CityMelt.com is an innovative website allowing for the display of multiple types of geographic data by city and state.e.  The website allows users to search for cities and displays demographic, political, weather, economic, natural resource and other types of geographic data using a unique combination of charts, graphs, maps and other displays.  The owner and developers of CityMelt.com have gathered an extensive amount of data and organized it in a logical manner such that users can quickly determine important information about their city of interest.

In 2008 McNamara Consulting was hired as a Consultant for CityMelt.com to provide expertise in geographic analysis and programming.  An open source solution stack of software was used in the website development that included a Linux operating system, Apache Web server, MySQL database management system and PHP programming language (i.e., LAMP).  In addition to the LAMP solution stack of software, JavaScript and HTML were also used by McNamara Consulting to develop various parts of the CityMelt website.  The election pie chart and display of IRS information on the city and county pages were developed by McNamara Consulting.  Also the slider interface for filtering states and cities to match a preset range of criteria was also developed by McNamara Consulting, while the idea for this design was that of CityMelt.com.  The slider interface allows for a unique method for filtering cities by various criteria that facilitates the quick identification of cities that meet user’s specified criteria.  In addition, McNamara consulting used a group of interrelated web development techniques termed AJAX (Asynchronous javeScript and XML) to update web pages asynchronously.  This technology allowed web pages to query the web server to get new information and update the web page must faster without a page reload.  Finally, McNamara Consulting worked with Putty to remotely connect to the Linux web server and manage local website updates as well as to check in updates globally using the Subversion source code management software.

One geographic data problem that arose during the project was the identification of which cities occurred in which counties.  The original solution used a simple nearest neighbor analysis where the city location was matched to the nearest county as a point.  This proved inadequate and McNamara Consulting was quickly able to use GIS technology and our extensive knowledge of existing GIS data to quickly solve the problem in a correct and efficient manner.