Blog Posts in Sep 2016


Mapworks subtleties - Feature CRUD

21 Sep, 2016

...How does stuff get drawn on the map and what is the best way to do it for different use cases?

Some history...

X marks the spotIn the very beginning there was a bit of charcoal and the blank parchment; upon which the waterhole was marked, and a carefully drawn trail... read more


The blank parchment with the waterhole and carefully drawn  trail  was then augmented with other locations... that tree with forbidden fruit, the Grizzly bear that chomped the mother in law, the witch doctor that gave her a peg leg, the all night pharmacy for her pain, the liquor store for yours, Pirate treasure (X never marks the spot), MH370, speed camera locations, and globe.update.gladiators .

Before long Gutenberg made wood-block-mass-produced-maps a "thing". Maps could now be defaced in new ways, including the art of Redlining. This is either a way to deny certain demographic profiles access to privilege, or a key process in the correction in architectural diagrams.

To avoid confusion and negative connotations let's call redlining "highlighting" or "markup" in this digital age. Despite the ambiguities the latter is richer and a more accurate description.

External or Internal CRUD?

Data CRUD (Create Read Update Delete) has many mechanisms and dependencies. How does a product such as Mapworks untangle this?

Data CRUD for systems external to Mapworks (from Desktop GIS to Speadsheets) may generate the stuff for Data layers to be imported into Mapworks but will retain authority. The maintenance of Data through external CRUD may at first glance be outside of the scope of Mapworks. It is however an area that the Mapworks Roadmap will be focusing on soon. Right now Mapworks can already ingest common data files.

Data CRUD internal to Mapworks will depend upon whether the data will be maintained as layers within Mapworks, whether it is ephemeral in nature and "Markup" or CRUD'ed dynamically from external systems using Mapworks as a simple visualisation system.

Simplifying complexity

How to decide?

Let's assume the Waterhole and the path are part of a dataset that Mapworks maintains for all users. This data can be incorporated into any map, and that map can be augmented.

  • The tree with the forbidden fruit is maintained by a higher authority through unknown means.
    • That authority placed the data in Mapworks. They may grant and revoke access to it, and they may move it to an ethereal plane that doesn't have a CRS maintained by Mapworks!. Even though it is there, even though at some point in time you had access to it, even though you placed it carefully on your map... It mysteriously comes and goes.
    • The tree is only copied into Mapworks as data. There is an unknown data management process.
  • The Grizzly isn't great at GIS,
    • During hibernation someone gave him a nice new collar. As the beast comes out of hibernation the IoT tracking device kicks in.
    • The IoT uses a message broker hooked into the Studio API to "paint" the location onto the map. It even goes red if he's angry and fades away if the battery goes flat.
    • There is no Grizzly data in Mapworks. Location and geofencing is only displayed using the Markup API from latitude and longitude.
  • The Mother in Law just liked her old parchment map and ignored the signs.
  • The Witch Doctor has his office location on his website.
    • He used the native Mapworks Studio to create a markup layer and place a marker. He then used an iframe to embed a Mapworks map into Wordpress.
    • The location is stored with the map in Mapworks, and not as a data layer. Magic security sauce is applied.
  • The "whats-close" application stores lots of data on Mapworks.
    • It asks Mapworks to do a REST API processing request for the nearest pharmacy/liquor-store combination and then a studio Markup API call to draw an ephemeral line on the map to connect the points. Now you know the quickest path to stop the pain.
    • Data and processing is done on Mapworks through an external application.
  • In your mother in law's peg leg you find half of an old pirate shape-file.
    • Once you drag and dropped it into Mapworks it only gives you half the map.
    • The data is not properly maintained on Mapworks you decide to search for the data custodian.
  • While searching the Indian Ocean you find MH370 and, lo and behold, the other half of the Pirate shape file.
  • Avoiding Speed cameras you rush back and upload the file into the same map.
    • With both halves of the map now in your Mapworks account you find the treasure marks X at globe.update.gladiators.