Mapping and mashup tools

Mapping and mashup tools

Where data has a geographical aspect it makes sense to show it on a map. This section profiles tools that can help you do that quickly and easily.

a free, easy-to-use web service that automatically maps news from any RSS feed.

Rssmapper puts information from RSS feeds on a Google Map that you can embed in your own website or blog.
Online

many people are primarily interested in information from a specific country or city and Rssmapper makes it extremely easy to show your - or someone else’s - information on a map. In doing so, Rssmapper will be as precise as the location information in the RSS feeds. This can be a country, a town or a part of a city – basically anything that Google Maps will recognize.

powerful desktop software to create three-dimensional maps of the world onto which you can overlay your own information.

You can add your own information to the Google Earth globe and create stunning three-dimensional visualizations.
Desktop but with internet connection

even simple visualisations with Google Earth look impressive. This is also the reason why so many news organizations use Google Earth on TV.

desktop software which can turn Geographic Information System (GIS) based data into beautiful thematic maps.

A basic map in TileMill. The CSS editor is on the right, a peview of the map on the left.
Desktop (Windows, Mac OS X, Ubuntu)

once you have grasped the basics, being creative is more easy in TileMill then in Google Maps or Google Fusion Tables. While the Google products are excellent for specific purposes such as simple heat maps, TileMill gives you much more flexibility in the design of your maps. However, initially the learning curve for TileMill is steeper than in these consumer-oriented products. Take a look at the examples to get a better idea of what is possible with TileMaps.

a free tool that automatically extracts content from websites and publishes it in different formats which you can reuse.

A dapp that finds photos about the Occupy-movement on Flickr

you can create data feeds for websites that don’t offer a Rich Site Summary (RSS) feed or whose feed is too general for your purposes.

You could for example create an RSS feed for the “Visualisation and Resources” page of “Drawing by Numbers” (see images for how this would be done) and then embed that feed on your blog.

a free online tool that enables you to grab, mix and filter data before displaying the results in feeds, lists or on maps.

This Yahoo Pipe finds shelter-related news in 23 online sources.
Online

you can take data feeds from multiple sources, merge them with Yahoo pipes into one feed, filter the information and then use the results as a new source for any application that can accept data feeds.
For example: you could grab all Rich Site Summary (RSS) feeds for police reports from around the country, filter them by keywords in the headline such as “drugs” or “prostitution” and then add the result as a new RSS feed to a Ushahidi installation so that the reports can be mapped.

NEW WORKTHROUGH showing how we created a heat map.

World Bank Data over the last 60 years
Online

it's easy to use and will accept most types of data you enter into it. Unlike Google Maps it can handle thousands of plot points by blurring points together into larger points that can illustrate particular concentrations in certain locations.

a website to collect, show and share information about a series of events like an election or a crisis as it unfolds in real time, or after the fact.

Ushahidi Cairo harass map
Online

it's specifically design to show data about events and incidents, and you can create a map very quickly by using Crowdmap, a service provided by Ushahidi.

a free online map of the world, created by it users.

OpenData
Online. Desktop, by installing software like QGIS.

you can search the map for the street, town or country you want and then download a map of it that you can change myself.

a free-to-use, searchable online map of the world that you can use to show your own data.

Greenpeace recycle map
Online

using Google's "My Places" feature you can make your data more fun to explore by placing pictures, videos or other information on top of a map.

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