A baby step towards my interactive map application using Leaflet JavaScript

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This is how my national GDP interactive map looks like on the local host. You could watch my first ever video record on YouTube of this interactive map. A brief introduction of the map and also the codes using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. This was a very simple example I made to test some of my ideas.

If you remember my last blog that I present an interactive map host via ESRI ArcGIS Online.  After my data was successfully uploaded, I found several issues that I don’t like about it:

  1. Even though ESRI ArcGIS Online have a super nice format that you could visualize the spatial data in a pretty way, but the data loading from the site is very slow, AND IT’S COULD BE VERY EXPENSIVE. I am at my 60 days free trial at this point and I believe if I wanna use the server and do some data analysis on ArcGIS Online I have to buy their credits;
  2. The way of data presenting is restricted to the certain format depends on how you select the web map format from ESRI.

I use quite a bit of R, and I know that there are two packages in R called Shiny and Leaflet For R might help me develop the idea. I was so thrilled to find these packages, I feel a bright light shine on my road and point to the destination I wanna head to, and I found a perfect example that my web map application will look like especially the case of  American Super Zipcode. There are not only an interactive map but also while you zoom in and out you could also show some statistic results on the right side of the map. It’s too cool.

But I was so disappointed too while I found out developing a web application through Shiny and Leaflet for R would not be free, because I still need a server to host my data and APP once they could be share. However, at the point that I only need to test my ideas.

I gave up the two methods I found above and even checked out Mapbox Studio and Cartodb, two of the most popular online interactive map and visualization platform. But they are for developers (you still could use it without coding background, though), but I wanna have some features that require coding in Javascript. Leaflet JavaScript library is the last and best way I could use, which could give me enough freedom to figure out the functions/features for my application, and even the interactive analytical tools that I could put up over there. Now I also find D3 might be even more attractive because it hosts a bigger JS library that not only for the interactive map but also other online interactive way of data visualization.

I got a lot help from briefing through some YouTube videos (that’s the reason I recorded a video myself and hope it could be helpful to another struggling beginner like myself). Learn quite a lot of new things like GeoJson and GeoJson-vt. GeoJson is a geodata format for JavaScript, which is equal to shapefile for ArcGIS and QGIS. If your dataset is bigger than 1 M, the data loading to your website would slow down, so the founder of leaflet JS library wrote a vector tile JS codes (GeoJson-vt) to speed up the shapefile data loading process.

Here is my HTML, CSS and JavaScript code for the application you see in the video, You could also find me and my codes on GitHub

 

Open source data of Great Mekong Region

My growing interests to Mekong area have also grown my spatial data collection in the area. Just some random stuffs, and you probably knew I love open source data, and really love to visualize the date.  If you guys are interested in collaboration on geospatial  data analysis, data visualization on research, writing, mapping, just let me know.

These are free datasets I collected and am also trying to digitize more data for the region. These are not for commercial use, if you are interested in using in research, conservation purpose. I would love to make my contribution to visualize the data.

All the data and maps present here are used analysis and cartography tool on  ArcGIS desktop, ArcGIS Online and QGIS.

Soil map in Mekong:

Screenshot-2015-10-15_15.41.24

More details please visit my ArcGIS online map: Soil map in Great Mekong Region

Drought, typhoon risks and biodiversity conservation in Great Mekong Region.

 Screenshot-2015-10-15_15.55.30

biodiversity hotspots, TNC ecoregion, drought and tropical storm data layers

 You could turn on and of the legend on the map.

ArcGIS v.s. QGIS: which one works better

ESRI_ARCMAP_transparenteV.S. trademark

Recently, I’ve been asked which GIS software is the best between QGIS and ArcGIS. It’s quite obvious already that these two are the most popular, and better geospatial analysis tools out there and people who do spatial analysis have noticed. Both of them have huge user groups, and you could get lots of help online. Even though you might want to check out these other tools, including SAGA GIS, GRASS, some R geospatial analysis packages.
Let’s go back to ArcGIS and QGIS, GISGeography, have pull the reviews of these two software together that ArcGIS has been received 9.2 out of 10 score, and QGIS is 8.9. Each of them have the constrains, but also have something that stands out definitely.

