Meeting Info

Date & time
15 Feb 2017, 6:00pm

University of Washington

UW Anderson Hall, Forest Club room 207

It's the room with the elk in it.

47.651737, -122.30754


  • Matt Stevenson & Eldan Goldenberg - How do you build a spreadsheet-powered map? Last fall the Sightline Institute presented us with a challenge: build an interactive map out of a spreadsheet that is being continuously updated and edited by multiple people, includes 14 categories of data, and features popups that contain text, photos, videos, links, etc. Using a modified version of Sam Matthews’ GUS, mapbox.js, HTML, and CSS, we did!
  • @powersa dives into Spring Fling details and wants your help!
  • You! Interested in helping with the website, elections, future event planning? Add yourself to this meeting page on github or hit us up at

Wireless Info

UW NetID: event0533
Password: 38LC:66MJ:95DN


Matt Stevenson & Eldan Goldenberg - map - slides

Looking at Alternative Voting Systems, a mapping system driven by spreadsheets. This was produced for the Sightline Institute.

Some background:

Sightline Institute is a thinktank in Seattle that focus on all issues related to sustainability and communities, and champion public policies. They approached Matt with a project that promotes “alternative voting systems” than plurality voting (i.e. the USA’s current system).

Map requirements:

  • Dynamically updating map
  • Data stored in a Google sheet
  • Clearly distinguish 14 categories of data
  • Include popups containing images, videos, text, links
  • Branded to match Sightline’s website

Seeking help & iterating:

  • Found some folks to help him out, and that led him to a project called “GUS” which allows you to create a map from a spreadsheet - here’s the project on GitHub. This left Matt with a map that had points, but didn’t fulfill the rest of the requirements.
  • He reached out to Eldan to help take GUS to a more sustainable project specifically for Sightline. Eldan was able to work with the data from the spreadsheet to categorize into Leaflet using featureLayers, which led to being able to work with the 14 classes of data.
  • The classes of data started, originally, at three. There are three categories of data: ranked choice, cumulative choice, or limited choice - these themes varied depending on more specific categories like “school districts” or “state systems”.

What’s gone wrong?

  • first, when you’re using a spreadsheet to drive a map and someone is working on it, they sometimes do things that you can’t anticipate. Things like: transpose coordinates, change the column names, etc. Matt was able to come up with a versioning system with the client to enforce any changes BEFORE publishing the map.
  • The order of layers is entirely dependent on the order of the layers in the GeoJSON, so they had to build in a column to the spreadsheet

So once they had this complete, Matt started making more maps with the same project - such as a map for his AirBnb renters that shows good restaurants and sight seeing!

Andrew Powers

Andrew gave a presentation about the Spring Fling, and what it takes to organize it. Here are the slides:

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