Posts Tagged ‘google maps

First Crowdsourced Project.

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The Image above is a static screenshot of dynamic, interactive and crowdsourced map I created to map people from School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi and see how they are distributed all over the world. I initially circulated within my batch and later in a broader group and the response has been really good so far with the counter crossing 100 as of yesterday.Though it is not some thing really advanced or jaw dropping, I am really excited to see how easy it is to collect and visualize data (especially geographic) if one knows the right tools. The tools used are MySQL server, Apache (PHP) server, JavaScript (with jQuery), Google Maps API v3, Chrome and Sublimetext.

The visualisation is similar to what I did for the IRIS competition earlier but the difference is in the backend. Instead of reading a preset datafile and displaying it, this map here has a MySQL database in backend and queries it through PHP and visualises the result. It also has PHP based POST mechanism to send data to the database from the user. The best part is that none of the data in the image above is collected or entered by me (except for my two data points). It is rather generated by the people who individually entered their own locations.

An Eye on IRIS – Competition Entry

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Our team (Daniel, Kostas and I) have just finished doing 3 entries for the  competition – An eye on IRIS, which aims to produce visualization of the data on esteems won by UCL researchers all around the world for which had been provided with a small subset of the IRIS database.

The major aspects of the work was Geo-coding the database using the address/organisation information present in it and Visualizing the database so that it gives both overall and detailed information about the database. We spent a lot of time and energy in the cleaning and organizing the data using Omniscope (credits: Dan) and then used Omniscope, JavaScript, Google Maps API and Processing  to visualize it. Below is one of the three visualizations produced by the team which uses JS and Google Maps API. The interactive version of the visualizations can be found at

An Eye on IRIS - Competition Entry

This particular visualisation uses heatmapLayer feature from the visualisation library, marker clusterer from markercluster.js, geodesic lines for the flow lines and CSS+ JavaScript to display the info window.

Written by sbmkvp

June 30, 2013 at 9:44 pm

Experiments with Google Maps API

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After spending lot of time with the KML documentation and C, It was time for me to go beyond the associated platform restrictions (C programs are compiled for a single platform) and start doing the computing and displaying maps on the web. This sparked my venture into the Google maps API and  JavaScript.

The starting point of this entire exercise was my short internship with Report Bee (A tech start-up with the vision to revolutionize the education industry).  My job there was to inquire into the ways in which geographic visualization can enrich the analysis of the data present in the results of public examinations in Tamil Nadu and device a frame work for its implementation. It was an amazing ride to for me to start from absolutely zero, with an oversimplified view of things and vague ideas and go on to find out that the whole thing is neither simple nor easy as I thought. Though the exercise proved to have an extremely large scope to be covered in such a short internship, I picked up a lot of knowledge while figuring out my way.

My first challenge, after getting lost in the quagmire of tools and platforms, was to finalize a platform to  learn and work on. The main dilemma was between Google Maps and Open Street Maps. While I liked the freedom and openness of OSM with the base data for the maps, I also found Google Maps really compelling, with its relatively simple JavaScript API and extensive documentation. Though there was a lot of restrictions introduced in Google Maps recently, I chose it over OSM considering its simplicity and my previous experience with KML. Moreover almost all the maps API (Google maps, Map-Box, Bing Maps etc.) had JavaScript in the core so I thought may be it won’t be hard to learn to use others platforms if I get used to one of them.

So after almost three weeks of wrestling with Google Maps API and JavaScript. The end result was that I was able to produce a website with a custom styled map highlighting some of the features in the base map with some kind of user input to point location and has an implementation of Geo-coding API for finding and navigating to addresses. The whole process was extremely interesting and especially JavaScript surprised me with its simplicity and flexibility. I have attached a screenshot of the result below and the website can be viewedhere. (

Experiments with Google Maps API.


The map highlights all the parks in green colour. The instruction are as below

  1. Zoom and Pan can be done through the mouse as it is done in Google Maps.
  2. Clicking on the map creates a Placemark and adds it to the map.
  3. The ‘Eye’ button on the top right corner toggles the visibility of the Placemarks.
  4. Double clicking the eye clears all the Placemarks.
  5.  The search box below navigates to the location typed on pressing the ‘return’ key.

Since I have covered a lot of basics in this exercise (Customized Base map, simple ways to input and output data, rudimentary ways to build a UI over the map), my next step would be learning to organize a data sets in a server side database and plotting it on the map and also to look into the Open Street Map API parallelly.

Update (21 August 2013): Was randomly reading about the Google speech recognition API for chrome and stumbled upon a simple way to integrate speech based input fields in websites. Updated the search box with speech recognition. In my trials it looks clean enough and works well enough. Wish there were more options in controlling the behaviour of the box but I think its just a matter of figuring out.

Update (21 August 2013): Updated the speech recognition again. Now press “ctrl+shift+.” and speak the place name the page directly takes you there. No more clicking and pressing enter.

Written by sbmkvp

October 29, 2012 at 4:21 am