Till Nagel

Unfolding Map library

by Till Nagel.

Download the library,
learn its use in the tutorials,
and check out the examples.

Visualizing data with geo-spatial properties has become more important and prevalent due to the wide spread dissemination of devices, sensors, databases, and services with references to the physical world. Yet, with existing tools it is often difficult to create interactive geovisualizations tailored for a particular domain or a specific data set. We developed Unfolding, a library for interactive maps and data visualization. Unfolding provides an API for designers to quickly create and customize geo-visualizations.

Developed at the Interaction Design Lab, FH Potsdam, the HCI group, KU Leuven, and the MIT SENSEable City Lab.

Find more information at unfoldingmaps.org.


Interaction Events
Unfolding enables you to quickly create interactive maps. Basic interactions such as Zoom & Pan are included. More advanced functionality such as Overview+Detail, or multitouch gestures can be easily added.

Data Visualization
Simply create geo-positioned markers to display data on a map. The visual style can be adapted freely. The library supports loading and displaying user-defined shapes, such as points, lines, or polygons.

Styled Maps
Unfolding is a tile-based map library. Map tiles can have various geographic features, and come in all kind of styles. It comes with various map providers, such as OpenStreetMap or TileMill.

Clean & Extendable Code
Unfolding enables beginners to easily create simple maps. Advanced users can quickly sketch out prototypes, or create sophisticated visualizations. And expert users can extend Unfolding’s functionality.



Nagel, T., Klerkx, J., Vande Moere, A., Duval, E.: Unfolding – A Library for Interactive Maps. SouthCHI 2013, July 01-03, Maribor, Slovenia. (paper, presentation (Best Presentation Award))

Nagel, T., Heidmann, F., Duval, E., Klerkx, J., Vande Moere, A.: Unfolding – A Simple Library for Interactive Maps and Geovisualizations in Processing. GeoViz 2013, March 6-8, Hamburg, Germany. (paper, presentation)

11 comments on ‘Unfolding Map library’

  1. Diego says:

    The Unfolding Map Library looks amazing!, do you have any plans on releasing it for Processing 2.0+?

    • Till Nagel says:

      While we certainly do have plans on updating it for Processing 2, there is no release date yet. Hopefully, we will have some beta out in the next weeks.

      You could try out the (unstable) development branch for P2 [link removed, official Unfolding for P2 has launched] if you are accustomed with Eclipse, though.

    • Till Nagel says:

      Meanwhile, we launched Unfolding for Processing 2. Simply download it from our website.

  2. Jim Kay says:

    Am I right in thinking that there is no means of undertaking re-projections of maps with different CRS’s?
    This implies that all GIS data must be referenced with the same (WGS84) CRS?

    If so, are there any plans to include this process using something like Proj4J?

    • Till Nagel says:

      Yup, you are right. Unfolding solely works with Web Mercator Projection.

      And no, we also do not have any plans to integrate Proj4J. You’d need to do this on your own (and we’d be happy if you submit some patches on github, or publish a tutorial or such), or alternatively is something you must do externally (e.g. with GIS or tools such as GDAL) beforehand.

  3. jered says:

    Please make a video on how to install that and how to use that on eclipse please :)

  4. Jose says:

    Will your library operate in a near future for javascript processing mode? How can I embed a map in a web?

  5. Linda says:

    This is a great library! I’m trying to map points from a MySQL database, but there seems to be no documentation on how to do this. Where can I find an example?

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