At 11:00 am access to Digimap Carto will be closed and by 12:00 noon it will have made its last map. Carto was at the cutting edge of web mapping technology for several years, delivering Ordnance Survey maps to thousands of users while Google was still just a search engine. The high quality EPS and then PDF print files it produced meant that staff, students and researchers could print out maps of anywhere in Great Britain and were no longer limited to their library’s collection.
As time passed Carto could easily keep up with the latest offerings from MultiMap (later bought by Microsoft and eventually becoming Bing Maps) and Google Maps. It had more advanced tools and much better data in the form of OS MasterMap, so as the Java updates got more frequent we all put up with the software being a bit unreliable for a few days before we could issue a fix. However after 2011 the number of Java updates ramped up significantly and the changes became more difficult to accommodate. Once anti-virus software began seeing Carto as a potential threat and preventing it operating we decided that maintenance was unsustainable.
EDINA realised that continuing to support Carto would be too costly in terms of developer time spent fixing problems rather than improving and enhancing the service. In the meantime the rest of the world had become much more accustomed to viewing maps online in a web browser; EDINA’s other mapping service, Roam was able to take on much of what Carto was offering without confusing or frustrating its users.
Some recent changes to the capabilities of the web mapping platform that Roam uses meant that we could finally offer a Carto replacement without the need for any software to run on the end user’s computer. These changes have allowed us to withdraw Carto and let Roam to take on all the mapping duties for Digimap. We can now get on with the business of all those improvements and enhancements we have been wanting to make. We hope you will like the changes that we are aiming to have in place this August: