indiemapper is a promising-looking thematic mapping service that is supposed to come online shortly. But until then, they’ve released a free online Flash application that lets you upload vector data (point, line or polygon) in KML or shapefile format, re-project it into one of 11 different projections …
- Winkel Tripel
- Albers Equal Area Conic
- Lambert Conformal Conic
- Cylindrical Equal Area
… and then export it as an Scalable Vector Graphic (SVG) file for use in programs like Adobe Illustrator or Inkscape. Shapefiles must be in geographic coordinates (latitude/longitude), WGS84; KML files are already in this format. Network KML files are acceptable. Add a file to the display, or choose one or more of their sample datasets:
You can load multiple datasets into the display, move their draw order, and turn them on and off by clicking on the “eye” icon:
The graticule grid can be turned on and off, and spacing set to automatic or manual.
Select the projection using the “Project” button at upper-right:
You’ll get info about the projection, including its pluses and minuses. Here’s Mercator (a screen capture, not SVG):
And Albers Equal Area Conic:
With the center latitude/longitude of view adjustable. Once done, click on the “Export” button at upper right to convert the vector data to SVG format, and download it to your computer for use in vector editing software, or for viewing in a compatible browser like Firefox.
There are limitations for now. There’s no control over layer colors, and no thematic coloring based on the attributes of the vector files. It looks like the full indiemapper application will have those, and the screenshots make it look interesting, but it’s not clear yet whether that full online app will have a free version. Stay tuned.