Authoring maps that update using CSV files

Comma-separated Value files (CSV) and text files can be added from local files or referenced from URL locations on the Web. An interesting feature of adding CSV and text files via URL locations is that each time you open your map, or otherwise refresh the map or layer, the data is udpated from the source. This means that if the CSV or text file has changed, the map will reflect those changes. Let’s take a closer look at how this works.

An example – Earthquakes

The USGS Earthquake Hazards Program Feeds & Notifications site posts continually updated data in a variety of formats, including spreadsheets (CSVs). The CSV files record earthquake lat/long, magnitude, and other details, and are updated at frequent intervals. Note that Recent Earthquakes are also found in the Living Atlas, and the use of USGS earthquake CSVs here is primarily illustrative.

Below we’ve located the CSV file containing earthquakes recorded for the past hour on the USGS Earthquake Hazards ProgramSpreadsheet Format website. The file is updated every 5 minutes.

Right-click the link to copy the file location (the screen capture shows Chrome options, your browser may be different):

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