Architecture

The Visual Crossing product architecture is unique in that it was built from the ground up to deliver the best possible GIS platform to business users.

The core premise of the architecture is that it will treat the Business Intelligence (BI) systems as true layers in the technology infrastructure stack. By utilizing BI as a layer, Visual Crossing can take full advantage of the power that these systems provide: report building, dashboard infrastructure, data scalability, user scalability, distribution capability, analytical functions, schema modeling, user/object/data level security, SQL Generation, response time and ease of use. In some cases this requires that the architecture is flexible enough to be fully embedded into another BI system. This is why Visual Crossing has architected version 4 to be the most flexible mapping system around. It can be deployed as a widget or extension of a BI system and fully embedded into web and mobile servers as well as desktop application. It can be deployed as a standalone server accessed by a lighter BI plugin or even accessed directly by a custom application.

Embedded Server Mode

Standalone Server Mode

Enterprise Features
Enterprise users have come to expect a standard set core functionality relating to shared objects, cross-datasource access, scalable performance, and web-based editing. Visual Crossing includes a middle-tier Map Server library that provides all of these features with performance and scalability the exceeds traditional systems. Some of the key features include:

  • A file-based Metadata Server that centrally manages shared objects (such as layers and map definitions) allowing users to collaborate and share information.
  • A Datafetch Engine to handle retrieving spatial and statistical data from various data stores including relational and spatial DBs as well as mapping servers such as OSM, Google, Bing, ESRI, and WMS.
  • A Vector Tiling Engine with multi-tiered caching provides the fastest and most interactive mapping data available. Our vector tiles can be generated dynamically or pre-generated and cached for offline scenarios.
  • Self-service map editing built directly into the map interface allowing end-users to customize existing maps or create new maps from scratch. It also allows users to do geocoding and advanced Region Creation right from their interface.

Visual Crossing provides complete business level integration, enterprise GIS capabilities, open data architecture and a secure infrastructure which are the cornerstones of a solid GIS platform. Our verison 4 provides a portable HTML5 codebase that gives your deployment the same exact behavior and performance on Web, Mobile or Desktop applications. The HTML5 architecture allows us to offer clients immediate, client-based renders of map changes specific to a user’s action. We are able to easily cache data for speedy, repeated render situations. With our scalable visualization capabilities we can offer access to Big Data in any application.

Base Maps
Out of the box Visual Crossing 4 gives our customers access to an Open Streetmap Server for the easiest and most affordable solution available. Also,as a part of its layer serving technology, version 4 offers support for virtually any basemap. We do this for several reasons: First, is deployment flexibility. As technology changes, today’s preferred option may not be the best option tomorrow. With the Visual Crossing architecture you can switch base map providers at any time without work or expense. Customers of ours often choose to utilize components from multiple vendors to truly create a customized provider approach. Utilizing the best-of-breed approach is key to our product strategy. Secondly, Visual Crossing provides its own data engine, renderers and spatially indexed storage mechanism. Clients do not need to worry about modifying or reloading data because they chose a different basemap provider. It is a managed by their Visual Crossing deployment.

Scalability and Performance
Visual Crossing understands enterprise-level data scalability requirements and has implemented a caching, execution flow, and rendering architecture that can scale to hundreds of thousands of entities on a single map. Scaling to support large user populations is a primary part of our architecture. Current customers installed bases range from a few users to many thousand. The architecture has two key features that allow the integration component to optimize the system’s performance:

  • Multi-level Vector Tiling cache which allows for caching of interactive data that can be sent and shared among clients.
  • Our HTML5 renderer was designed from the ground up to be the fastest and lightest possible map engine. This ensures your performance on mobile devices in addition to web and desktop installations.

Security
Visual Crossing Map Services allows privacy-concerned entities to build an entirely in-house map server. There is no requirement to send data to map providers or open up your servers for external access. In addition to this we have designed our BI integrations to fully utilize the security layers already built-in to the BI vendors APIs.