the aim of this project is to provide a mechanism for embedding customized static map visualizations into websites. Static means that the visualizations are limited to a single view and users aren't able to zoom and pan into the map (maybe this functionality will be added in later versions, but it seems to be too much for the first release).
Today, most web-based map visualizations use map providers like Google Maps or Openstreetmaps (OSM). While these services are very easy to use, they are mostly limited to the mercator projection.
as3-maps is the inofficial name for a flash-based map application that..
- is a compiled swf that is ready to be embedded into websites
- is highly customizable through a well defined api
- is able to display quantitative data sets for countries and continents (using iso country codes)
- enables the usage of many map different projections instead of being tied to the mercator projection
- allowes the maps to be freely centered at any longitude
the project consists of several seperated parts. At first there will be a web service that does all the pre-processing of the raw map data like clipping and simplification.
- sending all raw map data out to the clients will cause too much traffic
- calculations for polygon clipping and simplification consume too much cpu power on the clients (and would take too long)
Secondly there will be a clear defined API to define the appearance of the map and the data visualization.
Thirdly there will be serveral exchangable rendering modules allowing to target different graphics interfaces. It will be possible to render the map either using flash or svg or html5 canvas, depending on what technologies are available on client-side.
as3-maps is still in a very early stage. There are a couple of open issues.
- find a better name for this project
- polygon clipping (weiler atherton)
- polygon simplification (special visvalingam) as implemented here http://mapshaper.com/test/MapShaper.swf
as3-maps will be released under an open source license and will be free to use.