Gaining 19,000+ followers and building my dream project chloromaps.com

Deepankar Bhade / February 13 , 2022
6 min read--

Pretty much in all of my socials, I mention that I am the creator of chloromaps.com, and a lot of people wonder what it is about. So here's me documenting the entire journey of building maps_affinity & chloromaps.com .

I have poured my heart into building chloromaps.com, it's my best personal project to date. Even if it was launched in May 2021 the idea for it arose in 2019.

It was May 2019, I had just completed junior college and was waiting for my results to get into a university. I had already planned what I wanted to do in this buffer period. My life before this point was full of failures caused by ill-planning and wanted to change this trend. I wanted my learnings to be driven by building projects around it where the project should revolve around something that bridges between my interest and the thing I want to learn.

I wanted to learn designing + editing and my interests were revolving around geography, history, politics. That's why on 2nd May 2019 I created @maps_affinity with an idea to post choropleth maps around geopolitics.

During those times I used mapchart and datawrapper to create these maps and use design tools to create the posts. This is when I got an idea to build my own version of these that caters to my need. Building it was near impossible as I had no experience in programming and had no plans to do it in the future.

My consistent curation paid off when the page started getting thousands of impressions daily and soon reached its peak of 19,000+ followers. At one time it had around 1 million+ impression. Notable people like Johnny Harris (Vox) and India in Pixels also followed the account.

maps_affinity reaching 1 million+ impressions

maps_affinity reaching 1 million+ impressions

I loved handling the page, connected to a lot of people from around the world it was like building a community. A year since its inception, I started programming in May 2020. Just like learning to design, I was learning programming by building things that merge my interests.

In July once I had a basic understanding of it, I started thinking of building my Map curation tool. Oh boy, it was hard. I spent weeks figuring out how will the entire thing work. Do I have to use SVG? Canvas? It was frustrating how many times I tried and failed to build it. A good thing I did in this time took some time off and come back to it some days later.

This helped me a lot, and in August I got a very bare model application built in Plain vanilla JS and named it Mapmaker v1 . Its code was horrible and barely usable but it worked. I was satisfied that I have figured out the solution and now I just needed to work on improving it. Decided to Take a break and focused on learning more advanced things (react, graphql..).

I decided to build a Maps-based Quiz application for 2 reasons. First I had a large audience to use it and 2nd I wanted to learn to react + firebase. In September 2020 I launched Map Quiz in just some hours of launch it had already crossed the 50,000 documents read limit of Firestore.

People were reporting bugs and I was fixing them it was a lot of fun and rush. This project was also code reviewed by Codedamn in this video was happy when he gave it 9/10 it got me the confidence to keep on building and shipping things.

I kept on learning vue.js, react, nextjs etc rest of 2020. I decided to build v2 of it since I had a good amount of experience now. It took me a couple of days to ship Mapmaker v2 built with nextjs and typescript. This time it was decent, it worked but still didn't feel like a full-fledged product that people can use. I was sure that I was close to my goal so didn't fret much.

Meanwhile, I kept learning and building different things throughout the year. When I was working on the Life project in May 2021 I got burned out for the 1st time in my life. Since the project was stabilizing I decided to take some time off. After some days I was feeling better and started working on my dream project aka Mapmaker v3.

After failing to build it 2 times, I knew "Third Time's the Charm" . I wanted it to be easy to use for people to use and also easy for me to add new maps without doing much programming.

After some days I posted the 1st demo on Twitter. You can see the demo in the below video too.

1st Demo of it (sound on)

Some days later I finally got something that I could give some people to try it out. My 1st beta user was my inspiration indiainpixels whom I had been in contact with and was also building something similair . We got on a call to discuss around features and ideas. After this spent some time shipping features here's a list of demos of them:

The features list was never-ending, it was also this time I joined 100ms . One day when I got on a call with Aniket discussing life and talking around this project with him, he just told me to ship it. So After 234 commits & 41 days of development, I bought the domain and just shipped it.

Aftermath

People used it to create maps for sharing information, many of them used to in their college projects. According to GA, it got organic users from 50+ countries . I was satisfied with how it turned out in the end.

Maps build with chloromaps.com

Maps build with chloromaps.com

As time went by my interests started moving away into other things. I decided to move on and now I no longer actively maintain maps_affinity & chloromaps.com . It all started with an interest to learn to design and ended up at building something cool.

Grateful to Varnika, Linus & Henry for handling the pages(there were more) along with me.

“Life is a journey with problems to solve and lessons to learn but most of all. Experiences to enjoy.” This was one of my destinations and staying at the same place wasn't exciting, so let's see what adventure my next destination takes into.

Lessons

  • Keep building & shipping things
  • If things aren't working out take breaks and revisit
  • Just ship it, features list would never end.
  • Build something that merges your interests

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