Felt, a new web-based map editor, launched in public beta last week.
Felt isn’t just another web GIS; it’s a tool for collaborative map-making. You can drop pins (even using emojis as markers), plot routes and highlight areas on the map and can annotate all this with text, notes and images. But there aren’t any features typical for professional GIS software, such as editing attribute tables or capturing complex geometries and valid topologies. However, Felt supports importing data from various formats (KML, KMZ, GPX, and GeoJSON) and exporting maps to GeoJSON.
This is a tool for anyone to create maps, whether they have prior knowledge in GIS or not. It’s designed for citizen engagement and participatory mapping; it’s for communities, not professional surveyors. Quite similar to the work around participatory mapping that groups like UCL’s ExCiteS and Mapping for Change do.
I like the simplicity of Felt. It focuses on a well-defined use case and is well executed. Much thought went into Felt’s design; the routing tool is a great example. Wherever you click, it snaps to the closest road and automatically calculates the route between two points, so you don’t have to add nodes to follow bends or turns at every intersection. By holding the Shift key while drawing, you can also draw segments that don’t align with the road network.
The team behind Felt found a gap in the current product landscape and is addressing the need nicely. I’m curious where they will take the $15M Series A funding.