Home > Design, GIS > My favorite new site

My favorite new site

2009/03/23

is Author Mapper. I like that you can search for GIS using GIS. This baby’s got it all – mapping, search, minimalist charting on the side, and access to knowledge. I geek out a bit every time I visit it. 

First, I’m really digging the clustering that they have. It’s obvious that the marker represents some multiple without interfering with the classification from most to least articles. Clicking on it zooms you in to the area and disaggregates the points. Nice and simple for the user.

author_mapper1

I also appreciate that they made an effort with the markers. So often these days, you see just the basic Google markers on any kind of GMaps site. It seems like we were promised this fantastic platform for geographic visualization, it would democratize online mapping, and it could only get better – we’d get better polyline functionality, then better polygon functionality, skies the limit, but instead we just get thousands of piddly little mashups with the same markers. I’m feeling a little betrayed, I think. 

Anyway, below the fold, you also get some basic charts to give you a quick idea of top producers. And each of the charts provides you with a way to filter or reorganize the results without relying on some massive search form. None of it interferes with the map. And there’s plenty of space for the citations.

author_mapper2

Example chart (with results filtered by year as noted by the darker line). My only issue with this particular graphic is that it’s not clear without hovering what year is associated with the bars.

Part of my fondness for the site is that, when I first searched the site for GIS, I came across several papers about volunteer GI projects that were not only timely for my current work but also solved an issue we had had with classifying our work. It’s not really public participation (that implies more of a two-way communication) and it certainly isn’t a mashup since we are compiling the data ourselves. 

Finally, the color scheme of the site actually works with the map. You know when you’re looking at a Google Map, but it doesn’t stick out nearly as much as it could.

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