In a few weeks, Polypane version 1.0 will be released. In these past few months I’ve been hard at work getting everything ready for that release. The process has very little to do with the app itself and much more with creating the infrastructure around it. I thought it would be interesting to go through this…
Statlas beta release
Statlas is no longer online
For the past few months me and the rest of my company 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, 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!
It sounds simple, and as a result the app is simple to use. It works with you, not against you. …
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