ESRI ArcGIS 10.3
PROS
-Solid geoprocessing framework
-Boatloads of symbology choices
-Beautiful 3D software options
-ArcGIS Online data warehouse
-Extraordinary topology editing
CONS
-Some data types consumption
-Obtaining license for basic tools
-High cost

QGIS 2.1
PROS
-QGIS GPL license offers freedom
-Beautiful labeling options
-Wide range of GIS analysis tools
-Amazing data consumption
-Plugins help your customized tasks
CONS
-Lack of 3D integration
-Graphical modeller is buggy
-No automatic topology error fixing

At this point, I would say it really just depends on your preference, your needs and questions. I’ve used ArcGIS for very long time, and have just tried out QGIS recently. The summary of differences between these two are based on my personal experience, this cool blog and other resources.
TBLE GIS

Simply, if you are more analytical personality and are more into geo-informatics , ArcGIS will be a great investment. If you wanna just produce good looking map, QGIS is free and could be a good choice. If you do more 3D demonstration go for ESRI products. If you are in the united states and wanna get a job here, ArcGIS will be right direction to go since all the state department and even private companies require ArcGIS skills and knowledge. ArcGIS has more hand-on example, QGIS has a good tutorial as well, but since ArcGIS has bigger and better educational team, you would get more help and tutorial online for ArcGIS. However, if you are outside of the united states, and English is not your first language, I would recommend QGIS, since QGIS have more different language build-in. If you are going to use some simple geospatial function to fulfill your research/academic and simple mapping skill rather than more profound geospatial analysis, i would also say QGIS. If you are already doing a lot of MATLAB and R coding I would say, QGIS might be a better choice outside of the states even though ArcGIS have its technical support teams in other countries besides in the states.
Last tip that QGIS could run on Mac and windows, but ArcGIS only could run on windows so far if you are not using python scripting for ArcGIS.

Why it has to be an ESRI certification?

After I signed up an ESRI ArcGIS certification exam, I felt regret immediately. It just sounds a bit  stupid that whoever wanna be certified that how good and efficient of they could use a software (platform), even though people do that all the time. As some of you might know that I just moved to the states from China and recently have been looking for a job as a geospatial analyst. Every single job that I wanna apply have a sentence directs to ESRI and ArcGIS skillets e.g. “GIS-related applications including…… ESRI ArcGIS Online, and ArcGIS Suite (ArcMap, ArcSDE, ArcCatalog, etc.”. That’s the initial reason I signed up for the certification exam from ESRI, if I could think of one. Of course I am also very curious that why people are so obsessed with ESRI since there are several alternative tools out there could get spatial analysis done.  Don’t get me wrong that I’ve been using ESRI products for years, and I think they are super powerful, only thing I really need is showing the proof that I could do the spatial analysis to the future employer.
I am just trying to think one or two things might explain why I need a certification and why it has to be from ESRI. Firstly, why we need a certification on GIS:
  1. Geospatial technology is a growing industry itself, and a lot of employers need to identify the future employees who claim they got the skill-sets they want;
  2. There are no a really good certification that could be pursued in the geo-industry standard really, and GISP sounds supper high-ends that only 7000 people have it and 5000 of them are in the states. For whom are in the field and wanna take the exam, Geographic Information System Certification Institute (GISCI) just announced a GIS profession certificate exam several days ago: http://www.directionsmag.com/pressreleases/gisci-announces-exam-application-period/454179.
These two reasons are what I could think about why I need a GIS certification to certify people who have the skill sets. But why it has to be the ESRI certifications. I’ve been asking around that why in GIS professional groups. I posted a question on GIS group to ask people “if having a certification from ESRI would really help me find a job in the states”. There were no direct question for it, if you’re interested in seeing how people responded to that you could go to: https://www.linkedin.com/grp/post/49657-6042661347865489408. To answer that why it has to be ESRI certification:
  1. ESRI has included the dominated geospatial skill-sets that an industry/company could asks for, from very basic desktop analysis skills to enterprise big data analysis;
  2. ESRI has a 43% of share in GIS market, and the second-largest supplier share 11%, which tells that ESRI is leading the geospatial Market; They are keeping the core GIS coming from many talented employees, and ESRI’s core GIS is used by more than two-third of Fortune 500 companies;
  3. ESRI has great educational platform. I mentioned in my last blog post that ESRI is promoting it’s ArcGIS Online, the online campus classes have more than 5000 students participated and the number is growing everyday; Other than that they also have a lot of free online tutorials (some are not) for people from beginner to developer;
  4. The marketing strategy is selling stories rather than fancy technical functions that ESRI ArcGIS could preforms. I am a huge fan of them since I brought 6 big books last year and went through most of them. they are: ESRI ArcGIS Desktop Associate Certification exam book, GIS Tutorial Basic Workbook, GIS Tutorial Spatial Analysis Workbook, GIS Tutorial Advanced Workbook, Python scripting for ArcGIS and The ESRI Guide to GIS Analysis. The real-world problems/stories that provided behind the data and spatial analysis just keep motivating me to try more and learn more. The overall theory behind the problems/stories are very solid, and I feel the hand-on analysis exercises, solving the real world story, really enhance the knowledge and theory I learn.
  5. ESRI also provides some cool blogs, e-magzines, and materials that you could extent the knowledge as a GIS fan.

黎明

You’re welcomed to share any insights here.

More links about my work: