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Harvard Hypermap: An Open Source Framework for Making the World’s Geospatial Information more Accessible

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As online mapping platforms proliferate, thousands of mapping systems have become available, capable of sharing millions of live maps (map services) with one another. However, such map services are often not shared, in large part because there is no easy way to discover and access them. The HHypermap (Harvard Hypermap) Registry platform is being developed to address this problem by providing a scalable way to gather map service information together and make it searchable by others.

HHypermap Registry is built on Apache Lucene and Solr, an open source stack with advanced search capabilities, to which we added new spatial and temporal search capabilities (HHypermap Core).  We also developed a new search client which supports heatmap visualization of geographic distribution of results, and histograms to show the temporal distribution.  Any system can use HHypermap to find distributed data via its open API.

HHypermap includes a scalable mechanism for harvesting and monitoring remote OGC and Esri map services.  In addition, it supports gathering of usage statistics to improve search; caching and reprojection of map services to improve performance, reduce load on remote servers, enable instant previews; date mining to extract time information from metadata; and feature extraction to improve layer search.

HHypermap Registry provides the search capabilities in WorldMap V 1.5., and HHypermap Core is a key component of other systems including the Billion Object Platform (BOP), designed to support spatiotemporal visualization of billions of objects, being developed with funding from the Sloan Foundation.

This work is partially funded by the U.S. National Endowment for the Humanities Digital Humanities Implementation Grants, Award No: HK-50091-13. For a complete list of sponsors to the WorldMap project, please visit

Publication Date  April, 2017
Author(s)  Ben Lewis, Paolo Corti and Wendy Guan
AAG 2017 Annual Meeting
Publication type  Presentations