Sometimes a chat needs a map, sometimes a map needs a chat.
Either way, we created /quick-map last year to provide that functionality in Slack, the leading corporate messaging tool. We were the first, and remain the only mapping integration on Slack.
/quick-map, along with many other nifty tools we’ve built, like terradactile, emerged out of a Sparkgeo hackathon. One of our team members, Darren wanted to demonstrate that it was possible to traverse a STAC of imagery with an unconventional user interface, such as a messaging environment. This project ultimately became a Slack integration called stac-chat, presented at FOSS4G. On seeing what was possible with Slack integrations, we took the opportunity to see if we could tie in a more general mapping fabric.
We chose Mapbox because of its flexibility, variety of mapping styles, simple pricing, and ease of consumer deployment. On the strength of a few tweets, we picked up a surprising number of organizations and users. This told us a simple story: maps are useful in conversation. Of course at Sparkgeo, we’ve always known this but never put it together in a digital manner.
Whenever a map is rolled out on a board-room or dining-room table, the conversation flows; ideas happen; plans are made. Why wouldn’t this also be true for collaborative messaging experiences like Slack? Certainly, the Sparkgeo team uses Slack extensively for communication, project management, task updates, questions, jokes, personal updates, instrumented application updates, continuous integration notifications. Really, any broadly useful communication update from either a person or a machine happens via Slack in our organization. And, I do not believe we are the only group behaving like this.
With the most recent version of /quick-map the feature set got even richer and more useful. We can even incorporate custom Mapbox styles, and yes you can keep your corporate branding.
There is so much more fun to have with this integration, as there is more to do with geospatial as we continue to get maps and location into more hands and imaginations.
You can install /quick-map for slack here for free.