Back to Library » Updates about The Atlas & General News » A brand new version of The Atlas
Ellory Monks

Co-Founder of @TheAtlas4Cities. Yes: infrastructure, cities, environment. Also: USMC, real food, women engineers, Rice University. No thanks: running.

Created: Tuesday, April 9, 2019 | Updated: Thursday, April 11, 2019

If you’re reading this, you’re on the brand new version of The Atlas! Yes, friends, you read that right. Over the last year, we’ve undertaken something crazy: we completely redesigned and rebuilt The Atlas.

Why? Because we understood that to really improve how city officials share success stories, learn about what’s working and build relationships with partners, The Atlas needed to be more than just a database of interactive city case studies. It needed to be a full- fledged online community.

This new version of The Atlas lays the foundation for growth. Moving forward, The Atlas will be able to better deliver on our commitment to build safer, smarter and more sustainable cities by connecting city to all of the solutions and partners they need to solve their toughest problems.

What’s new & How you can take advantage

1. Completely redesigned user interface

2. Redesigned city case studies and new inline-editing to add them

San Jose case study about telematics & police vehicles

3. Brand new challenge categories

Screenshot of new city case study database

4. Feeds of recent activity – cities that have joined, case studies that have been added…all constantly updated

5. City & case study management areas

Here’s what you need to do:

  • If you already had an account: reset your password. All your data will still be there!
  • If you don’t already have an account: now’s the time. Do that here!

New features will be continually released over the coming months. We’re always, always improving The Atlas. If you run into any issues while you’re here, or if you have any ideas about new features you’d like us to build, please, please use the orange feedback tab or email

It all started in Excel & PowerPoint

Some of you may already know The Atlas genesis story: city officials asked us to compile a spreadsheet of exciting city projects. We obliged. But then, in a very “If you give a mouse a cookie” fashion, those same city officials wanted to do all kinds of additional things with the spreadsheet of city projects. They wanted to know who was involved in the project. How much it cost. How it was financed. And on and on…

We weren’t convinced that city officials and staff would actually use the type of platform the city staff were asking us to build, so we decided to test the waters with v1 of The Atlas.

We designed the first version of The Atlas on PowerPoint and architected it on an accompanying 100-page word document (yikes.) It was built by (an absolutely amazing) outsourced team at iTransition.

Screenshot of v1 of The Atlas
v1 of The Atlas circa 2016-2017. RIP!

This was back in 2016. Within a year, it became obvious that city officials and staff really, really wanted and needed The Atlas, especially its database of city case studies. As monthly engagement started to exceed 1K city officials & staff per month, we recognized that we were going to quickly outgrow v1. We began the process of bringing development in house by discovering and recruiting Angela to join The Atlas as Head of Development.

Since then, the team has been diligently rebuilding The Atlas from the ground up, including a complete redesign of the user interface and a full stack transition (from .NET to PHP).

These changes put The Atlas in a position to grow and scale in a way that it never could have otherwise, and gives The Atlas an opportunity to provide the type of free online community that city officials want, need, and deserve.

And now for the sentimental stuff

We’ll be rolling out v2 of The Atlas this week at the Transforming Local Government conference in partnership with The Alliance for Innovation, where The Atlas is acting at the official technology partner of #TLG19. But more on that later. 🙂

Milestones like this are an awesome opportunity to reflect on all of the people and partners that helped us get here:

  • V2 of The Atlas was designed in partnership with our city advisory team. These city officials have selflessly given (and continue to give!) The Atlas their time and attention to ensure that we built a community where city staff were excited about sharing, learning and building relationships.

    The Atlas's city advisory team
    Our city advisory team. We’d be nowhere without these folks.
  • None of this would be possible without our incredibly talented and dedicated development team. Angela, Matt and Grey have given so much of themselves to make this possible. No amount of delicious snacks will ever repay them for their thought and dedication.
  • Our earliest investors. Who understand and share our vision, and believe that we’re the scrappy team that will get it done.
  • Our advisors Shalini Vajjhala, Mayor Nutter, Mayor Berry, Steven Kravit…our closest allies, most trusted colleagues and seemingly endless fountains of wisdom about local government, leadership, and online engagement.
  • The families of Atlas team members for their constant support, encouragement and understanding, especially over the last few months. Because it’s been a wild ride, y’all.
  • So many people and partners contributed to earlier versions of The Atlas: iTransition, CLIMsystems, Blue Raster and the team of post-baccalaureate fellows that researched the first set of projects included in the case study database. Without them, we’d be nowhere.

Happy exploring!