So, I am now in the stage where I decide how to plot the objects from the database onto a map. The question becomes, which map technology do I use. There are several options.
- Google Map, using the Google Map API.
- Yahoo! Maps, using the Yahoo! Maps API
- Build the map in Flash.
- Some form of GIS map.
The first two are relatively easy to accomplish. I just need to pull the info from the database (the longitude and latitude if available, or at least the city and country), make an xml file from that. Have the map page read that xml file for plotting and displaying. The issues with these two methods are getting them to properly display in all browsers, and figuring out how to work the API’s to get the map to look like I want it to.
The third option (Flash) will be much more difficult. It would be really easy to make the map look like I want, but I’m not sure how the plotting of the points would work. I would think each object would have to be identified with a certain point on the Flash movie stage. I don’t know how to be able to use the longitude and latitude to place the objects in the right place on the map. I actually just did a quick search and found this article which might swing the tide to a ‘mashup’ of both 2 and 3, Yahoo! and Flash.
The last option is to use a form of GIS map. While these can generate some pretty cool looking maps, it is mostly due to geographical data compiled by others (elevation, population density, political boundaries, etc). It would require learning a whole new set of tools, programs and technology.
I’m going to try the Yahoo! and Flash setup and see if that will do what I need it to.