Thematic groups created in ArcMap and enhanced with Adobe Illustrator (AI), were saved as separate AI files (by region) and further organized as AI “layers.” Note that a layer should be created for every group of shapes which would be always dealt with in the same way in an animation. For example, if a group of lines would appear and disappear together and never separately, they should be organized into a layer. These layers later correspond to symbols in the Flash application. All layers were then selected and copied/pasted into Flash at once. Flash has the ability to implicitly import AI layers as Flash layers copied and pasted into it. Note that the “paste in place” command should be used in order to guarantee uniform positioning across layers copied/pasted from different AI files -- the dimensions of the Flash canvas must be the same as the AI document for this to work.
The Flash Actionscript program then deals with all user interaction and data display. Symbols are displayed/not displayed, fade in/out, or are magnified based on program functions referencing the symbols indicated by other user interface symbols (buttons, etc.) which are invoked by user interaction.