Map Bureau Releases AJAX-Capable Web Mapping Component

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Map Bureau today announced a component for web pages that supports the popular AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) style of web development for mapping applications.

Map Bureau, producer of interactive maps and mapping tools for the web, announced today the release of Version 2.0 of pointMapper, an AJAX-capable component for integrating mapping into web applications.

In contrast to the traditional web mapping approach, pointMapper places control of map state and handling of user interaction at the client rather than the server. This is done via a rich JavaScript API for loading maps and layers, for placing marks, lines, and polygons over the map, for setting callbacks for clicks, and for mapping XML data retrieved from the server. Thus pointMapper provides the foundation for developing mapping applications using the popular client-centered AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) style of web application development.

The usual benefits of the AJAX approach are realized: user interaction with the map can be freely choreographed to suit the application, with crisp response and minimized server traffic. PointMapper Version 2.0 includes a tiling engine for handling LOD ("Level of Detail") maps-- maps where content is retrieved from the server as needed when the user zooms and pans. Although arbitrarily complex interaction styles are possible, simple applications can be coded with just a few lines of JavaScript.

Chris Goad, president of Map Bureau, said, "We are delighted with the applications our customers have implemented using earlier pointMapper versions. Version 2.0, however, is particularly exciting, since it brings together capabilities that will support a broad range of mapping applications. We've added layer handling, line and polygon drawing, and, perhaps most important, the tiling engine for Level of Detail."

The implementation of pointMapper is in Macromedia Flash and JavaScript, and needs no client-side software installation on the major modern browsers running on Windows, Mac, or Linux. The Flash implementation means that maps are normally represented in the extremely compact SWF format, minimizing download times and allowing animated zooming and panning. However, all pointMapper capabilities are exposed in the JavaScript API, meaning that there is no need for Flash development tools to create applications.

Since the intelligence is placed at the client, pointMapper applications can be hosted at any web server. The pointMapper kit can be downloaded as low-cost shareware from the Map Bureau website, and consists of the pointMapper component, map content, and JavaScript support code. The kit need only be installed as a server directory; no active code running at the server is required.


Chris Goad

Map Bureau


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