Evernote 5 Launches With Atlas for Notes Feature Powered by MapBox

November 19 2012 by Will White

Evernote just launched Evernote 5 for Mac, a much anticipated update that completely redesigns the app from the ground up. You can download it for free from the App Store. Evernote 5 features the new Atlas view that geocodes and organizes your notes on a map so it’s easy to navigate to your items based on where you created them.

Notes or photos from a device with location support are geotagged and organized into Place Cards. You can then drill down on a specific Place Card to see your notes spread out across a street level map. All your old notes that have geo data attached will be instantly mapped when you upgrade. It’s fun to see where you have been over the last few years and this feature makes it easy to find notes from those trips.

From Evernote’s announcement post:

People are wired to build rich contexts around their memories. It’s more than just what the memory is, but also where it was created and who else may have been there. With the new Atlas view, you can see all of your notes on a map, even those created in Evernote Food or Evernote Hello, letting you find and relive your memories in a totally new way.

Fast and Light Geocoding

The geocoding in Evernote Atlas is powered by the MapBox geocoding service that’s in private beta. The service lets you translate a place name into a lat/lon coordinate, and the reverse geocoder lets you turn coordinate into a place name. Evernote takes the lat/lon provided by your mobile device, feeds to the reverse geocoder, and uses the result to decide what Place Card the note should appear on.

The geocoder is powered by 100% public domain data. We are using Natural Earth for countries and provinces, Flickr Shapefiles for cities, and U.S. Census TIGER for zip codes. We combined these sources into a database of nearly 200,000 places that the MapBox geocoder uses to quickly return accurate results.

In addition to the existing data, we are working with others in the OpenStreetMap community to establish guidelines that ensure the ODbl does not virally infect users' data when using OpenStreetMap for geocoding. Once finalized we can add OpenStreetMap point and polygon data to the geocoder and work with the larger community to improve the entire system.

The MapBox geocoder beta does not offer street level address lookup. For that we continue to recommend using MapQuest Open, which has awesome terms that allow you to display your geocoded data on top of your custom MapBox maps.

Design Matters

Design is important to Evernote and the beautiful app redesign is proof of this. To make maps a core component of the app they needed to look amazing and match the overall aesthetic. The team at Evernote used TileMill to design a totally custom map with a unique water texture for the Place Cards and customized MapBox Streets to create a complementary street level map for the detailed views. The result is an impressive map with a design that blends in perfectly with the rest of the app.

The team then used our integration tools and APIs to embed the maps into their native Mac app using a Safari-like web view. This allows fast and easy iteration during development to prototype the look of the map and the fit into the native application experience.

Hats off to the Evernote team on a beautiful app. You can download Evernote 5 from the App Store for free. To get custom maps for your own applications, set up a free MapBox account and get started with our documentation.