Dynamically Displaying Millions of Points on a Web Map with Python

Dynamically Displaying Millions of Points on a Web Map with Python

Generating tiled maps on the fly can save storage and time .Dynamically displaying millions of points on a web map with Python

Last year, Tom White demonstrated a web map drawn from millions of geo-coded wildlife observations. The map behaves just as you’d expect, with each zoom level revealing the data in greater detail.

The digital magic in White’s solution is Datashader, an open-source library that creates imagery from millions of data points quickly. With Datashader, data can be pre-rendered at different zoom levels and locations, and served up by any web server. Add the proper client software and a browser, and you have a tiled web map or slippy map.

Slippy maps divide the earth up into tiles that reflect various levels. At zoom level 0, the world is presented as a single 256 by 256 pixel image. At zoom level 1, the earth is represented by four 256 square pixel tiles. Every zoom level calls up more granular tiles with additional detail. When rendered smoothly, the effect is like falling from stratospheric heights to street level.

By the time you get to zoom level 10 you’ve subdivided the earth into more than a million squares. At zoom level 15, you’re panning across a billion tiles, and a trillion tiles at zoom level 20.

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