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With the new version of PCAD you can now view a map of buildings associated with a person or firm. This makes it possible to assess at a glance the geographic distribution of work, and in turn to navigate to building details from the map. In the future we hope to add more mapping features.


To navigate to the map from a person's or firm's detail page, click on the "map" button at the top of the buildings list.

The "base layer" drop-down above the map allows you to choose several different street and satellite maps on top of which PCAD data will be displayed. You may also switch to using Google Maps as the base layer.

As illustrated in the screenshot, clicking on a map point displays a pop-up window with basic details about the site, and a link to the details page.


Esther McCoy's Five California Architects is a classic study of some pioneers of California architecture: Bernard Maybeck, Irving Gill, the partnership Greene and Greene, and Rudolph Schindler.

Maybeck was active primarily in the Bay Area (map) with a few projects scattered elsewhere; interestingly, a few of those in locations that were, in the early years of the 20th century, new resort destinations for the affluent.

Gill's work (map) was mostly in the San Deigo area, but with a significant presence in Los Angeles.

Buildings by the Greene brothers (map) were heavily concentrated in Pasadena, with a few sites scattered about Los Angeles, and a few more in the Bay Area.

Schindler's work (map) was almost entirely in Southern California and locations ranged from Palm Springs to Catalina, and from LA's San Fernando Valley down to San Deigo. But within Los Angeles Schindler's projects were remarkably concentrated in West Hollywood, Hollywood, and Silver Lake -- neighhborhoods that appealed to those with an artistic, bohemian bent.


The primary map interface was built with the OpenLayers3 Javascript library, and allows viewing PCAD building locations on several base layer maps.

Unfortunately Google does not support integration with OpenLayers. Because of this a separate, secondary interface using Google Maps has been provided -- this allows viewing PCAD data on Google base layers, and integration with Streetview.

Server-side the geospatial data is stored in a Postgresql database using the Postgis extension, and served up via an API implemented with Django REST Framework and a GIS extension for DRF.

Future Directions

In the future we hope to add further mapping capabilities, including more analysis-oriented features like integration with the search functions, the ability to view PCAD buildings in a given place, and geospatial filtering capabililties. OpenLayers offers the possibility of integrating other sources of geospatial data, such as shapefiles. This could offer the possibility for users to integrate PCAD's data with their own.

As with the network visualization feature, we hope to incorporate a temporal dimension into mapping, using construction and demolition dates. This would make it possible to explore how changes in the built environment unfolded over time: to see how a site's use changed over time, or to map notable sites in a given place within specified timeframe, and so on. It also might be possible to integrate such features with historical maps, using the existing capability of changing the underlying map layer.

Tags: About PCAD