Uber releases free geospatial analysis application

Uber releases free geospatial analysis application

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kepler.gl is a data agnostic, high-performance web-based application for large-scale geospatial visualizations
kepler.gl is a data agnostic, high-performance web-based application for large-scale geospatial visualizations

Uber has released an open source geoanalytics tool kepler.gl. Built on top of the deck.gl WebGL data visualization framework, kepler.gl scales the map creation process by quickly gaining insights and validating visualization ideas from geospatial data.

The data visualization tool requires no coding and is already being used by AirBnB, Mapbox and Limebike.

“kepler.gl is a data-agnostic, high-performance web-based application for visual exploration of large-scale geolocation data sets. Built on top of deck.gl, kepler.gl can render millions of points representing thousands of trips and perform spatial aggregations on the fly,” a Uber blog said.

Showing geospatial data in a single web interface, kepler.gl helps users quickly validate ideas and glean insights from these visualizations. A user can drag and drop a CSV or GeoJSON file into the browser, visualize it with different map layers, explore it by filtering and aggregating it, and eventually export the final visualization as a static map or an animated video. Instead of spanning multiple browsers and consuming weeks of work at a time, the entire trial and error process occurs place in one user interface and can take as little as 10 minutes.

kepler.gl can render millions of points and perform spatial aggregations on the fly.
kepler.gl can render millions of points and perform spatial aggregations on the fly.

kepler.gl uses layers as building blocks to create interactive maps, supporting customizable layer creation and encoding data (e.g., fares, ETA, and timestamps) to visual channels (e.g., circle size, arc color, and circle color) with scale functions (e.g., linear, quantile, and quantize).

In kepler.gl, mapping layers, common visualization types used to encode location data, enable users to conduct geospatial analysis and exploration. The taxonomy of mapping layers kepler.gl offers include basic points, arcs, paths, polygons, grids, and hexbins in both 2D and 3D, as shown in Figure 6, above. For example, a point layer can be used to plot locations of events and places; an arc layer can be used to visualize origin-destination correlations; a hexbin or grid layer can be used to aggregate a collection of points showing its distribution; and a polygon layer can be used to visualize a choropleth map showing aggregate statistics of geographic regions.

All layer geometry calculations are GPU-accelerated, enabling us to smoothly render millions of points and making kepler.gl a much more powerful web tool than traditional cartography software.

Beyond the traditional 2D x and y cartographic plane, kepler.gl introduces a third dimension to encode data that supports point altitude and grid/hexagon/polygon height in an isometric perspective view. With height enabled, a user can more quickly detect anomalies in an aggregation map.