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Leverage ChatGPT to Quickly Create Interactive Web Maps with Python

Author: GeoDelta LabsTime: 2024-02-12 21:05:01

Table of Contents

Introducing ChatGPT and Its Capabilities for Creating Interactive Maps

ChatGPT is a large language model developed by OpenAI that has taken the internet by storm. It allows users to provide detailed instructions and generate customized code and content. In this post, we will demonstrate how ChatGPT can be used to easily create an interactive map with Python by reading a CSV file containing airport location data.

The key capabilities of ChatGPT that enable simple map creation include:

Understanding natural language instructions to generate relevant code

Using specific libraries like Pandas, Folium, and Leaflet when directed

Customizing the map by changing marker properties like size, color and shape

Adding interactivity to allow clicking on markers to display airport names

Exporting the interactive map to HTML for sharing

Accessing the ChatGPT Interface

To access ChatGPT, go to chat.openai.com and login or create a free account. The interface presents a text box to enter your request and directions. We will provide detailed steps for ChatGPT to generate Python code to plot airport data from a CSV on an interactive map.

Obtaining Initial Map Code from ChatGPT

We can ask ChatGPT to provide Python code using Pandas, Folium and Leaflet to plot airport latitude/longitude data from a CSV file on an interactive map. It generates complete code including importing libraries, reading data, plotting markers and enabling clicking to display airport names. The initial code can be copied and pasted to an IDE like Jupyter Notebook for executing and customizing.

Modifying Map Size, Zoom and Marker Properties

While the initial code from ChatGPT plots the airports nicely, we may want to customize aspects like the zoom level, marker size/color, shape and interactivity.

By providing additional natural language instructions, ChatGPT generates code snippets that can modify properties of the Folium map and markers.

Changing Marker Appearance

We can change the size, color and shape of markers by setting arguments like radius, color and marker=CircleMarker in the Folium circle_marker function. This replaces the default red dot markers with larger green circular ones.

Enabling Clickable Airport Name Popups

By default, the markers display the airport name on click. We can also tweak the popups to show additional info like city and state for each airport from the CSV data.

Exporting and Sharing the Interactive Map

Once we have customized the map to our requirements with ChatGPT's help, we can export it as an HTML file to share or embed on websites.

The code uses the save() method to generate a standalone HTML map with the interactivity preserved without needing Python libraries.

Distributing the Map HTML File

The exported HTML file contains the interactive Folium map as self-contained web content. Others can simply open this HTML file in any browser to view, explore and click on the map markers without needing coding experience.

Conclusion and Future Uses of ChatGPT for Maps

In this post, we saw how easy ChatGPT makes creating customized interactive maps with minimal coding.

Its natural language understanding and code generation capabilities open many possibilities for using AI to build mapping applications.

Some future explorations include creating heatmaps, mapping realtime data, integrating geospatial analysis and developing mapping solutions tailored to specific use cases.


Q: What is ChatGPT and how does it work?
A: ChatGPT is an AI system developed by Anthropic to have natural conversations and follow instructions. It can generate human-like text and code based on the prompts provided to it.

Q: What programming language does ChatGPT use to create maps?
A: In this example, ChatGPT generated Python code using the Folium and Pandas libraries to plot geographical data from a CSV file onto an interactive leaflet map.

Q: How do I customize the map markers in Python?
A: You can customize markers by specifying parameters like radius, color, fill_color when creating CircleMarker objects instead of the default Markers in Folium.

Q: Can I export the interactive map to HTML?
A: Yes, you can export the Folium map object to an HTML file that can be shared and opened in any web browser without needing to run Python code.

Q: What GIS capabilities does ChatGPT have?
A: While limited, ChatGPT shows potential for providing guidance on GIS analysis and generating starter code. It can be helpful for creating visualizations like maps from data.

Q: Can ChatGPT develop full GIS programs and workflows?
A: Not reliably, but it can provide helpful code snippets and guidance. Expert review is still needed for developing complete GIS programs and analysis.

Q: Are there limits to ChatGPT's mapping capabilities?
A: Yes, ChatGPT has limited skills for complex geospatial analysis. It works best for basic interactive visualization based on clear prompts and sample data.

Q: How can I learn more about using ChatGPT for maps?
A: Check out tutorials on generating maps from geographical data with Python and Folium. Learn how to provide ChatGPT with detailed examples to get useful code and insights.

Q: What are other applications of ChatGPT in GIS?
A: Potential uses include generating starter code for spatial analysis, data visualization, converting and processing geospatial data, and more based on conversational prompts.

Q: Should I rely completely on ChatGPT for GIS work?
A: No, always review ChatGPT's output carefully. Use it as an aid for drafts and ideas, not as a replacement for GIS expertise.