#heweb10 - One Map to Rule Them All

APS9 / 9:00 am / Wednesday
Chad Killingsworth @chadhikes, Missouri State University

Maps are really fun … wait … WELL DESIGNED maps are really fun icon smile #heweb10   One Map to Rule Them All

For developers - maps are often overwhelming, very time consuming and under-appreciated. It doesn’t have to be that way — you can have a centralized map that is easily created and maintained.

When Maps Go Bad

  • Out of Date
  • PDFS or images
  • Not enough or too much information
  • unfamiliar interface
  • Information overload — you don’t have to include EVERYTHING

Don’t Reinvent the Wheel

  • Use familiar interfaces
  • remember - maps aren’t fun if they require a manual

Print Meets Web … you’re still going to have printed maps.  They should coordinate without the online maps.

Customize with markers - and use the same on print and web versions

  • buildings
  • bus stops
  • bike racks
  • artwork

Google Maps API Versions

  • Version 2 - Everything but the kitchen sink
    • synchronous API - tiles can’t be downloaded until the very end of the loading process
    • not designed for mobile devices
    • 17-19 seconds for tiles to load on iphone 3G
    • now deprecated (you have 3 years to switch to version 3)
  • Version 3 - specifically designed for Android and iPhone
    • released as the official API at Google I/O May
    • progressive loading (get you on tiles as soon as possible)
    • version 3 doesn’t contain all the features of version 2 (v2 contained a lot of nonmap related features- and those aren’t in v3)

The Basics

  • KML Layers (KML is just XML … you can edit it in notepad!)
  • Use Google Earth to build out your campus map buildings -
    • using the polygon tool you can just draw around each building — and it will create the appropriate KML for you
    • Copy the placemark data into your master KML file

Maps on the Go

  • iPhone Apps Usage — google maps is the #3 app used by all iphone users
  • Android — maps is #2
  • Can’t we all just get along?
    • each platform/device has their own SDK for maps
    • Maps API v3 can now run the same code on “all” (all = iphone, android phones);  don’t use the native SDK
    • should only be thought of as an Application.  It just happens to be one that you use web technologies to build.

You can do a lot with student labor. Take advantage of them!

When you get your awesome map up and running … one of your first questions will be:


Even though they can just put a bookmark to the webpage on their phones … it’s a stumbling block.

You probe need to think about creating an app … for pure discoverability in the app store.

If you build it … they will come … “  LOL

The Solution:  Hybrid Application

  • Write a very basic wrapper application
  • Embed a web view
  • Point the web view at your map
  • You’re done


  • Chad’s blog post about his presentation
  • Mobile Map Template
  • Google Maps API v3 Documentation
  • Google Maps API v3 Articles (includes iOS and Android application development how-to)
  • Related Blog Posts

This post was written by:

Lacy Tite - who has written 10 posts on .eduGuru

Lacy is a web developer for Vanderbilt University (Go 'Dores!) in the  University Web Communications office (which is responsible for the Vanderbilt homepage and all top level pages - as well as providing development, design, content management, communication strategy assistance to the entire Vanderbilt community.)  Follow Lacy: twitter | VU project blog | delicious

One Response to “#heweb10 - One Map to Rule Them All”

  1. Says: