The Transformap architecture in simple terms

So over the last months I stayed at a safe distance of the various technical discussions. Now I think the time has come for me to understand what is the latest thinking on the socio-technical architecture proposed by Transformap so that I can communicate about it efficiently.

  • Is there a place that already document this in a comprehensive, but simple, way (understand ‘for dummies’)?
  • If not I believe it would be very valuable to do so, maybe by iteration. @almereyda could start, @gandhiano could iterate…

People around are often asking me about this and I can’t answer them (like today Yannick Duthe from Assemblée Virtuelle).

Here are some questions to get you started:

  • what will be the role of the API in connection with the bigger picture? where does it take the data from? where does it put? In what way does it transform it?
  • how will the filter maker tool work? how is connected to the API?
  • what is the position of OSM in this architecture?
  • what is the position of Wikidata in this architecture?
  • what does it take to connect my map (and database) to the Transformap API?
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Please allow me to start to try an answer with a rough sketch that happened to be sketched on one of those days in Berlin:

Here we see an approximation of how data flows in case of an intent to create a new map. (1) the big :heavy_plus_sign: at the top.

It triggers the creation of a new map. (2) the :cloud:ed word.

These maps are surrounded by intentual vocabularies (2a). :scissors: cut here

And adds an entry for it into our semantic mapping of maps (3).

From here on the sketch feels a bit faulty and lacks detail, but for the sake of simplicity it may be enough?

These three layers of interest, (2), (2a) and (3), hence feed into a so-called transofrmation engine which does a bit of magic by mixing up these layers. What we just digested, with output and input being in any of these three forms, is then itself feeding back and enriching what we do to better understand the field of collectively mapping the alternative economies.

Here is an image which I have been promising to @alabaeye earlier that day for the #communityreports

which also exists in an older version as

and animated (wait five seconds)

via 2016071405Ia1zuhnNK46HZ3eRaPk33P

Now follows an explanation of its components.

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The intrinsic aspects of the image above are revealed by looking at the two sources which helped focussing the mind on the specific task in question: to visualise and explain the TransforMap architecture in minimal terms.

The elements of the TransforMap Testbed above have been derived from the neccessary outputs of the current #chest and #ssedas projects. At some point those were visualised into a timeline view for traceability.


The critical eye will have to mention the lack of SSEDAS related outcomes. Why I also used a more recent approximation of an event idea to convey a sufficient context.


Those earlier generated views on what TransforMap is about helped to infer basic categories of conversation and associate them to individual accounts of implementation.

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A post was split to a new topic: Introducing the TransforMap Testbed