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Texas A&M Geography
Why would I use the Polygon Tracing Tool?
The required geographic data does not exist
In many cases, the geographic data that you might want to use for mapping and/or analysis may not be available for your area of interest (or at all). When this occurs, you can either scrap your intended project, try to purchase/obtain these data from somewhere else, or create it yourself.

The polygon tracing tool affords you ability to quickly and easily utilize the third option of creating a database of geographic polygon data.
Users do not have sophisticated GIS software
If you have decided that your best option is to create the geographic polygon data you require, there are many choices of GIS software you can use to accomplish this task. However, many of the industry standard choices require large up-front monetary investments that may make them out of reach for organizations/individuals with small budgets to dedicate to these resources.

To alleviate these costs, the polygon tracing tool found on this site is provided free of charge to the community at large. The data and API's used for this service are provided by Google Maps, and as such require no usage fees for this type of service.
Users cannot process a database in batch
As noted, there are many other software options that allow you to create geographic polygon data, both online and otherwise. However, to the best of our knowledge there are no other free services that allow you to interactively process a database of records in batch.

The polygon tracing service on this site overcomes this obstacle by site allows you to upload a database of records containing geographic points you wish to process. Once uploaded, you can then iteratively step through each of the records, creating polygon geographic data that is associated with the record and stored in the database.
Users do not have sophisticated GIS skills
The interface for the polygon tracing tool has been made as simple as possible to put its usage within the reach of the largest possible audience. This service has undergone several rounds of user testing with the aim of determining the best methods to display the essential interface components.

The result of this reserach is powerful GIS interface that is simple and easy to use. The actions a user must perform are not trivial, but should be within the grasp of most users who are capable of using a standard Google Maps-type interface.
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