Jonah Adkins

Cartography, OpenStreetMap, Open Data, Music, Disney, Sports Cards, Pro-Wrestling, and Ink.

This Is Halloween Part II

18 Oct 2021 » cartography, tangram, here

tl;dr - Visit This is Halloween Part II

Sometimes API’s go on to the next life, never to be seen or heard from again. Like this app I made a few years ago.


It’s dead. Rather, through some cosmic event, it’s reanimated, shuffling through the web in zombie form, only a shell of its former self. Given the spirit of the season, I thought it’d be fun to resurrect this old app. In case you forgot, here’s the deets about it.

Costume Pop-up shops are an interesting concept that breathes new (but temporary) life into the abandoned, dead, and closed medium and big-box stores across the country. Have an old Toys-R-Us or Circuit City near you? Chances are it will be occupied by a costume pop-up shop after Labor Day. For the 2 main retailers, Halloween City and Spirt Halloween Costumes, it’s a great model to capitalize on the spirit of the season. Digging in to Spirit’s website, it reads like a problem from a GIS textbook.

Spirit is ideally looking for temporary 3 MONTH leases that include a kick-out clause (should the landlord secure a permanent deal by June). Since Spirit locations open on or about Labor Day and remain open through November 1st, our ideal lease would run from August 1st through mid-November. To achieve this, we scour the country, making our site selections from January through August. We like to locate our stores in power centers, strip centers, free-standing stores, major downtown retail locations and in major malls surrounded by a national retailer mix. Our aim is to set up in communities that have 1) a population of approximately 35,000+, 2) living within a 3-5 mile radius, and 3) with a car count of at least 25,000 cars per day. Our flexibility is key! While our ideal locations feature between 5,000 to 50,000 square feet of sales floor space with awesome visibility, no store is too large (or too small). We can even adapt to a space with as little as 3,000 square feet.

And who can forgot this quote from my friend Katie:

“…the ephemeral nature of these stores combined with the prolonged death of brick and mortar shops makes this a fascinating and uniquely american-phenomenon..”

Some of the same guts from the old app (which you can read all about here) have been transplanted into this new version, with a few exceptions:

  • Protomaps | the map tiles come from Brandon Liu’s awesome Protomaps. This is a great, new suite of tools for web-mapping. I’m only using the Maps API for the basemap, but there’s a whole bunch of cool offerings like a js map renderer, serverless tiles, and OSM extracts. Switching to the Protomaps tile schema was pretty seamleass and provided an easy way to serve my Haunted Mansion themed basemap.

  • Nominatim | i’ve switched geocoding from the HERE API to Nominatim - no big reason other than having to provide an API Key for Here.

And that’s about it. Reanimating this app for a sequel was fun, refreshing weekend project to keep the seasonal vibrations going. Unlike most sequels, I hope this one is better than the original. Enjoy This is Halloween Part II. 👻 👻 👻


Got questions or comments? Feel free to email me or hit me up on twitter.