Top 19 geovisualization tools, APIs and libraries that will let you create beautiful web maps

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Creating a good web map is not an easy task but over the years we’ve seen plenty of amazing geovisualization examples. Almost all of them have been developed with the use of one of the tools, APIs or libraries mentioned below.

If you think that we are missing something let us know in the comments.

1. Mapbox

Mapbox is a geo-visualization platform that gives easy to use set of tool for creating beautiful web and mobile maps. It offers users a full control over map styling (including background map) and has a lot of cool additional services such as satellite images, geocoding or directions.

mapbox-example
example: 1.5 Million Walks, Runs, and Bike Rides from RunKeeper mapped on Mapbox

2. CARTO

CARTO previously known as CartoDB is the best platform for complex and dynamic geospatial data visualization and analysis. But don’t be afraid it offers also a lot of drag and drop easy to use tools for newbies.

Flight around the world - Geoawesomeness
example: Flights around the world

3. ArcGIS Online

Esri has monopolized the field of GIS and is also one of the most popular geo visualization platforms. It offers easy to use, cloud based environment that allows creating beautiful story maps among other.

esri-online-example
example: 5 years of drought

4. HERE Data Lens

Here Data Lens is a set of APIs that provide a seamless developer experience for creation & deployment cool data visualisations. Most importantly it gives you an access to amazing HERE’s maps database with unique features like isoline routing.

here-api
example: Billboard analytics tool demo

5. Google Maps API

Google Maps offers a set of APIs for different mapping purposes. It offers access to Google’s mapping data that includes StreetView among others. You must have used plenty of Google Maps-based app without really knowing about it. Have you played GeoGuessr? It’s also based on Google Maps.

GeoGuessr-image---Geoawesomeness
example: GeoGuessr – StreetView based game?

6. D3.js library

D3.js is a JavaScript library that offers powerful data visualization features for producing dynamic, interactive data visualizations in web browsers. In fact many of the top visualizations done in aforementioned platforms also use D3 elements.

Earth
example: Earth wind visualization

7. Leaflet Javascript library

Leaflet an open-source JavaScript library for mobile-friendly interactive maps. If offers really powerful mapping features that commonly used for the best and most beautiful maps.

Isoscope - Geoawesomeness
example: Travel times map – HERE Isoline + Leaftet

8. OpenLayers 3 (library)

OpenLayers is an open source JavaScript library for displaying map data in web browsers. It provides an API for building web-based geographic app. Similar to Google Maps but for free).

open-layers-3-library
example: Bike sharing map

9. GIS Cloud

GIS Cloud is a web-based GIS platform. It designed for spatial analysis rather than map-based dashboards but it offers the fastest on the market performance as well as other cool features like 3D support.

gis-cloud-example
example: GIS Cloud

10. Mapzen API

Mapzen is a cool mapping company working on some amazing visual projects. It offers some unique and open mapping tools for developers.

mapzen_tangram_style
example: Mapzen Tangram engine

11. Maps4news

Maps4news is a platform that allows for designing cool looking maps online and downloading them in a vector format needed for printed media (and for editing by designers). There is some basic interactivity that you can add if you want to publish it online.

map4news-example
example: Maps4News

12. Tableau

Tableau is a Business Intelligence and Analytics tool that allows you to easily create interactive data dashboards and understand large data sets. It is not particularly dedicated to geospatial data but it offers quite advanced mapping features when you dig a bit deeper inside it.

tablue-map-example
example: London bus routes

13. CMaps Analytics

CMaps Analytics offers the advanced location analytics software solutions for enterprise allowing cool visualisations.

cmap-analytics-example
example: CMaps

14. Mapcite

MapCite is a geographic data visualization company that offers both a web mapping and Excel interface for users to analyze their location data.

mapcite-heatmap-example
example: Mapcite

15. MangoMap

MangoMap is a simple online mapping environment. It’s not as advanced as other platforms but it can help you with some simple mapping/gis tasks.

mangomap-example
example: MangoMap

16. Tilegram

Simple tool for plotting demographic data on a US county map.

tilegram-example
example: Tilegram

17. Infogr.am

Infogram is a web-based infographics platform that allows creating cartogram maps as one of the features. You can olny map maps per country but if this is what you need it’s one of the easiest tools out there.

infogram-example
example: Infogram

18. MapStack by Stamen

MapStack is a web-based tool that allows you to play around with OSM background map. You can easily choose one of the main map themes and then modify particular map layers like color, opacity, and brightness.

mapstack-by-stamen
example: MapStack

19. Kartograph (library)

Kartograph is a simple and lightweight Javascript and Phyton library for building interactive map applications without Google Maps or any other mapping service. It was created with the needs of designers and data journalists in mind.

Kartograph library
example: Kartograph 

 

Aleks Buczkowski
I'm a professional always thinking outside the box and a self-confessed gadget addict. As a son of a professor of cartography I was surrounded by maps all my life and as a result spatial way of thinking and seeing reality is naturally embedded in who I am.