Adobe After Effects Forum
Creating a data-driven animation using map coordinates?
Creating a data-driven animation using map coordinates?
by Casey Labatt-Simon on Nov 26, 2019 at 9:18:55 pm

Hi all! I've been tasked with a project where I need to be able to draw as-the-crow-flies lines between two points on a map, based on coordinates in a file. The file I was provided is a .csv file where 1 column contains the latitude of point one, the next column the longitude of point 1, and then the third and fourth columns are the lat and long of the second point. The goal is to be able to have after effects draw lines over time between these points. Ideally, the lines would be curved, and as a stretch goal it'd be amazing if they could be viewed in 3D as well, as if viewing the trail of a plane traveling from one point to another. I need to be able to customize the look of the line, and ideally I'd be able to attach a null to the leading point of each drawn line.

Does anyone know of a plugin that would allow me to do this? My expression skills are pretty amateur, and this project has a fast turnaround time. I found the "GeoLayers" plugin (, which seems like it might give me a good start of having after effects be able to understand the lat and long data I plug into it as more than abstract numbers, but I'm still not sure how I could computationally have it draw lines between points.

I also found this "Locations" plugin ( which seems like a simpler tool that could get me part of the way to doing this animation but again, I'm not sure how I can have it draw lines between the points.

This is a pretty commonly done animation, but I've been researching for the past hour and haven't been able to find much info on how one might go about creating it.

Would extremely appreciate any help. Thank you so much in advance all!

Edit: Ok, thinking further about this now. The "Locations" plugin I think would get me part of the way there, as it would allow me to plot the lat long data I have as null points in after effects. Right now, as I said, my lat long is in groups of 2 (start lat long, end lat long), so I'd need to figure out a way to basically tell after effects to draw lines between two nulls that have been created.

Re: Creating a data-driven animation using map coordinates?
by Graham Quince on Nov 30, 2019 at 10:40:20 am

To draw the lines, I’d use CC Particle World, with the velocity and gravity set to 0 and the producer linked to a 3D Null. You can then use keyframes to move the null from location to location (and have its route curve upwards in 3D.

I hate to promote my own tutorials, but I cover linking CC Particle World to a 3D Null here: - Free FX for amateur films - FX blog

Re: Creating a data-driven animation using map coordinates?
by Max Haller on Dec 2, 2019 at 7:40:35 pm

This won't get you the 3D curved aspect, but I've used the beam effect to generate a line between null points before. Essentially you just parent the start and end position to the nulls. Not sure how to go about the curving of the line from there. From maybe some combo of precomping and lens correction/ sphere/ bulge effects.