24
Oct
08

Mapping with GeoCommons

GeoCommons is a new data visualization service from FortiusOne, a business intelligence firm based in the Washington DC area with a focus on mapping applications for the government market. GeoCommons operates two parallel services, Finder! and Maker!.

Finder! is a repository of user-contributed data sources. Very similar to infochimps, except that GeoCommons data tables must be contributed as CSV, with either lat/long or region columns.

Maker! takes tables stored in Finder! and produces a map visualization using Flash and imagery from Google Maps. It’s quite easy to use, and the maps produced by Maker are very attractive. Unfortunately the maps are currently not accessible outside the GeoCommons environment: there are no image or PDF output options, and the Flash maps cannot be embedded into external pages.

Maker! is strong tool for the final step of producing geographic visualizations, with mapping capabilities substantially ahead of what Many Eyes or Swivel offer today. I don’t yet classify GeoCommons as either collaborative (there’s no sharing or annotation) or analytical (no manipulation of data within the system).

GeoCommons is a strong new entrant to the field. The business model is unclear, but since FortiusOne has received a couple of rounds of funding since 2005 and presumably has a solid revenue stream from services there’s reason to hope that the GeoCommons product will have the opportunity to develop further.

See also PolicyMap, operated by the non-profit TRF based in Philadelphia. PolicyMap has a richer set of visualization options than GeoCommons, but there’s no facility for user-contributed content.

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1 Response to “Mapping with GeoCommons”


  1. October 24, 2008 at 8:58 pm

    Thanks for the coverage – appreciate you taking the time to check out the app. Good news is we have embeds and printing both running internally and just working on the best method by which to deploy them. There will also be collaborative and analytic features coming on board shortly.

    On the business model side we sell an enterprise appliance to government and commercial customers and will be providing support for private data and maps on public GeoCommons in the future. Happy to answer any other qustions that might be on interest.

    best,
    sean


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