GeoJSON in a nutshell? An open mapping standard that uses text to describe geographical features, locations, and attributes, based (funnily enough!) on JSON. You can check out the full specs here.

GeoJSON is simple, used in a variety of web and mobile applications, and can help with your geospatial mapping in your applications, or even with spatial mapping overlays that don’t exist in real life, such as overlays for augmented reality apps. The format describes vector data.

WHAT IS GEOJSON USED FOR?

GeoJSON is popular for use with Leaflet (often used in creating mobile maps), MongoDB (with its handy geoNear function for finding near features), and Mapbox, with Mapbox Editor.

If you’re doing maps work for mobile applications, GeoJSON may be what you’re looking for, for data transport and transformation. If you don’t have much experience with mapping, GeoJSON makes for an easy introduction.

[See Also: Understanding IP Address and Subnets]

WHY WOULD I USE GEOJSON?

Why would you use any standard? So you’ve got a repeatable formula that can be used across a wide variety of applications, that’s why! Because it is geo data, you can easily make operations like transformations with the data contained within.

It can also be used directly with the Google Maps API with the loadGeoJson() and addGeoJson() calls.

If you’re currently using another data format, there are numerous converters available to turn your data into GeoJSON.

WHAT ARE SOME REAL WORLD GEOJSON EXAMPLES?

Check out these real world GeoJSON examples:

WHAT’S IN THE STANDARD?

Each GeoJSON element contains one object, whether it’s a geometry object, in the form of a point, line, or polygon (or multi-object) which contains one or more positions/coordinates, or a feature object, which contains a geometry object, and possibly various properties, which could be any type of JSON object in a key-value pair. You may also have a geometry collection or a feature collection.

For example, a basic FeatureCollection to describe mapped elements:

{
"type" : "FeatureCollection",

"features" : [

{

"type" : "Feature",

"geometry" : { "type" : "Point", "coordinates" : [ 22.0, 0.3 ] },

"properties" : { "name" : "My house", "description" : “Where I live" }

}

{

"type" : "Feature",

"geometry" : { "type" : "LineString", "coordinates" : [ [ 21.2, 10.1 ], [23.0, 11.2], [24.5, 11.3] ] },

"properties" : { "name" : "Route taken", "description" : “Getting across the country" }

}

]
}

[See Also: Use of ELK Stack (ElasticSearch, LogStash and Kibana)]

WHAT’S THE CATCH?

Be warned! GeoJSON uses format [longitude, latitude] unlike the traditional method of stipulating point [latitude, longitude].

GEOJSON ALTERNATIVES

The (arguably) most popular alternative to GeoJSON is OpenStreetMap, which relies on an XML type file format. Other alternatives include Shapefile and KML, Keyhole Markup Language. TopoJSON is also an extension of the GeoJSON format that describes topography; by using shared line arcs of areas the format eliminates redundancy in GeoJSON files. TopoJSON may be used in situations where a topographical depiction makes more sense than a pure geographic depiction.

Have a play around with GeoJSON and its complementary tools to see what this simple, and yet powerful, structure language can do for your applications.

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