An open publishing platform for visualization, social sharing, and analysis of geospatial data.
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What is GeoSense?

GeoSense is an open publishing platform for visualization, social sharing, and analysis of geospatial data. It aims to simplify the process of turning large data collections into beautiful, interactive online maps.

How to install GeoSense on your development machine

The project is built on top of Node.js and uses MongoDB as database. Please install Node.js (including NPM) and MongoDB on your system first.

There are installers and packages available for many operating systems. For instance, if you are using OS X you might want to look into installing the above requirements with Homebrew, to name just one option. This tutorial is a starting point.

To get the GeoSense code, you can either just download it from GitHub and extract it to a folder on your hard drive, or clone the repository using Git. The latter is recommended so you can easily update to newer versions at a later point). You also may have to install Git on your system first.

To acquire the code with Git, open a Terminal window and type the following command.

git clone git://

Next, change into the GeoSense folder and install the dependencies using NPM:

cd GeoSense
npm install

You should now be ready to run the GeoSense development server.

Running the development server

Before you run the development server, make sure to start MongoDB, either in its own terminal window:


or as a background service:

mongod --fork --logpath /var/log/MongoDB.log

You can then run the development server using the following command from the GeoSense folder:

NODE_ENV=development node app.js

You should get a success message such as Web server running at You'll now be able to open GeoSense in your web browser by typing http://localhost:3000 in the location field.

Command-line interface

In addition to the Graphical User Interface that is running in your web browser, GeoSense comes with a Command-Line Interface (CLI) that enables you to script certain tasks and perform them without user interaction. CLI actions include data import and aggregation into map grids.

To run the CLI, run the following command from the GeoSense folder:

node manage.js

This will display a list of available CLI actions, such as import. For example, to display a list of all existing point collections in the database, type:

node manage.js list-collections

To receive more information about a specific action, pass help as the first argument, followed by the action name. For instance:

node manage.js help import

The import action

Usage: node manage.js import [import-params]

Imports records from a URL or a file into a new point collection.

For example, to import a new data file from scratch, type:

node ./manage.js import --url --format csv --converter safecast


node ./manage.js import --path path/to/file.csv --format csv --converter safecast

Later, after the initial import, you might want to re-fetch the source file and sync your local data:

node ./manage.js sync <collectionId> [options]

This basically runs the import command again, with the same arguments. You can override these by passing options to the command, for instance the following would sync the collection with data from a different URL>:

node ./manage.js sync <collectionId> --url<incremental-dump>

The mapreduce action

TODO: document most important CLI actions.

Building the project for deployment

GeoSense utilizes RequireJS to create an optimized build for faster page load times. To create a build, run the following command from the GeoSense folder:

node r.js -o public/

You now have an optimized copy of the public/ folder ready for deployment under public-build.