Gettin’ Geo With It (27 June 2016)

Introducing: New Maps!

Socrata is pleased to announce a major milestone in our long-term project to turn geospatial data into a first class asset on our platform - an entirely redesigned and reimagined mapping experience, that can produce beautiful, analytically-oriented map visualizations with data of any scale.

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This is a significant upgrade to our mapping capabilities that comes with notable changes to the visualization authoring experience. Users can begin creating these beautiful new maps with a single layer of geospatial data or geocoded points. Then, by using the Layer List, users can add new layers from other geospatial data across your Socrata site, creating powerful multi-layer experiences.

With this update, the range of possibilities for creating maps within Socrata has skyrocketed. Users can:

  • Overlay the same dataset in multiple configurations on a single map canvas - for example, to see building permits both as individual points and as a region map that shows total per council district;
  • Color and resize points, lines, or polygons based on data in the associated attribute table;
  • See a heat map of incident data alongside a point map of location data - for example, show density of crime across a city overlaid with the location of parks and schools to explore facility safety.

This is an entirely new experience - please check out the Knowledge Base for more details on creating a new map, configuring multi-layer maps, and creating new maps with line or polygon data.

 

Geospatial Data with the Full Attribute Table

Geospatial data (Shapefiles, KML, KMZ, or Geojson files) contains valuable information about the points, lines, and polygons, which allows tools and software to properly project those shapes onto a map of the world. This geometry field has in the past been the primary data we process and allow you to interact with once you load geospatial data into Socrata.

We’ve been making significant changes over the past year in order to allow you to not just view your geospatial data in a map, but to also filter and analyze the rest of the data in the attribute table, and then use that same attribute data to create beautiful maps. Available as of today, you can import your geospatial data through the new import experience to see the following new features:

  • Geospatial data will now be listed as a dataset in the public catalog and internal asset list.
  • Because geospatial data is now tabular, it will have a Primer page like any other dataset. The full dataset metadata, as well as featured or related content can be viewed from Primer.
  • You can now view and analyze the full attribute table like any other dataset. This means you can filter and sort, as well as create non-map visualizations such as column or pie charts.
  • When creating a map, you will have access to the full set of new map visualizations described above.

If you have geospatial maps on your site today, we will be migrating those over to the new geospatial data formats soon. Stay tuned for more details about that process and the timing.

Read this Knowledge Base article for more details on how importing geospatial data works.

 

Unified Discovery Experience for All Site Members

Today, members of your site (i.e. users with roles) use the asset management experience (/admin/assets) to find, discover, and manage assets to support their data sharing needs. While this experience has always ensured that these users could only discover assets they had permission to access, historically, the experience was different for users with different roles: while Administrators and Publishers could leverage the “My Assets”, “Shared to Me”, and “All” tabs to discover public and private assets on a site, Designers, Editors, and Viewers only had access to the “My Assets” and “Shared to Me” tabs. This difference meant that Designers, Editors, and Viewers had no way to find many public assets while searching and managing their own assets, which forced them to split their time between two, separate experiences - the internal-focused asset list and the public-focused open data catalog.

With this release, we’ve brought consistency to the experience by also giving Designers/Editors/Viewers a third tab in their asset management experience, “All”. While Administrators/Publishers will still be able to discover all private and public assets on a site using this tab, now Designers/Editors/Viewers will be able to use this tab for discovery of assets they own, are shared to them, AND are public (note that actual access for these users has not changed, only the way they discover assets they can already access). Early user testing suggests that this simple change is helping Designers, Editors, and Viewers find the right assets more efficiently than ever before.

In addition to this improvement, we have also updated behavior in the magnifying-glass global search box so that selecting an autocomplete result takes a site member to the “All” tab of their internal asset list, rather than the open data catalog.

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Automate This and APIs

Since earlier this year, the new import experience has been available for you to preview manually uploading and editing your data. As of today, you can now also automate updates to your data through this new experience.

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When you are uploading or editing a tabular dataset, you can now automate an update or replace of future data through a simple Python script. With a quick copy/paste and setting up a task scheduler, such as Windows Task Scheduler, you can automate updates of your data on a regular schedule.

Additionally, if you have set up any transformations for your data, those same transforms will run every time the automation runs, reducing any manual clean up you had to do previously.

Finally, if you’d like to create custom automation for your data, there is a brand new API that allows your to stage updates to your data and run transformations on each and every update.

Read the Python library documentation and the API documentation for more details on how the they each work.

 

No Longer Supporting the Creation of Deprecated Data Types

With the release of the new dataset experience, the following data types were modified in how they appear in the cells within your datasets, as well as the data type the field is stored as in the dataset: Formatted Text, Star, Phone, Flag, and Multiple Choice.

While the ability to create new columns of those types has already been disabled in most places across the Socrata platform, we have now fully disabled the ability to add these columns including in places like the API.

Read this Knowledge Base article for more details on deprecated column types.

 

Small Updates & Bug Fixes

  • In the visualization canvas, the filter bar is pre-populated with the top 20 values of every column associated with the dataset. Now, for all datasets that have data lenses associated with them, the filter bar will query all of the values in that column.
  • It’s easier than ever to make a combo chart! The secondary axis is now enabled automatically when you add both columns and lines, so you can quickly see trends in data with different scales.
  • In the past, draft datasets could be found and managed in one’s internal asset list by filtering to type = “Working Copies”. Over the coming months, however, as we start to allow other asset types to have draft versions of themselves, we’ve added a new filter facet to the asset list, “Version”, which allows users to limit their assets to just “Published” assets or “Draft” assets. We have also enhanced draft assets in the list with a small yellow “badge” to indicate their draft status.

 


Check out our other Product News, and give us a shout at support@socrata.com with questions or ideas.

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