OpenLayers 3 Map that Animates Emojis Using LokLak API

OpenLayers3 maps are fully functional maps which offer additional interactive features. In the Emoji Heatmapper app in Loklak Apps, I am using interactive OpenLayers3 maps to visualize the data. In this blog post, I am going to show you how to build an OpenLayers 3 map that animates emojis according to the query entered and location tracked from the LokLak Search API.

We start with a simple map using just one background layer in a clean style.

var map = new ol.Map({
target: 'map',  // The DOM element that will contains the map
renderer: 'canvas', // Force the renderer to be used
layers: [
// Add a new Tile layer getting tiles from OpenStreetMap source
new ol.layer.Tile({
    source: new ol.source.OSM()
// Create a view centered on the specified location and zoom level
view: new ol.View({
    center: ol.proj.transform([2.1833, 41.3833], 'EPSG:4326', 'EPSG:3857'),
    zoom: 2


Sample Output which displays map:

The data set for the locations of tweets containing emoji in them are tracked using search API of LokLak, which is in the form of simplified extract as JSON file. The file contains a list of coordinates named as location_point, the coordinate consists of lat and long values. With the coordinates, we will create a circle point i.e.,marker on the map showing where the emoji have been recently used from the tweets posted.

In the callback of the AJAX request we loop through the list of coordinates. The coordinate of the resulting line string are in EPSG:4326. Usually, when loading vector data with a different projection, OpenLayers will automatically re-project the geometries to the projection of the map. Because we are loading loading the data ourself, we manually have to transform the line to EPSG:3857. Then we could add the feature to the vector source.

for(var i = 0; i < tweets.statuses.length; i++) {
        if(tweets.statuses[i].location_point !== undefined){
            // Creation of the point with the tweet's coordinates
            //  Coords system swap is required: OpenLayers uses by default
            //  EPSG:3857, while loklak's output is EPSG:4326
            var point = new ol.geom.Point(ol.proj.transform(tweets.statuses[i].location_point, 'EPSG:4326', 'EPSG:3857'));
            vectorSource.addFeature(new ol.Feature({  // Add the point to the data vector
                geometry: point


Markers on the Map:

We can also style the markers which gets rendered onto the map using the feature provided by OpenLayers.

var style = new{
    stroke: new{
        color: [64, 200, 200, 0.5],
        width: 5
    text: new{
        font: '30px sans-serif',
        text: document.getElementById('searchField').value !== '' ? document.getElementById('searchField').value : '', //any text can be given here
        fill: new{
            color: [64, 64, 64, 0.75]


Styled Markers on the Map:

So these were a few tips and tricks to use the interactive OpenLayers3 Maps.

The full code of the example is available here.


Published by

Kavitha Nair

Open Source Enthusiast and Wanderlust.