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Kartograph.js Documentation

Getting started

The first step is to create an empty HTML document, include jQuery, RaphaelJS and Kartograph.js. You also need a container element for your map.

        <script src="jquery.min.js"></script>
        <script src="raphael-min.js"></script>
        <script src="kartograph.js"></script>
        <div id="map"></div>

Once the document has loaded you can initialize your Kartograph map using:

var map = kartograph.map('#map');

If the namespace kartograph sounds too long for you, you can use the alias $K instead.

var map = $K.map('#map');

By default Kartograph.js will try to fit the map into the container element. If the container element has a height of 0, the map will be sized to fit the width while maintaining the aspect ratio of the map data. However, you can override this by providing explicit width and height.

var map = kartograph.map('#map', 600, 400);

Loading SVG maps

Now you want to load your SVG using loadMap(map_url, callback).

map.loadMap('mymap.svg', function() {
    // do something with your map, add layers etc.

In case that your callback function lives outside the scope of your map the map instance is passed to the callback function as the first argument.

function callback(mymap) {
    // do something with mymap, add layers etc.
map.loadMap('mymap.svg', callback);

Note: If you call loadMap again, any existing map content will be removed.

Deferred syntax

Kartograph now supports the Deferred object syntax, too.

var mymap = kartograph.map('#map');
mymap.loadMap('mymap.svg').done(function() {
    // do something with your map

Advanced options

loadMap() supports some additional parameters which you can access by passing a dictionary as third parameter:

map.loadMap(map_url, callback, options);

The following options are available:

  • padding: custom padding around the map. Use negative padding to hide the strokes at the edge.
  • halign: Horizontal alignment of the map inside the map container. Possible values are left, center and right. Default is center.
  • valign: Vertical alignment of the map inside the map container. Possible values are top, center, bottom. Default is center.
  • zoom: Zoom level. 1 = no zoom

Passing SVG as string

In some situations you might not want to load SVGs. As of 0.4.1 you can pass SVG directly as string via setMap(). You don't need to pass a callback function here.


This allows you to handle map loading yourself, for instance in situations where you need to load maps from other servers (cross-origin).

Displaying Map Layers

Each Kartograph SVG map contains one or more layers (stored in SVG groups). Kartograph.js allows you to add these layers to your interactive map. The most simple way to add a layer is to call map.addLayer() with the layer name as first argument.

map.loadMap('mymap.svg', function() {

Renaming layers

You can also give the layer a new name. This is especially useful if you add the same layer several times and want to style them differently.

map.addLayer('mylayer', { name: 'newlayername' });

Specifying a key attribute for layer paths

In Kartograph SVG maps, each path can hold a range of data attributes. In some situations one of these attributes can be used as a key for identifying the paths, which is used by some features of Kartograph.js. To specify the key attribute you can set the key option to the name of the attribute.

map.addLayer('mylayer', { key: 'ISO' });

Prevent blocking of UI

Sometimes when you're dealing with large maps containing lots of features, it happens that running addLayer will block the user interface for a second or so. To prevent this you can tell Kartograph.js to add the layer paths in smaller chunks, and giving the browser a chance to do other stuff in between.

The following call will add the layer paths in chunks of 50 paths.

map.addLayer('mylayer', { chunks: 50 });

Map Styling

Kartograph.js provides different ways to style your maps.

Map styling using CSS

You can load a stylesheet for your map using loadCSS. Of course, you could also just include the stylesheet using <link …>, but this wouldn't work in Internet Explorer, since RaphaelJS renders using VML there. In fact loadCSS() will load the stylesheet, parse it and apply the styles by converting the CSS attributes to the corresponding Raphael calls.

map.loadCSS('map.css', function() {
    map.loadMap('mymap.svg', function() {

Map styling without CSS

You can also style your map directly using the Kartograph.js API.

map.addLayer('mylayer', {
    styles: {
        fill: '#cdd',
        'stroke-width': 0.5

You can achieve the same using style().

map.getLayer('mylayer').style('fill', '#cdd');

Conditional styling

By passing a function instead of static values you can apply conditional styling. This way you can create choropleth maps.

map.getLayer('mylayer').style('fill', function(data) {
    return data.id == "foo" ? '#d00' : '#ccc';

Hint: You can also use SVG filter to style your maps.

Changing drawing order of paths in a layer

You can change the order in which the paths of a map layer are drawn using sort(). It takes a callback function which should return the value to sort by (either a string or number).

map.getLayer('mylayer').sort(function(data) {
    // sort paths by name
    return data.name;


Listening to mouse events

It's easy to respond to mouse events. Kartograph supports the following events: click, dblclick, mouseenter, mouseleave. Please refer the jQuery mouse event documentation to learn more about the different event types.

map.addLayer('mylayer', {
    click: function(data, path, event) {
        // handle mouse clicks
        // *data* holds the data dictionary of the clicked path
        // *path* is the raphael object
        // *event* is the original JavaScript event

Multiple event handlers

Of course you can add event handlers later, too.

    .on('click', function(data, path, event) {
        // do something nice
        path.attr('fill', 'red');
        console.log(e.mouseX, e.mouseY);


Setting simple built-in tooltips

Using the title property you can set the title attribute for each path of a layer. If you provide a function it will be evaluated for each layer path. The path data will be passed as the first argument.

map.addLayer('mylayer', {
    title: function(data) { 
        return data.name; 

Advanced tooltips using jQuery.qtips

For more advanced tooltips you need to include the jQuery qTips plugin.

<script src="jquery.qtips.js"></script>
<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="jquery.qtip.css">

You can download both files from Github:

In the tooltip callback you can either return a single string or and array of two strings, of which the first will be shown as tooltip header and the second as tooltip body.

// single string
map.addLayer('mylayer', {
    tooltips: function(d) {
        return 'Some html code here: '+d.name;

// array [title, body]
map.addLayer('mylayer', {
    tooltips: function(d) {
        return [d.name, 'some html code for the body'];

You can use any of the available tooltip themes, or write your own custom tooltip style. The following line will force qtip to use the bootstrap tooltips:

$.fn.qtip.defaults.style.classes = 'ui-tooltip-bootstrap';

You can update the tooltips later, too:


See choropleth showcase for a running tooltip demo.

Create your own tooltips (without qtip)

Of course, if you don't want to use qTips you can also implement your own tooltip solution using the mouse event handlers mouseenter and mouseleave. See Events.

Working with layers and paths

There are several ways to access and manipulate layers and paths after you created them. First of all you can use getLayer to get a Layer object.

var layer = map.getLayer('mylayer')

Query for specific paths

The following returns all paths that have an attribute iso3 set to "DEU".

layer.getPaths({ iso3: "DEU" });

Accessing data of all paths

You can get the data of all the paths of one layer using getPathsData. This is useful if you want to add map symbols based on data that is already included in the SVG map. The call will return an array of data dictionaries.


Symbol Maps

Kartograph.js provides addSymbols as an easy API for adding symbols to your map. You at least need to pass a dictionary with the following properties:

  • type — defines which kind of symbols you want to use
  • data — an array of data objects of which each will be represented by a symbol
  • location — a function which returns an array [longitude, latitude]

On top of that, each symbol type has some additional properties (such as radius for Bubble symbols).

    type: $K.Label,
    data: [{ name: 'Berlin', lon: 13.4, lat: 52.517 }],
    location: function(d) { return [d.lon, d.lat] },
    text: function(d) { return d.name; }

To learn more about symbol maps, please check out the symbol map documentation.



SVG Filter


The GeoPath API allows you to add SVG paths with WGS84 coordinates. Kartograph will project each point and create an SVG path.

map.addGeoPath(points, commands);

If commands is not provided, Kartograph.js will connect the points by straight lines.

To learn more about SVG paths, please read the RaphaelJS documentation.

Straight line example

function pt(lon, lat) {
    return new kartograph.LonLat(lon, lat);
map.addGeoPath([pt(52.1, 11), pt(51.3, 10)]);

Closed polygons

To create

var pts = […]; // array of polygon points
map.addGeoPolygon(pts, 'mypolygon')