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GeoCommons Maker! discover geospatial data and mashup data to create and share your own map PDF Print E-mail
Written by Glenn Letham   
30 September 2008
You may already be familiar with the cool, GeoCommons Finder! web service (http://finder.geocommons.com/) enabling users to discover a wealth of geospatial data being shared with the community. Well now, this week the developers will be rolling out even more functionality to the GeoCommons portfolio in a service called Maker! Using GeoCommons Maker!, users can create a user account, search and discover data, save their maps, and share them. Obviously, the key component of Maker! is the "create" component. Once logged in, creating your own map is a snap. Search the vast data holdings and preview data, then create a custom my by adding your own clever title, add data, them your data in a number of ways, select a base map of choice from a number of open data providers (think Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft, Open StreetMap), then save your map in your directory along with your own description and tags so others can discover it.



Recall, if you don't need to create your own maps, you can also simply search and discover via Finder! then save a copy of the dataset as a Google KML file, SHP file, or CSV if applicable.

Creating your own map is simple:
Assign a Basemap to your map
Microsoft, Google, or Yahoo!, Open StreetMap, NASA BlueMarble (if applicable) using roads, satellite, hybrid, terrain, or a solid view and set the tint level as desired.
For data creators, use Finder! to upload and share your data with others

An interesting user scenario... Imagine, with thousands of user-contributed data products available, conducting a search yields many result. For example, search oil and you'll have access to Hurricane Ike's Potential Impact on Oil. What's way cool is to see maps saved by others... perhaps one that mashes together the following data: wikipedia global oil, NOAA forecast of storm force wind speed, and top oil producers.


Start off by Finding data

Data showing almost any variable you can imagine is available! 

Many pre-defined categories of data are provided

Once you locate data you can easily download and save in multiple formats 


About Maker

Maker is a browser-based application for creating online maps from GeoData.
What used to take days now takes minutes. Maker puts the power to make a stunning interactive maps in your hands. Upload your own data, or combine it with a wealth of public source datasets. Maker is brought to you by FortiusOne.
A detailed user manual (online) is also available

Features of Maker!

- Maker Homepage, provides a search for Maker maps, a count of you maps and a link to "My Maps", a list of popular shared maps, a video introduction to Maker, and a brief explanation of Maker.
- My Maps is your collection of maps you have created. From here you can view, edit, share or unshare, and delete maps you have created.
- Make/Edit a Map, which use the size of the symbols to show how much of something exists at either geographic points or areas, such as attendance numbers for sports teams or concert venues.
- Profile is where you can find information about your GeoCommons account and edit your account information.
Maker allows you to create professional-looking interactive maps from a wide variety of geographic data in only a few minutes. Maker runs right in your web browser and allows you to very easily publish and share maps as part of a web page or in e-mail so that your friends, family, and co-workers can also see and interact with the maps youíve created. You donít need to be an expert in cartography to use Maker. It will walk you through the map-making process, highlighting some important decisions and providing suggestions.
Because Maker is fully integrated with Finder, itís very easy to find and add different data to your map. You can also add your own data to these maps by uploading it through Finder.
Maker gives you the ability to combine different data to map multiple themes at the same time. For example, you could make a map to show how population density and home prices are related. It is these kinds of multivariate thematic maps that really allow you to explore data and uncover new insights. 

My First Maker! Map 

The first step in creating your map using Maker! is locating data - I searched for FCC wireless subscribers for my map 

I can then select the style for thematic display

Options for classification of data are presented with samples 

Then assign color ramp, symbology, even cartographic effects like shadow and opacity. 

Preview the map prior to saving it 

Select a basemap from a number of options including Google maps, Yahoo!, Microsoft Virtual Earth, Open StreetMap 

Save your map and share it 


Maker! will be available for users on or about October 1, 2008. The truly impressive things that you'll find with this fine web service include:
- access to a wealth of geospatial data shared by the GIS Community - you'll be amazed that Geo data on almost any topic is likely available... if not, it likely will be soon!
- a simple and very effective UI enabling you to create amazing, beautiful maps in no time at all
- access to base map data from all the big online map services
- store and share your maps with others
- It's simple, useful, and it works! 


Last Updated ( 30 September 2008 )
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