Mapeteria: user-generated thematic maps

Posted in Hacking, Maps at 8:08 pm by ducky

A year ago, while I was in the midst of working on my Census Maps mashup, my Green College colleague Jana came up to me with a question. “I have a table of data about heat pump emissions savings for each province, and I want to make a map that colors each province based on the savings for that province. What program should I use to do that?”

I thought about all the work that I’d done for the Census Maps mashup — learning the Google Maps API, digging up the shape files for census tract boundaries, downloading and learning how to use the shapelib libraries to process the shapefiles, downloading and learning how to use gd, reacquainting myself with C++, reacquainting myself with gdb, debugging, trying to figure out why certain census tracts looked strange, etc, and rendered her an authoritative response: “Use Photoshop”, I said.

I was really dismayed that I had to tell her to use a paint program. Why should she — a geographer — have to learn about vertices and alpha channels and statically loaded libraries? Why wasn’t there some service where she could feed in a spreadsheet file and get back a map?

Well, I finally got tired of waiting for Google to do it, so developed Mapeteria — my own service for users to generate their own thematic maps.

If you give Mapeteria a CSV file (which is one of the formats that any spreadsheet program will be delighted to save as) plus a little more information about how it should be displayed, it will give you back a map. You can either get a KML file (which you can look at in Google Earth) or a Google Maps mashup that shows the map directly in your web browser.

So Jana, here’s your map!

Emissions savings of heat pumps vs. natural gas

Comments »

  1. Best Webfoot Forward » comparative programming linguistics said,

    May 21, 2007 at 8:26 pm

    […] Sometimes the various devotees will give a nod to the richness of their language’s libraries, or to the robustness of their compiler, but rarely. Recently, I’ve been working on a hobby project in PHP while reading up on tools like odb, JML, Daikon, Esc/Java2, javaspider, and EmmaECL. The contrast is stark. […]

  2. alexsaf said,

    November 19, 2007 at 1:23 pm

    Hello !

    Does is service still work? I tried Mapeteria examples, and they all return error.

  3. ducky said,

    November 19, 2007 at 2:17 pm

    Hmmm. They all work for me on Firefox with Linux. See

    Are you trying to get Google Maps or KML? What operating system and Web browser are you using?

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