In order to celebrate the 800,000 active users of the Google Maps API, Google has launched a showcase website for their product.
The website, named "More Than A Map", features the capabilities of the API and displays various demos to show its power.
It is possible to find demos of the standard maps to satellite views, usage of the "places", routing and more. The source of the demos is also a good way of finding out their usage.
Also, under the "Developer Stories" menu, selected real-world implementations of the API can be found for inspiration.
TileMill is an application (with Windows, Mac and Linux versions) for creating totally-customized and beautiful maps.
Normally, working with GIS data is complicated but TileMill simplifies that as much as possible by sharing data between projects, downloading and unzipping shapefiles, autodetecting projections, indexing SQLite databases, etc. to help us focus on the output.
It can read from multiple popular data sources and enables us to use any patterns/textures, fonts and images on maps.
As web designers/developers, the part that eases the usage of TileMill is its design language: CartoCSS, which is very similar to CSS and has support for mixins, variables and functions.
Also, interactions like hover tooltips or clickable pop-ups can be added to the maps.
Requirements: Windows, Mac OS X or Linux
Google Maps, like any other Google product is already easy-to-use and their API is not that complicated to work with.
However, things can always be simpler and GMaps.js, a feature-rich jQuery plugin, helps consuming Google Maps much easier.
Besides adding a standard map of a specific location, we can define the zoom level, add markers, get the location of a user (HTML5 geolocation), define routes, draw polylines and more with only few lines of code.
And, it has callbacks on every action to integrate any custom events. GMaps.js is not documented in detail, however, it has examples of each feature.
Compatibility: All Major Browsers
JQVMap is a jQuery plugin for rendering vector maps by using SVG for modern browsers and VML for the rest.
It is a heavily modified version of another plugin, jVectorMap, and comes with ready-to-use maps of "world, USA, Europe and Germany".
There are several customization options for beautifying the maps including colors, borders or their opacities.
Maps can have zooming enabled or not, show tooltips of data when hovered and there is callback for clicks.
Also, it is possible to select any regions on initial load or after any custom event.
Compatibility: All Major Browsers
This is a guest post by Phil Leggetter from Pusher
(an HTML5 WebSocket-powered realtime messaging service).
The purpose of this tutorial is to show how to create a realtime location aware visitor tracker for a web site or application.
When a visitor navigates to the page on your site, or accesses your mobile web app, the visitor tracker will display the new visitor hit in realtime, displaying the page they've landed on and where each visitor is on a Google map (lat/long and locality). For the purposes of the tutorial, we'll write our server code in PHP, but you could use any server side language you like.
Here is how the end result will look like:
Here's the order in which we'll cover things:
- Get the basics out of the way
- Connect to Pusher
- Subscribe to new visitor page hits notifications
- Get the visitor's location using the HTML5 Geolocation API
- Broadcast the visitor location and page to all application visitors using Pusher
- Display the visitor location and page information on a Google map
Read the rest of this entry »
Requirements: Pusher Account
Compatibility: All Modern Browsers