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Archive for the ‘Mapping’ Category

Last week I wrote a simple WhereAreYou? application that used the Google Ajax APIs ClientLocation API to access your location via your IP address.

At the same time, we announced support for the Gears Geolocation API that can calculate your address using a GPS device, WiFi info, cell tower ids, and IP address lookups.

Add to all of that, the W3C Geolocation API that Andrei Popescu of the Gears team is editing. You will notice that it looks similar to the Gears API, with subtle differences. The ClientLocation API is quite different.

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When you link to Google Maps on the iPhone, it opens up the naive application to give you the full iPhone experience. Alastair James wanted to use the Google Maps JavaScript API on the iPhone, and wrote up his thoughts:

Before the newest version of mobile Safari, this would not have been possible. Fundamentally you cant drag the map! However, with the new version Apple introduced a javascript API for sensing single and double finger drag events.

So, I went about knocking up a very basic test version (try it on your iPhone). Is buggy, basic and sub-optimal, but proves it could work nicely. Try zooming with the double finger pinch action!

I also tried the new webkit CSS transforms to allow free zooming and rotation, however they are buggy and slow on the iphone! Oh well! Anyway, maybe we can have google maps lite on the iphone?

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I know, I know, this is a bit niche but, given the ubiquity of embedded Google Maps (and having done my fair share of Google Maps hacking), I found two utilities from CloudSync interesting.

The first is a web-based interface for playing around with putting custom markers on a map (i.e., the GIcon and GMarker APIs). As a bonus, the tool generates the JavaScript you’ll need as you play with the UI; there’s an associated blog entry.

The second is CSGeoXML, a handy wrapper API that makes it easy to overlay local KML files into an embedded Google Map. This works around a limitation in the Google Maps GGeoXML API that requires that KML files be located on a publicly accessible server. There’s also a blog entry for this one.

Thanks to Matt Bernier for sharing these with us.

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Ben Nolan has a writeup on a new feature in his Weheartplaces application that tweaks the info popup that comes with Google Maps by using a custom overlay. He walks us through an example that ends up with an Infowin class like this:

JAVASCRIPT:

  1.  
  2. // Infowin class for displaying a miniature info window. Does not
  3. // respond to any events – so you should show and remove the
  4. // overlay yourself as necessary.
  5.  
  6. function Infowin(latlng, html) {
  7.         this.latlng_ = latlng;
  8.         this.html_ = html;
  9.         this.prototype = new GOverlay();
  10.  

 

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Ben Weissmann is one of the researchers at the MIT Media Lab’s Design Ecology group who’s working on Cartagen, a vector-based, client-side framework for rendering maps in native HTML 5. It’s impressive. Here he explains more:

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