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Web Design: Map of Life

Map of Life is a massive database of species sitings with over 350 million records and counting. It combines datasets from around the world in a searchable map interface. A project run jointly from biodiversity labs at Yale University and University of Colorado, it launched publically in April of 2014. We were hired to help with a new website designed around the new MoL logo, and create a connection between website content and the map application, which is housed on Google’s AppEngine platform. We designed the site with the project’s Open Source philosophy in mind (the map platform is housed on Github): built in Drupal and utilizing Fira Sans for the site’s typography, and the entire site’s theme and codebase is in a public repository as well.

We’re really proud of how the site embodies the spirit of the project, which allows users to search on any species in any location worldwide. The map elements, clean typography and open design let the data shine through. The tiles on the home page allow them to highlight the different mapping applications, and scales to allow different numbers of tiles based on what’s being featured at the time. The responsive design ensures that the site performs well and is accessible on any device (with average page load times around one second).

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