Introducing MapX, a spatial data infrastructure for the management of natural resources

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Introducing MapX, a spatial data infrastructure for the management of natural resources

Pierre Lacroix
Dear Suchith,

Following you email let me introduce the MapX initiative.

MapX -- a partnership between UN Environment, the World Bank and GRID-Geneva— is a spatial data infrastructure that aims to support the sustainable use of natural resources by improving access to geospatial information and related monitoring technologies. MapX is based on an online application that provides authoritative spatial data at various geographical scales (local, national and global). MapX has a data integrity framework using a scorecard to assess the reliability, technical accessibility, openness and sustainability of geospatial data. Originally set up for stakeholders involved in the extractives sector, the MapX initiative has recently expanded to other fields where spatial data can help inform stakeholder dialogue, prioritisation of investments and impact monitoring such as disaster risk reduction, chemicals management, biodiversity planning, renewable energy and environmental security.

MapX is open source and offers tools such as data catalogue, support of OGC standards, data visualisation, data upload, styling and publication, spatial overlap analysis, data download, time slider, story map viewer and editor, dashboards and private sandbox to allow users share geospatial data in a secure space. Bridges between MapX with Kobo, QGIS and GeoServer are under development.

The backend is on Docker with Traefik as proxy/load balancer and Portainer as management solution. The database is on PostgreSQL/PostGIS. The application has been developed with R-Shiny and JavaScript using Mapbox GL JS and custom server-side programs written in RTurf JS is used client side for vector tile analysis and Redis is used on the server side for caching vector tiles. Javascript, HTML, CSS Editor and Highcharts are used in the front-end. We are currently developing an API with Node JS.

The UNBiodiversityLab is a partnership between UN Environment and UNDP. It includes an online platform (, powered by MapX) intended for countries who need to include geospatial features in their report to the CBD. The UNBiodiversityLab  is an example of integration of MapX into external applications (for the moment through iFrames and later through the use of the API) in order for users to navigate through geospatial layers from a custom application rather than directly from an SDI like MapX. 

Useful links: 
Code repository: external contributors are welcome!!

Best regards.
Hi all,
It is good to see many projects in various UN agencies moving to open source and OSGeo . For example, FAO
It will be very helpful if those working in any UN projects using open source. OSGeo tools , please send details to the OSGeo UN committee mailling list at  <a href=" ">   
I have interest in global forest protection and biodiversity work . Last week, I came across  UNBiodiversity lab <a href="   which">   which is interesting work . Looking through it, I came across MapX  and wanted to learn more. Thanks to Barend Köbben , I got some  basic info that it is OS using many OSGeo tools [2].
With lot of activities happening, it is very difficult to keep track of all developments. I would like to request all project teams working in OSGeo tools in UN projects to please share with  OSGeo UN committee mailling list. Please share overview of the project with website links, overview of the tools, links to public repository of the project etc as it will be very helpful for the wider community to learn more ideas for the future. Many thanks..
Best wishes,
Pierre Lacroix, PhD.
Lecturer - University of Geneva:
SDI specialist - UNEP/GRID–Geneva
Science Division
UN Environment
Geneva - Switzerland
Skype: pierrelacroix-univ-of-geneva

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