I have between 10-20 GB various GIS-data that there is a need to set up och and visualise for various users who want to be able to pan, zoom and switch between various layers and groups of layers nearly as if they where in using Google Earth or Photoshop. There is no real need for GIS-data analysis, just pure visualisation in order to make a "map image". The users themselves are not knowledgeable in GIS at all. So I wonder which tools might be best for it? Speed is alot more important that exactness. Is it better to have pre-rendered layers and scales? As I understand many GIS products are exact, but rather slow, and it seems ESRI's products are not using really GPGPU and multicore processing to it's full extent yet.

As asked by user33290, more detailed question. (True, very much is in the details.)

The number of datasets that amount to 10-20 GB is between 4-12 datasets. The purpose is quite simple: to visualise it. At least that's a start. The users should have the possibility to combine what they wan't from a list or so and basically build their "own" map. However as it stands now, the users won't add more data or so, just perhaps export their view to a picture for presentation.

Now I am aware that that amount of vector data is a bit too much, and also I am quite sure that few will want to view everything at once. I have not decided wether it's should be a desktop app or a web/network app, since well, it all depends how well it can be run. So basically we are not talking necessarily about a full fledged GIS-suite or so, but a advanced atlas of sorts. That's since the main users don't know anything about GIS and are probably not interested.

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    Imagery or vector data? Web or desktop viewer? – John Powell Nov 26 '14 at 11:49
  • Well, the general wish is to be able to have a satellite imagery at the bottom for reference, otherwise it's all vector data. It's not decided wether it's desktop or web. – Regert Nov 26 '14 at 13:30
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    I suggest you flesh out your question some more, the details are need to make any meaningful suggestions... How many Indiv datasets make up the 10-20GB... What is the purpose of them needing this generally... Do they need to mix and mash up data in multiple maps does that need to be user driven? Do you have access to a web accessible server or restricted to desktop? Etc – user33290 Nov 26 '14 at 15:06
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    I think this question needs to be much more specific to result in useful answers. 10-20 GB of mostly vector data is very vague. Are they points? Polygons? Do you want users to be able to choose cartographic styles? Zoom levels? See individual features? GPU considerations don't really seem relevant this early on. – djq Nov 26 '14 at 16:41
  • Aggregate and summarize - see GIS Tools for Hadoop tutorial [collaborator] – Randall Whitman Mar 2 '16 at 23:20

Loading 20GB of data, either from disk or over the web, will kill almost every desktop application.

You have to restrict the data volume to the rendered canvas extent, e.g. using virtual index files or a postgis server with spatial indices, and use overviews (pyramids) for lower zoom levels to get reasonable fast results on the screen.

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    I was going to suggest something like MrSID, but OP hasn't stated what format the data are in or how they want to view it as, so hard to give any sensible answer. – John Powell Nov 26 '14 at 12:31

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