Mapping Mashups

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Facilitated by Rebecca White, Chicago Technology Cooperative

We'll look at some examples of free software and data sources online, then collaboratively build a simple mashup map to demonstrate a typical use case. The session will also cover the basics of data integration and API (application programming interface) usage, as well as touch on simple and common GIS (geographical information systems) tools like Google Earth and Mapnik.


Notes: Drupal Geo Spacial Development

questions

• basic steps to making a map mashup • cool new ideas; ways to use maps better • geo polling reporting system • address-less mapping; how to handle sites with multiple locations or that apply to regions rather than points; (legal services regions; halfway houses that don't publish the street address)


Nathan has developed Android and iPhone apps that use mapping; Google wants to know what nonprofits need; Wikimedia wants to know what they could be doing; Rabble does a lot of geo hacking on stuff;

Flickr re-engineered place definitions by mining tag data and place name tags to document human geography (what are the locations that people tag with "san francisco" vs. the political boundaries of the city and county of san francisco)

Drupal Location module allows you to add lat/long to a node and from there produce geo rss that you can place on maps.

Views module lets you place results of a view on a googlemap; Google API and also gmap module w/in drupal lets you pull in and place geo rss feeds;

geo.module understands spatial features better.

location.module stores an address and latitude and longitude geo.module uses postgis or mysqlspatial to store places GIS-like;

Output KML? Geo module doesn't, but another module could output geomodule data as KML.

There is also geo-django, which is django and is pretty damn good. It uses PostGIS.

MySQL spatial doesn't fully implement some specs, which creates problems.

PostGRes and the postGIS module are excellent; possibly the best; unfortunately most people don't use postgres.

collecting data

via mobile apps -- can you hook in? Submit report API; submit coordinates: Stuff Nathan is working on.

Fire Eagle is a service that takes information about where you are and geo-codes it to facilitate sharing of your location with applications that speak to Fire Eagle (you can tell twitter you're on the steps of 672 Pres Park Way but Facebook that you're in Oakland)

Opportunities

Google.org is offering geo challenge grants to develop geo content; open source cms modules; etc.


Understanding GIS Shapes and lines are more challenging than points because people don't work on them as much;

a shapefile is a standardized thing that defines geographic shapes

Other display end options Open Layers Googlemaps


Challenge

Mapping legal services: some places are walk in; some places serve areas but you want them to show up on a comprehensive map;

mapping things doesn't always make sense;

some things require people and human intelligence

flickr machine tags are a good model for thinking about this stuff; type colon specifics --

Geo doesn't compare locations; location doesn't compare locations; but location will geo code an address and geo will store polygons and if you know GIS you can then compare the point (location) to a polygon / shape file.

the Yahoo Maps API can facilitate some of these comparisons, too.

Data Sources

geocommons.org collects geo data sets; their map maker service will let you overlay data sets; stamen in san francisco has a "modest maps" map visualization thing; google earth can handle many many points by filtering the number you see at one point; javascript breaks down around (?x) map points


Worth Looking At

healthycity.org -- LA public health geo database for Los Angeles County habitatmap.org -- mapping sources of pollution in New York City; social network. mysociety.org.uk -- heatmaps and transport times and housing costs;