It’s always refreshing discovering new startups and firms mixing geospatial concepts with other technology and media platforms. Not necessarily true geospatial firms which we’ve come to label as such, but clearly operating on the fringe and providing selected products and services mainstream geospatial consultants market and provide. One such relatively new firm is Orbitist based out of Fredonia, New York.
Orbitist is led by Nick Gunner who has been filming and directing video productions since 2007 when he began pursuing his Bachelor of Science Degree in TV/Digital Film, Audio/Radio production, and Earth Science at the State University of New York at Fredonia. During that time, Nick started building content management systems and digital mapping technology which he continued while serving four years as the university’s New Media Manager. On the side, he continued to pursue freelance work as a public radio producer, freelance documentary filmmaker, and web developer. In the Summer of 2015, Nick launched Orbitist LLC as part of the Fredonia Technology Incubator with the idea of using digital storytelling and technology to make important information as accessible as possible.
The Roger Tory Peterson Institute (RTPI) of Natural History was Orbitist’s first client. In the Summer of 2015 they commissioned a short documentary on the Chadakoin River in Jamestown, as well as map three tours about various natural history topics. Representative examples of RTPI products can be viewed on YouTube and the bottom three links on this Orbitist web page. During this same time period – and ongoing today – Orbitist also performed work for the Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau.
Other recent products and services include:
Relying on the experience he gained building systems for the last 10 years, software products used at Orbitist reflects Nick’s commitment to combining content management with interactive mapping – much of which is accomplished by integrating and combining leading Open Source components. Currently the Orbitist mapping platform is a simple content management system which associates posts (internally called “points”) with latitude/longitude values. The Orbitist team often uses Mapbox GL as a primary front-end mapping library but behind that everything in their system is API-driven, meaning story maps are created top of products such as Leaflet and Google Maps. They also use Carto as a stand-alone product for building real-time analytics maps. All combined, the Orbitist “system” also manages images and a variety of data (icon type, time of day, external links, etc.) and provides access to YouTube, Vimeo, and even Facebook for video hosting. GitHub is leveraged to host static web projects. Continue reading