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How Koordinates Handles Data Uploads

Koordinates supports a classic 'drag-and-drop' workflow, with a few special features under the hood.

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Posted by Hamish Campbell
August 20th, 2019

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This is part of an ongoing series covering less well-known features of the Koordinates platform. 

Last week, we talked about how Koordinates handles connected data sources. A connected data source is a source — such as an ArcGIS Rest API, PostgreSQL server, or Amazon S3 bucket – that has been connected to the Koordinates platform for the purpose of importing data.  

After connecting a source to the platform, data managers can kick off what we call a ‘scan.’ A scan makes supported layers available for import within Koordinates, making it much easier to publish data and manage data updates. 

Data sources are particularly effective for streamlining import workflows for data managers that are sucking in a lot of data from existing databases. They are especially useful for data that is frequently updated, or is particularly large.

For other users, though, setting up a data source may be overkill. If you're working with smaller layers, and aren’t likely to push regular updates, then it makes more sense to upload data manually. 

On the surface, uploading data to Koordinates works much as you'd expect, with a classic ‘drag-and-drop’ workflow. To upload data, simply drag-and-drop your data, zipped or unzipped, and the data will be available for you to import as needed.

We’ve designed the workflow to ‘just work’, but the upload process also has a few special features under the hood. For example, if you upload unzipped data files — such as the various files that constitute a Shapefile — Koordinates will automatically create a layer for you to import. If you’re upload is missing anything, such as a projection file, we’ll let you know.

Also, if you import tabular data (such as a CSV) with supported geometry, you’ll have the option of importing your table as a geospatial layer. This means your data can then be previewed on the map and exported to geospatial data formats (we’ll write about this feature in more detail in later weeks — but if you're really keen, you can read the documentation at Koordinates Help). And if you import XML metadata, then we’ll make this available to be attached to imported data layers. 

By building out these features, we’ve created an upload workflow that ‘just works’ for new users who may have limited geospatial or GIS experience. At the same time, we’re working automate and streamline more specialist use cases, with a particular focus on getting the small details right. 

Next week, we’ll talk about how we’ve transformed and streamlined another important workflow for geospatial data: Metadata (and metadata sources).