Mapsense Developer Platform Provides Mapping Big Data Analytics

Mapsense, a startup specializing in tools and services for understanding big location data sets, has announced the launch of Mapsense Developer, a suite of tools that developers can use to build location-based applications as well as analyze and visualize massive data sets of location-based information. Mapsense Developer includes a D3-based mapping library, built-in geographic data sets and Mapsense API. The company has also launched Mapsense Enterprise, a set of sophisticated geovisualization, analysis and segmentation tools for terabytes of data.

The Mapsense team consists primarily of highly skilled engineers, some knowledgeable in large-scale data processing and computational geometry. The team spent two years developing the Mapsense platform and working with a select group of enterprises, government agencies, banks and other organizations, helping them analyze and leverage massive amounts of geotagged data.

Developers can use Mapsense to build full-featured, interactive maps using only a few lines of code.

The Mapsense platform is cloud-based and designed to be highly scalable, with infrastructure capable of streaming billions of rows of location data. Mapsense utilizes a custom-built spatial data store with dynamic vector map tiles, allowing modern browsers to render raw map data instead of relying on static images. The Mapsense API allows the platform to be integrated with enterprise systems and consumer-facing products. Developers can use the API to build location-based applications and advanced map visualizations that include features such as hovercard, choropleths, interactive legends and animations.

ProgrammableWeb reached out to Erez Cohen, co-founder and CEO of Mapsense, who provided some insight into the Mapsense platform. He explained that smartphones, sensors, satellites and other Internet-connected devices are generating constant streams of location data and that there are billions upon billions of lat/longs. Cohen said that "many businesses don’t know how to use all this data" and that Mapsense helps users "find commonality across data sets using lat/longs."

Cohen also explained that the company designed and built a suite of APIs that powers the Mapsense platform and is now allowing access to some of those APIs. Many organizations such as Mapsense, TigerText and the U.S. Census Bureau use a "dogfooding" approach when it comes to APIs, developing APIs to power their platforms and later opening the platforms to developers via the existing APIs.

Mapsense features a suite of built-in geographic data sets including Twitter, Demographics, Airports, Farmers Markets and Earthquakes.

One of the key features of Mapsense is a suite of built-in geographic data sets, which includes public data sets and data sets curated by Mapsense. At the time of this writing, built-in geographic data sets included:

  • Mapsense Earth Tiles that are suitable for use as a basemap. Based on OpenStreetMap and Natural Earth.
  • Mapsense Demographics Demographic data from U.S. Census Bureau 2008-2012 American Community Survey five-year estimates and TIGER/Line Shapefiles.
  • Mapsense Earth Tiles that are suitable for use as a basemap. Based on OpenStreetMap and Natural Earth.
  • Twitter Every geocoded tweet from the past week. This data set is streaming data only.
  • World Airports Every airport in the world. Data provided by
  • Farmers Markets Every farmers market in the U.S. Data provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
  • Earthquakes All earthquakes reported by the U.S. Geological Survey. This data set is streaming data only.
  • Meteorites All known meteorite landings. Data provided by NASA.
  • Hurricanes Every Atlantic hurricane since 1851; every Pacific hurricane since 1949. Data provided by the NOAA National Hurricane Center.

Cohen explained that Mapsense features queryable vector map layers that contain underlying meta information. For example, zooming in and clicking a feature in a Mapsense Earth map will show the specific metadata for that feature. "For some cities in Europe," Cohen said, "Mapsense has more buildings metadata than Google Maps." Cohen also said that Mapsense basemaps are based on OpenStreetMap and that the platform actually renders its own basemaps; Mapsense does not rely on any external basemaps.

Cohen told ProgrammableWeb that the company plans to add many more built-in geographic data sets in the coming months and that eventually users will be able to push their own data sets to the Mapsense platform. Cohen said he would like to see Mapsense become a GitHub-like platform where users can store, share and use location-based data sets.

Mapsense features queryable vector map layers that contain underlying meta information. Details of map features can be shown on click or on hover. Screenshot of Lucas County, Ohio, demographic information.

The Mapsense platform featuring free, open source developer tools is available now. Features such as the ability to upload custom data, embeddable maps and nontechnical user-friendly UI are coming soon.

"With the advent of cellphones, IoT and connected cars, billions of lat/longs are now being generated by companies across a wide swatch of verticals," said Cohen. "We've developed in-house spatial-data stores optimized for dealing with the analysis and visualization of this sort of data; the implications of these tools are starting to resonate strongly with both the Fortune 500 and the developer community."

For more information about the Mapsense platform and suite of free, open source developer tools, visit

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