At the end of 2013, Les Affaires carried out an investigation about contaminated sites in Quebec. Once completed, a traditional article presenting the results would have done the trick, but the author wanted to go further by using an online interactive map as a way to browse and consult the information.
The map had to allow site selection on mouse click, which would then display its information, such as its name, address and a list of contaminants ordered by categories and sub-categories. A search tool was also needed to quickly find any site by typing its name or address.
The original data source was under an Excel format, which had to be converted in a geospatial format.
The application had to be fast, simple of use and compatible with both modern desktop browsers and mobile device browsers. It also had to allow easy interactions between the user, the map and the data it would contain.
The map combines open source tecnologies, such as MapServer, OpenLayers, PostGIS, jQuery Mobile and ScribeUI. It also contains some base layers from GoogleMaps as well as raster imagery from StreetView, which is availabe when a site is nearby.
Adaptation for mobile devices
The interface was made “responsive” depending on the type of device visiting the application, which means it adapts itself by minimizing some components and saving the limited space available on mobile devices. A simple use case of the application could have been for example a user who, while drinking his morning coffee, read his Les Affaires newspaper and noticed the article mentioning the map. Using his cellphone, he would have then visited the application to browse the map.
- Map of Contaminated Sites in Quebec, the article on Mapgears blog containing more technical details about the technologies used in the application.
- terrainscontamines.lesaffaires.com, the online application of the interactive map of contaminated sites in Quebec (the application content is in French)
- Terrains contaminés: la carte du Québec toxique, the original article from the Les Affaires newspaper, which is in French only