Leafmap is a Python package for interactive mapping and geospatial analysis with minimal coding in a Jupyter environment. It is a spin-off project of the geemap Python package, which was designed specifically to work with Google Earth Engine (GEE). However, not everyone in the geospatial community has access to the GEE cloud computing platform. Leafmap is designed to fill this gap for non-GEE users. It is a free and open-source Python package that enables users to analyze and visualize geospatial data with minimal coding in a Jupyter environment, such as Google Colab, Jupyter Notebook, and JupyterLab. Leafmap is built upon several open-source packages, such as folium and ipyleaflet (for creating interactive maps), WhiteboxTools and whiteboxgui (for analyzing geospatial data), and ipywidgets (for designing interactive graphical user interface [GUI]). Leafmap has a toolset with various interactive tools that allow users to load vector and raster data onto the map without coding. In addition, users can use the powerful analytical backend (i.e., WhiteboxTools) to perform geospatial analysis directly within the leafmap user interface without writing a single line of code. The WhiteboxTools library currently contains 500+ tools for advanced geospatial analysis, such as GIS Analysis, Geomorphometric Analysis, Hydrological Analysis, LiDAR Data Analysis, Mathematical and Statistical Analysis, and Stream Network Analysis.
There is a plethora of Python packages for geospatial analysis, such as geopandas for vector data analysis and xarray for raster data analysis. As listed at pyviz.org, there are also many options for plotting data on a map in Python, ranging from libraries focused specifically on maps like ipyleaflet and folium to general-purpose plotting tools that also support geospatial data types, such as hvPlot, bokeh, and plotly. While these tools provide powerful capabilities, displaying geospatial data from different file formats on an interactive map and performing basic analyses can be challenging, especially for users with limited coding skills. Furthermore, many tools lack bi-directional communication between the frontend (browser) and the backend (Python), limiting their interactivity and usability for exploring map data.