I am working on a choropleth map for a real estate site. My current workflow is:

  1. Edit and save SHP file's DBF in Libre Office Calc.
  2. Load SHP file into Quantum GIS. Set colored breakpoints based on data.
  3. Load modified SHP file in TileMill (MapBox). Layer it over basic map.
  4. Push the map to MapBox host.

This whole process is very tedious considering that the choropleth map requires frequent updating.

Now, I am trying to find a more efficient workflow to produce the same result. My intuition is that leveraging Google Maps and Google Spreadsheets may be a better way to go. However, I haven't found a good tutorial that accomplishes my specific needs.

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

  • intridea.github.com/stately Doesn't have to do anything with "GIS" but if you want a quick map of the states with different shading per state, this would be an easy way to do it, without resorting to Gmaps/Spreadsheets. Feb 12, 2013 at 18:11
  • Choropleth maps are described in a Wikipedia article. The word is derived from ancient Greek "choro" (area or space): these are area-filled maps.
    – whuber
    Feb 12, 2013 at 21:26
  • 1
    Have you thought about using QGIS Server for publishing your maps? hub.qgis.org/projects/quantum-gis/wiki/QGIS_Server_Tutorial
    – Mapperz
    Feb 12, 2013 at 21:53
  • 1
    How Often is the data updated? Feb 13, 2013 at 4:26
  • Hi, it is updated every 2 weeks.
    – AME
    Feb 13, 2013 at 18:40

1 Answer 1


Do the shapefile polygons remain static and only the data changes? If so, this may not completely solve your problem but would improve your workflow a bit by removing shapefiles from the picture after the initial load.

1) Move the shapefile into a PostGIS or Spatialite database
2) Edit your data in there using SQL queries
3) Add PostGIS layer in QGIS to set your colored breakpoints
4) Add PostGIS layer to TileMill
5) Push map to Mapbox host

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