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Sanjay Gangal
Sanjay Gangal
Sanjay Gangal is the President of IBSystems, the parent company of, MCADCafe, EDACafe.Com, GISCafe.Com, and ShareCG.Com.

WorldMap by the Center for Geographic Analysis (CGA) at Harvard

May 17th, 2012 by Sanjay Gangal

Article source: Worldmap

The WorldMap platform is being developed by the Center for Geographic Analysis (CGA) at Harvard to lower barriers for scholars who wish to explore, visualize, edit, collaborate with, and publish geospatial information.  WorldMap is Open Source software.

The system attempts to fill a growing niche between powerful desktop-bound mapping applications, and lightweight web map solutions with limited capacity.

If you find WorldMap data or technology useful in your research we would love to hear from you.  Understanding how the system is being used and where it needs improvement is critical as we evolve the system together.

WorldMap provides researchers with the ability to:

  • Upload large datasets and overlay them up with thousands of other layers
  • Create and edit maps and link map features to rich media content
  • Share edit or view access with small or large groups
  • Export data to standard formats
  • Make use of powerful online cartographic tools
  • Georeference paper maps online (
  • Publish one’s data to the world or to just a few collaborators

Overview of WorldMap – a talk given to ABCD Harvard Technology group by Ben Lewis in November, 2011.

Below is a getting started video.

WorldMap users can upload their own mapping data to the system or bring layers in from WorldMap’s growing library.  Researchers can also incorporate map layers residing on other servers using web map services and WorldMap’s ability to save such layers.

WorldMap benefits from using mapping APIs such as Google and OpenStreetMaps for providing general purpose map backdrops, but the system is not dependent on any particular web map API.

Open Access, Open Source

WorldMap is open to the world to use and is hosted on Amazon’s EC2 cloud infrastructure. This makes setting up new WorldMap instances for collaborators inexpensive.

The WorldMap platform is Open Source software which means the source code which makes it work can be examined, improved upon, and extended by researchers and developers around the world.  Because it is open source, new functionality can often be added rapidly at relatively low cost.

Here is a wonderful explanation of why Open Source software matters.

WorldMap source code.

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