Great interactive Caribbean travel map

I’m very impressed with this NY Times map that ran last weekend:
http://travel.nytimes.com/2007/10/28/travel/28curacao.html
(follow the “click to explore venues” link in their left sidebar)

Caribbean Map – New York Times

On the surface, this map is a Flash-based interactive graphic that makes use of Google maps thru a “mashup” (inside of Flash) enabling the cartographer to use Google for the detailed street and satellite maps to plot features (like travel points of interest) onto. This information is often more detailed than the databases we have and can quickly be deployed. The downside is the “look” is Google and after awhile, every mashup seems to look alike.

But this NY Times example uses custom map icons and mouseOver effects to good use to distinguish itself. And you can’t even tell it’s a mashup at first view. It starts with a regional Caribbean map (custom NY Times cartography) and then zooms into the specific country before fading to the Google mashup.

This map is also well integrated into it’s host page. In-line with each point of interest description in the HTML is a link back to the map. When the user clicks on the “MAP” link, the photo on the top of the page changes to the interactive map, zooms in, and displays that feature, even if the map wasn’t displayed at first.

Excellent interactive!

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