Statlas beta release

Web, 18 July 2011, 3 comments

For the past few months me and the rest of the guys at Fluxility have been working on Statlas, a website that makes it super easy for anyone to make cool maps based on data they have. We just released the beta, so you’re all invited to come and play with it. Or read on for some more background information…

At the end of 2010 I had a meeting with Alper, who asked if I was available for a helping him with building a kick-ass mapping application that would make it super easy for lay people to create visualizations. Sort of a bigger, better version of an app he made previously, Dutchstats. Making an editor for maps using 100% web technologies had never been done before (not counting flash, obviously) so it was a really exciting project and I jumped at the chance.

Statlas was built by a combined team of us at Fluxility, Monster Swell and Alexander Zeh. We took care of the development, Monsterswell took the lead and Alexander Zeh made the graphics.

We quickly settled on using Polymaps for the mapping and Django for the back-end. Starting out, I explored what was possible with Polymaps. I wrote a little tool to process geoJson files in the Dutch “Rijksdriehoekscoordinaten” format to a format that Polymaps supported, and within an afternoon I had a working copy of the aforementioned Dutchstats (but with six linked maps!)

Then came the hard work. Building the editor and viewer, linking up the values with the parts on the map and autogenerating the colour scheme. That turned out to be a bit longer process, and integrating it nicely with the Django backend took a fair couple of months.

This first version is something I’m really proud of. It’s the first mapping editor made fully in web technologies that’s easy enough for normal people to use, and the maps are then very easily distributable, via embedding, linking or printing.

Municipalities I’ve been to … That I can remember!

So, that’s Statlas. Check it out and let me know what you think!