The Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis


GEMMA: A Geospatial Engine for Mass Mapping Applications

GEMMA provides the user with the ability to create a map without knowing anything about mapping.

For too long creating a map has been too complicated, but now there is now a vast amount of geographically tagged information available online. Yet to map it, a user still has to have a considerable amount of computer-related knowledge.

This is changing and this project is not focussed on simple, non-standard pin type maps such as those in Google maps, but on complex spatial mapping that will enable non-expert users to create maps at the click of mouse. This is what geospatial mapping should be, and GEMMA aims to bring 'geo' to the masses, not in a 'neogeo' way, but more simply to find some data, make and display a map. This is GEMMA in a nutshell. With uses as wide-ranging as community participation, social simulation, economic analysis, urban modelling and beyond the collection, visualisation, analysis and ultimately understanding of these datasets requires new software organised around a new series of workflows which integrate an array of tools.

We aim to produce a one stop shop for any user who wishes to take public sector, crowd-sourced, mobile and related online data which has some geospatial reference. The interface will enable them to display and overlay this information in non-proprietary or freely available mapping services on the web such as in Google Maps or Open Street Map, building on several tools that CASA has developed such as MapTube and SurveyMapper.


Andrew Hudson-Smith
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Steven Gray
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Oliver O'Brien 


We have already presented a 'sneak peak' of GEMMA, with particular emphasis on the OpenStreetMap Feature Highlighter Functionality, at the State of the Map EU conference in Vienna in July 2011. State of the Map EU is the European conference for users and contributors to the OpenStreetMap project. The project has only just begun but a forerunner of its focus is in the following article;

Andrew Hudson-Smith, Michael Batty, Andrew Crooks and Richard Milton (2009) Mapping for the Masses: Accessing Web 2.0 Through Crowdsourcing, Social Science Computer Review, 27, 4, 524-538, doi 10.1177/0894439309332299 


The main output of the project will be a web portal, a mobile map viewer and a mobile data collector. The web portal will allow maps to be created, data to be added, and mashups of GEMMA maps to be viewed.