[Editor's note: This seems kinda odd given the poor image resolution, but I'm sure there's a use for it and someone will figure out how to sample higher res tiles. Thanks Laris!]
2-D maps are great, but sometimes it’s cool to gaze into the distance. Today we’re happy to announce support for perspective in the Maps API for Flash. We’ve taken the regular API, added pitch and yaw, borrowed the look-around control from Google Earth, and thrown in some nifty camera trajectory support. The opportunity to see the world from a chosen point of view is now in the hands of a user!
Here’s a perspective map in action. Sit back and watch or dive in and drag the view. Try holding down the zoom plus (+) or minus (-) buttons to see the new smooth continuous zoom.
Play with demos and the possibilities emerge. Shadows stretch out as the land tilts back. Foreground detail blends with background context. Movement through the world becomes first-person in nature and distant features can rapidly be dragged to the fore. On a regular map a cluster of markers might only confuse. Spin a perspective map and their pattern becomes clear as nearer markers pass in front of their more remote partners.
A key strength of Flash is its ubiquitous nature and we’ve taken care to develop an API that preserves this advantage. While supporting the latest, greatest Flash players, the API requires only Flash 9. Build a single target and API runtime code matches implementation library to player version. Flash 10 users gain the benefits of the native 3-D graphics support–rendering speed and accuracy–but Flash 9 users won’t be left out.
So how do you create a 3-D map? If you’ve not used the Maps API for Flash before here we’ve got lots of documentation to help you get up and running. For those who’ve used the API and have an existing map to hand, three quick changes should suffice:
As always, for those of us working on APIs, the most rewarding aspect is of seeing what developers do with it. Here’s what some of our trusted testers have done to date:
Check out some more demos, have a play, make some maps, and let us know what you think!