Thursday, March 6, 2008

SWF Flash Maps

Are SWF maps worthwhile, or just a gimmick?

Many sites have been putting up some pretty slick SWF maps lately, and the big map api's (google, yahoo, mapquest -- ve?) have followed suite. There's obviously something cool about these SWF maps. However, when I tried to figure out if it would be worth creating one for the most recent CML application, I was hard pressed to figure out how to make a flash map do what I want it to to do, and would it be worth it. Therefore, I figured it would be useful to describe why these flash maps are cool: its because they're vectorized and all geometries are fully loaded after the flash is loaded. This allows all sorts of interaction with individual elements -- elements which don't need to be pulled from remote store. Yet, a prime concern also seems to be more control over styling, and quick integration with other adobe cs tools.

but for a site which needs to generate vectors on the fly from a spatial database, which would then be loaded into the map, is flash still worthwhile? the speed of static geometries would be sacrificed, much of the non-map ui enhancements done in flash can be replicated by using scriptaculus. Other features must be considered.

Especially consider the NYC Subway map -- very nice -- if I can get something like this working, it would be well worth doing in flash -- still though, none of these geographies are generated on the fly.

OOOOH ... I THINK WE JUST NEED TO INCLUDE ALL VECTORS AND JUST TURN THEM ON AND OFF BASED ON ATTRIBUTES IN THE DB OR XML!!!!


Check out these links:
http://www.onnyturf.com/subway/
http://coenraets.org/blog/2006/06/google-maps-collaboration-using-flex-flash-media-server-and-ajax-updated-for-flex-2-ga/
http://justin.everett-church.com/index.php/2005/11/08/maps-that-are-consistent-with-your-design/
http://developer.yahoo.com/flash/maps/
http://map.uoregon.edu/
http://www.theweathernetwork.com/
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