I'm trying not to ask something that's already covered by the other 'beginning web mapping' questions, but I want to do something that I don't see covered here yet. Maybe I'm just missing it.

Basically, I want to create an interactive web mapping site. Here's the way I picture it: there is a main map, showing points (pretend they're campsites). When a user clicks on a campsite, in another pane info on that campsite pops up, along with the ability to make comments on it. The user can also add other points, and draw rough polygons, lines, and add text boxes, that all other users see. It will be kind of a giant scratchpad, or scribble map that all users can contribute to. I`d also like to add some kind of thumbs-up, thumbs-down rating system for any comments on the individual campsites, and overall rating system for each user (this looks pretty daunting to me after typing it out!)

I'm new to web mapping, as you may have guessed, and I think I know how to proceed to get the maps online, but it's the interactive part that I could really use some general direction on. I have mid-level skills with the basic tools: html, css, php, mysql, if that helps.

Many thanks!

  • 2
    Do you have a preferred mapping application you would like to use?
    – artwork21
    Commented Oct 30, 2011 at 1:32
  • @artwork21 - that, I don't know. I was thinking of the opensource route, with Mapserver and something like Geomoose, but even that's up for discussion. I see there are prepackaged php bulletin boards and rating applications, which I wonder if they's be able to link to to individual GIS elements. What would you suggest?
    – Rex-H
    Commented Oct 30, 2011 at 17:15
  • See Google Maps Api and good luck for the programmation. Or use OpenLayers.
    – user3120
    Commented Oct 30, 2011 at 22:14

3 Answers 3


That's a question that could be the theme for a web development book because this kind of site demands aggregation of many technologies. I had exactly the same idea some time ago and then I started looking around for tools to do that kind of site. Finally I achieved a collection of packages that can do the job and here is the list, if it fits your needs than you can learn each one of then.

Server: Amazon EC2, Micro, Ubuntu Server (under free tier during development)
Web Server: Apache
SQL: PostgreSQL
WebDevelopment: Django Web Framework
AJAX (just to make things easier for Django): Dajax and DajaxIce
Maps: GoogleAPI ou CloudmadeAPI (For OSM data).
IDE: Aptanda Studio (an Eclipse that comes with Pydev and Django extensions).

The core of the project is the Django framework, you will need a little python for that, but not much, if you follow the tutorial you will get what you need. I started the development using an Sqlite/spatialite database (because its easier to manage) than I when the database model was ready I switched to postgresql/postgis.

I learned a lot looking at other sites code and design, here are some examples:

  • Thanks Pablo. I shouldn't be suprised that this problem is a lot more complicated than I thought it would have been.
    – Rex-H
    Commented Oct 31, 2011 at 17:18

Check if geonode fits your needs.

  • This is an awesome project ...i still cant believe i did not know of its existence
    – GeoH2O
    Commented Feb 25, 2012 at 21:01

You could try Drupal. It's a content management so it can deal with comments out of the box. As for the maps, the Geo module should fit your needs. You shouldn't have to code so much a think. Just link the map and geospatial elements to Drupal fields.

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