Community Atlas Toolkit

Community Atlas Toolkit


The Community Atlas toolkit provides a simple set of tools for creating online "atlases".

The toolkit is comprised of a set of key components:

  • A data standard (CommaGeoJSON)
  • A reference browser implementation (CommaBrowser)
  • A demo atlas editor (Implemented using

The Comma Browser

The browser provides a way to explore community atlases built using the CommaGeoJSON Format.

Geo-spatial view

The browser provides a geospatial view of the atlas, allowing for the exploration of a dataset on a map.

The Timeline

The timeline view provides allows the atlas to be explored as a timeline.


The card view makes it possible to view the atlas as a set of "cards".

Project Architecture

The Community Atlas is constructed with a few, loosely connected parts. Rather than building one tool to create, view and store atlases, we have split the project into separate elements that communicate through an open data standard. This “decoupled” architecture allows each aspect to be developed independently, and maximises the possible longevity and reusability of the technical work.

The Community Mapping Geo Data standard (CommaGeoJSON)

The foundation of the atlas platform is a way of storing and sharing geodata. This standard is based on geoJSON, the primary open standard for sharing geo information, but extends this base to include a set of features that better suit the requirements of smaller groups looking to share information about their neighbourhoods and communities.

CommaGeoJSON Standard definition:

By building on the geoJSON standard, almost all online mapping tools are able to load and present our atlases, ensuring the greatest possible interoperability. The open standard will also enable the possibility of wide collaboration by allowing anyone to build new tools, to create or view atlases independently.

The Atlas Browser

The tool for exploring community atlases is the third project component. This light-weight application runs entirely in the browser, and will be able to display any atlas that provides data in our format.

The browser allows for information to be visualised as maps, timelines or cards, with data filterable in various ways.

The source code for the browser is available at :

Data storage

There is no database for the atlases and all data is contained in the data file.

The atlas data files currently hosted as part of the Comensi project, but the locations can be updated in configuration.

The Atlas Creator

The second component of work is an atlas creator, designed as an initial version to meet the needs of the Comensi project to collect and publish atlases. This tool has been built for use by a small number of engaged teams, and as such has been created to enable maximum customizability.

The Atlas creator has been built using an online platform called Coda allows us to create rapidly customisable tools for data entry. It has limitations in the kind of aspects that can be changed, but these can easily be overcome by simple training and documentation.

The atlas creator for Comensi's Playground Test Atlas

Data is extracted from Coda using a small back-end system built on an open source tool called Node-Red.

Sub Projects:

Technical development by Peter Brownell from