Vizzuality Takes a Creative Approach to Mapping Environmental Change

by Matt Ball on September 30, 2011

I had the pleasure to meet and interview Javier de la Torre at the recent FOSS4G event in Denver. de la Torre and his team at Vizzuality have been responsible for a wide array of interesting websites and crowdsourcing initiatives that are helping to gain understanding and perspective on issues of global environmental change. The company has taken an Open Source approach, using these tools to create sites and also developing their own tools that they share back to the community.

When I posed the classic question of potentially giving away their value by giving away these tools, here’s how de la Torre responded:

“One important principle is that we don’t believe in generic solutions for visualization. There is no visualization for everything. Visualization is a technique that is unique, and every project that we do is very different from another. That’s what makes it a different experience, nice, and engaging.

We are very bored with the typical GIS viewers with the information on the side that don’t really tell you what the data is about. We want to really let our customers express it. This project puts a big focus on visualizing data in different ways, so that one project looks different from another, because every data set has its own way of being visualized.

With that said, there is a lot of common stuff that we repeat from project to project, and we want to avoid having to do so and let others do the same. Our value is not necessarily on the tools we create, but on the way we use them.”

You can read the full interview here.


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