Playing with new tools and old standards: GeoJSON, Leaflet, CartoDB across platforms

Leaflet, CartoDB, GeoJSON, and cross platform web map deployment. First some introductions:

Leaflet is a modern, lightweight open-source JavaScript library for interactive maps for desktop and mobile web browsers, developed by CloudMade to form the core of its next generation JavaScript API. Weighting just about 21kb of gzipped JS code, it still has all the features you will ever need for you web mapping needs while providing a fast, smooth, pleasant user experience.”

Not a bad description. There’s more maturity and flexibility to OpenLayers, but still much fun to be had with Leaflet. And as both are Open Source and competing in similar markets, they inform each other, and it’s fun to watch the friendly rivalry between the communities developing the libraries.

In an earlier post, I demonstrated the use of Leaflet in conjunction with CartoDB. What’s cartodb? From their web site:

“CartoDB allows you to map data & develop location aware applications quickly and easily. With plans starting from free, take CartoDB for a test drive today!”

CartoDB is a really slick hosted service (cloud) implementation of PostGIS, similar in some respects to fusion tables functionality. Don’t like the cloud it’s hosted on, or the associated prices? Well, it’s open source, so you can put it on your private cloud too, or set up physical linux machine to host it.

Mix these two things with 3 hours of insomnia the other night, and you get this:

Nice cross platform implementation!  These are pure vector deployed maps– served through Leaflet from CartoDB as GeoJSON.  Here shown deployed to a Blackberry, iPhone, Android, and Kindle Fire (also Android), which a buddy and I pulled up as we sat in a bar tonight.  We also took a picture of this with a windows laptop also running the page for demonstrable non-webkit deployment, but this was the better (albeit fuzzy) picture.  Ah, the wonders of Open Standards.  Next time, we’ll see if we can get a Windows Mobile phone in there, along with Mac, Windows, and Linux desktops.

Still, for now GeoServer and OpenLayers are my babies for deploying GeoSpatial data, but there are a few different ways to deploy through Open Standards using Open Source software, and it’s fun to draw a little from the other geospatial tribes.

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