anniversary present? let's make a world map tool!

Hi folks. I’ve been on the forum 365 days today. Thanks to everyone for all the amazing help and for sharing your insightful discussions and for openly working together to build and improve tools and for teaching me and others.

I would love (another) present from the community: collective contributions toward a map tool that makes it extremely easy to highlight country colors and to assign values so that a simple user (such as myself) can easily generate a data-driven chloropleth map of the word. That is, something similar to Jeremy’s ‘World Life Expectancy’ maps and Chris Henrick’s ’ SF Bay Area Jobs Viz SVG Exporter’… but re-cast as a utility for easily connecting data, modifying map design and downloading. These few components I feel would be extra awesome:

  • If it could start with a globe - like this one, which outlines states and overlays data - but with a flatten on button-click/selection… something that would effect a transition to a flat projection, like this
  • if, once flat, one could toggle through several projections, a la Torben Jansen and Mike
  • If the projection could be shifted around using a few inputs, like sliders and coordinate inputs for map centering–sort of like this, but allowing users to effect rotation, etc.
  • re-constituting data inputs (map rotation, centering, etc) as outputs – numbers that feed into map boundaries, scales and projection information

… I’ll be working toward several of these objectives independently myself, but I imagine this might be a tool that lots of people would appreciate, so I thought I’d raise the idea here. I also realize there’s already a lot here and it’s really the tip of the iceberg for a tool that would really help to allow non-technical users (such as myself) to begin to use JavaScript and Observable to combine data manipulation and mapping. It’ll probably take me another year to accomplish much of this idea, so I thought I would raise it here in case anyone feels like taking on a random Observable project and giving me a speed boost. I’ll contribute to the extent I am able and will share with the community as I continue to learn.

Thanks again, everyone!


I continue to be amazed by, and am grateful for, these generous gifts:

To elaborate a bit more on the fourth point above - I am particularly interested in capturing and representing, as axis labels and legend information. I.e. affixing elements like stylized compas, etc.

While I haven’t made too much headway towards this concept over the last month or so, many others on Observable have.

Lauren Nishizaki has a couple handy map tools, and I made extremely minor edits to one of Lauren’s notebooks to allow users to more easily toggle countries and projections:

Also helpful is Rob | LabsMap Grids & Scales in SVG, which relates to my idea about adding map labels, scales, etc. as part of dynamic legends.

And another notebook that seems to be working toward this general concept is Tilting the Satellite by Jeshurun Hembd

Thanks Observable Community! You are all so inspiring!