Open KMZ in Google Earth
So I have been looking at building choropleth functionality myself with the GMaps, or GEarth API but GeoCommons looks like it could fit the bill so its worth more of a close look than I gave it here.
Upload Formats: At the moment you can upload choropleth data in shape files and then manipulate them, I'm told that being able to upload KML polygons will be possible soon, they have a bug fix waiting for the next update. The point of wanting to be able to upload KML files is that I want students to be able to use and manipulate choropleth maps without having to get into GIS proper.
Usability of GeoCommons Maker: Overall the process of manipulating your choropleth map is really easy compared to the skills you would need to do it in GIS. Nice features are:
- The ability to pull in different backgrounds including a blank screen
- A set of standard color palettes,
- clear and sensible option buttons top right
- all the other positives I've pointed out before.
- I don't like the options for sorting data classes, there are a lot of confusing techniques on offer some of which even I don't understand. A simple equal break option and a rounded break option should be the default and an 'advanced' link takes users onto those other options if needs be. By equal break I mean for a range of 0 to 307 it would offer to break the data into classes, into 0 - 103.33, 103.33 - 206.66, 206.66 - 307. By rounded equal break it would come up with some rounded suggestions like 0 - 100, 100 - 200, and 200 - 307. I hate all the decimal places in keys, it makes it really difficult to understand what the rough size of the breaks are.
- The key isn't obvious enough (you can just spot it as a bar in the bottom right corner)
- Give the countries (or polygons) a mouse rollover behaviour so that we can see the extent of the country when a mouse is positioned over it.
- And a really minor one: The visibility button for the layer should have a rollover behaviour to do with its border rather than becoming 'ungrayed', gray should = invisible, ungray should = visible and grayness should not indicate anything else.
UUorld is also one to watch but requiring a download is a big disadvantage and I'm not that impressed by 3D thematic maps which is their major advantage over GeoCommons.