Take Control of Your Maps

We live in the era of Google Maps. What started off as an impressive refresh of Mapquest-style maps now fuels web mashups. With APIs official and unofficial, Google Maps is simple enough for front-end designers to embed and for back-end programmers to target. Along the way to becoming nearly ubiquitous, it has played a major role in the “democratization of mapping.” For the practical developer who wants to add geospatial information to a site or application, the Google Maps API has been an easy call.

But, perhaps no longer…ask yourself this question: why would you, as a website developer who controls all aspects of your site, from typography to layout, to color palette to photography, to UI functionality, allow a big, alien blob to be plopped down in the middle of your otherwise meticulously designed application? >>Full Story

Thoughts// Visualization through dynamic mapping is a core function of most—if not all—destination sites and the majority of us (including yours truly) are fixated on using a Google, Yahoo or Live “mash up” maps. While these third party applications are for the most part practical, affordable, and accessible, the ultimate downside is that they come with a loss of branding.

This thought provoking article explores the increasingly accessible world of custom map development through open source platforms. While custom map development does come at a slightly higher upfront cost than the free third party API’s, these costs could be mitigated if the development is deployed over a long term.

But…if neither custom map development nor using API tools from Google fits your budget, smaller DMO’s might have another mapping option out there. Yes, this is a shameless plug…but, a former colleague at Travel Oregon, Sean Egusa, recently left us to form his own mapping application, SideStreet. SideStreet allows organizations to provide “personality” based mapping by providing an application to turn existing PDF’s, JPGs or GIFs into an interactive guide.

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