interactive map – test map up and running

Update, just in case anyone, anywhere ever reads this …

So, goings on — my friends Josh and Maxine were in town recently, and I got to go see their movie screening on Sunday at Santa Barbara, so that was very cool. I met a couple gents from Greenpeace, one of whom, at least, Josh and Maxine are have built a relationship with through the making of this film. I’ve pretty much decided that I’d rather work for an environmental nonprofit than just about anyone else, so I hope I’ll be in contact with those guys again. The movie is Musicwood, and it is nominated for a social justice award, so that’s exciting. Here’s the website: They’re headed to Missoula, Montana, Washington, D.C., and I think Seattle, Washington as well for film festivals in the not too distant future. Check it out.

And how about that interactive map? Well, I don’t think L.A. Waterkeeper would mind me saying that it is their website for which I’m making the map. I have a test map working, but I’ll wait to share until it’s better. But it’s going along pretty well. There were a few options, as mentioned in my previous post — OpenLayers, MapBox, ArcGIS Online — I decided to go with Google Maps API, because it’s pretty easy to use, has more tutorials and documentation than OpenLayers, seems to offer more in terms of adding links, icons, and so forth compared to ArcGIS Online, and there shouldn’t be any licensing issues for a nonprofit. I didn’t really look into MapBox as much — it does look pretty good, but really Google Maps just stood out to me as probably the best blend of being easy to learn, relatively quick to get set up, and though their basemap must be used, it can be styled using the Style Wizard to look very different, very uncluttered. I can add layers as KMLs, which allows for placemarks and line styles and all those sorts of things to be established within the code of the KML pretty easily. It’s a little tricky to muddle into, because the various GIS programs I’ve tried all do different things when exporting to KML — ArcMap allows you to set the colors, but it dumps all the attributes, and transparency must be added after export. QGIS did kind of a weird thing — the file I used had these simple but nice tables that showed in balloons when you click on a feature in Google Earth, and it kept all the attributes, but then in the Google Map none of that happens. It’s good to know the info is being retained within the KML, but I would have to restructure it to get it to display the way I want. Global Mapper so far is the best I’ve tried — it doesn’t have all the lovely qualitative color ramps of ArcMap, but it does keep the color, the transparency, and the attributes. It gives the features placemarks, which pop up a balloon containing a rather ugly and rudimentary little table, but I’m thinking maybe I can borrow the table style tidbits from the QGIS export as a template to make those tidier. So far, so good.

I think it’s going well, and I think the folks at Waterkeeper seem pretty pleased with what little I got going so far, and I think we’ll have it up on their website in a month or so, after which it will be all the sort of tweaks and refinements to improve it. Anyways, I wish I had more time, but my actual paying job has been keeping me busy. Plus there’s that pesky thesis I’m supposed to be working on.