January 9, 2018 – BOSTON – Today, OpenDataSoft, a software-as-a-service company that offers cities and private companies alike a turnkey data…
Cartograph: design & share your geographical data
To conclude this very busy month, we are proud to present Cartograph, our new geographical interface, extending further our platform’s visualization features!
It all started during a hackathon organized by the Paris Region. We made a simple 20-lines sample of a fullscreen map with the ability to display any number of datasets on it; it was supposed to show how simple it is to display data from our API on a Web map. But that day, many people asked me questions about it, and sometimes came to talk to me just because they saw it on my screen. We felt there was something there, a need to quickly glance over various data in a territory; a need that nobody seemed to address at that time.
Fast-forward to today; after many evolutions of our backend, and especially the introduction of our geoclustering API, we have finally been able to build the idea up to our standards of datavisualization: fast, sexy, efficient, easy (both to use and to provide data to) and promoting modern reuse. We believe it is once again redefining the state of the art for map representation of different datasets of any scale: a visualization designed for data publishers, data journalists, and casual visitors.
Cartograph, at its core, is “simply” a map where you can stack geographical data together; but the really interesting thing is how you can finely decide on the way the data is displayed: if you want to show only a subset, maybe show a pictogram or a colored marker, display a heatmap based on a mathematical expression; and organize your data into layers to carefully and easily build an interactive representation of your data that you can send to someone or embed into your blog. And it is built using our new geoclustering features so that you don’t need to care about the volume of data; everyone will be able to view your map, even on mobile devices.
At your first arrival on an empty Cartograph, you are presented with a clear world map, and a panel on the right that will allow you to search within the data catalog; once you have chosen a dataset, you can filter and refine the data. You are then able to select how you want your data to be displayed: points can be clusterized, or always displayed as markers (and in that case, you can choose the color and pictogram associated with your points); or you can decide to show your data as a heatmap representation of either the density of points or a mathematical expression (for example a heatmap of tree heights in Amazonia). And then you can add a second dataset, and configure it as well; and a third, and so on. All the data is displayed at the same time and you can move, zoom in, and freely explore all the points. You can send the URL to whoever you want, share the map itself without the edition interface, and embed it in a Web page wherever you want; your shared map keeps all your work, including the place you were zoomed in.
But maybe you want to go beyond a simple representation, and want to build an interactive view of your territory around different themes, or show different aspects of your data you can switch to with one click? Cartograph allows you to organize your geographical data into different layers that can be hidden or shown on demand, and can be configured with a title, a description and a colored pictogram. If you share the URL or embed the map elsewhere, all these layers will be there, and will provide the perfect support for people to see the views you prepared for them.
Here are some things you can use Cartograph for, starting today:
- stack and explore massive worldwide datasets together, and navigate from a view of the world to your street (see for example this representation of amenities from OpenStreetMap and INSEE in France : data from INSEE is hidden by default and can be displayed in a click)
- promote one of your own datasets using the layer feature to show different aspects of your data using refinements (for example our own dataset of restaurants around our offices)
- display at the same time various datasets to find new correlations (see this map of places in Paris where you can find affordable coffee and free Wifi)
- carefully craft a perfect map with documented layers to illustrate an article with an embedded map (“Breaking News! In Paris, trees have a tendency to grow around mailboxes!”)
- put on your city’s homepage a map of all the data from your Open Data portal, grouped by themes (“transportation”, “culture”, “services” …), so that your citizens can quickly access your city’s information without ever seeing the word “data”
- send an interactive view of your own data to your mobile users, even for large datasets thay may be hard to represent on small devices
- build an operational view of your business data using heatmaps and analyze features, and have it daily automatically updated
Cartograph is available right now on our Public portal, so that you can play with our catalog of datasets (feel free to ask if you would like us to publish other public datasets). If you are one of our customers, Cartograph will become available on your domain in the coming days (and integrated with your branding and graphical customizations), and as usual it comes for free as a new feature of our ever-evolving platform. If you want more information, we would be happy to provide a hands-on session and discuss with you the things you could do with Cartograph and our platform; contact us!
For now we will leave you with your new toy as an early Christmas present, and we wish you happy holidays!
P.S.: If, one day, you want to have lunch with us, you can already choose the restaurant using this map :