Felt and Erica Fischer Revive Development on Tippecanoe

Felt have hired Erica Fischer and are reviving development of Tippecanoe, which hasn’t seen many updates in the last couple of years. The last release was on over two years ago.

Tippecanoe is an essential tool for geospatial-data providers. It creates vector tile sets from various geospatial formats and optimises the data for visualisation purposes, so the resulting maps allow viewers to understand the density of a data set without clustering or excluding data.

Speaking in the Felt blog, Erica hints at what might be next in store for Tippecanoe:

The special challenge of Tippecanoe at Felt is that it is being applied to user uploads with no opportunity for manual configuration, so it has to be able to make efficient, faithful, good-looking tiles without being given any hints about what kind of data it is tiling. I already know that it doesn’t currently do very well at low zoom levels with topographic contours, or with gridded data represented as individual polygons, or with continuous urban parcel polygons, or with branching systems of rivers, and I’m sure the uploads will also soon reveal other usage patterns that need to be detected and given some special treatment.

Felt will maintain Tippecanoe in a fork; Brandon Liu, of Protomaps fame, has also been working on another fork — and they are planning to unify development going forward.

Excellent open-source citizenship all around.