UNDP and Mapufacture

Cross-posted to mapufacture blog

The UNDP Eastern Europe and Central Asia Bureau had a major relaunch of their Environment and Energy website for a major ministerial meeting in Belgrade last October. Maps were a big feature. And those maps were produced by Mapufacture Inc, in part utilising mapufacture.com.

There were two main tasks. A system to geotag UNDP environment projects, and a pretty map display. We decided to do both decoupled, in their way, from the UNDP CMS. Through RSS/GeoRSS it was just easy to link together the UNDP CMS and Mapufacture. The CMS produced an RSS feed of projects, and Mapufacture was set up to aggregate this feed. This was then made available for UNDP users for item level editing — dragging and positioning on the map. And as usual, Mapufacture made this feed available for export as GeoRSS, which was aggregated back by the UNDP.

Item level editing? Yes. Mapufacture has a lot of features built up but not just yet ready for launch, which line up even greater control over the GeoWeb for our users and customers. So from existing feeds, “private” copies can be made for editing, while still keeping them up to date from the source, or feeds can be created from scratch, and editing access controlled, etc. Sure elements of this have existed for a while here and there, but combined with Mapufacture’s existing tools and future features .. I’ll just say I’m pretty excited by what this all will offer.

Making a pretty map from that GeoRSS feed didn’t involved Mapufacture direct, but did invoke all our map making skills and hacks. Used Mapstraction to easily build marker filtering and brought back MGeoRSS for greater control over the loading of GeoRSS feeds — GMaps native GeoRSS handling just isn’t nuanced enough. The biggest trick was getting the map to display above the page. We were working within the limitations of the UNDP templates — and the middle column just didn’t provide enough space for the map to breath. Starting from leightbox I got the map overlaying on top of the other content properly .. that took a good deal of tweaking! And it uses anchors so that the back button works correctly and all.

So a fun project overall with the UNDP, pushing forward their technology, one of several I’m working on at the moment — not all map related but pretty interesting stuff. And we pushed forward Mapufacture. Perfect pushing.