Having access high-quality maps throughout the past fifteen years could be useful to investigate or research a specific property and could also improve permitting processes. Below, you can see the development of Dilworth Park (formerly Dilworth Plaza prior to 2014) through the years using PHLmaps: