Posts Tagged ‘google mashup’

Take Control of Your Maps (A List Apart)

Monday, May 12th, 2008

(Reprinted from A List Apart. Thanks Peter! Paul Smith is is a co-founder and developer at EveryBlock, see this blog post. He has been creating sites and applications on the Web since 1994. He’s also co-creator of the Election Day Advent Calendar, and a founding member of Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail. He lives in Chicago, Illinois.)


map a list apart

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. As websites mature and the demand for geographic applications grow, the old mashup arrangement is starting to chafe. Mapping components are more and more vital, and so we demand greater control, expressiveness, and functionality from them.

Fortunately, as in many aspects of internet technology, an ecology of open source online mapping tools has emerged alongside the market leader. It is now possible to replicate Google Maps’ functionality with open source software and produce high-quality mapping applications tailored to our design goals. The question becomes, then, how?

Continue reading how to create a custom web map . . .

— And skipping right to the conclusion —


One of the great things about online mapping is that it straddles the line between the artistry and communication of cartography, and the precision and programmability of GIS. You can produce great-looking maps that are highly functional and integrate smoothly with your application. It’s my hope that this article demystified the web map stack and will get you thinking about how you can take control of the maps in your site.


There are many open source projects related to online mapping and GIS. This article touched on these:

In addition, just to name a few: Modest Maps and Mapstraction are browser UI libraries similar to OpenLayers, in Flash and JavaScript, respectively. GeoServer and MapServer are alternatives to Mapnik in the map rendering department. You owe it to yourself to investigate these alternatives, as they each excel in different ways and one may meet your needs better than the others.

Every Block – Adrian Holovaty’s New Project

Wednesday, March 5th, 2008

every block logoAdrian Holovaty’s new project is EveryBlock, where he and his team answers the question: “What’s happening in my neighborhood?” The website’s aim is to collect all of the news and civic goings-on that have happened recently in your city, and make it simple for you to keep track of news in particular areas. The site is a geographic filter — a “news feed” for your neighborhood, or, yes, even your block. So far only Chicago, San Francisco, and New York but more “coming soon”.

Adrian describes himself as a journalist and Web developer. He has developed award-winning Web applications for (I work for the print edition, he worked for the web edition), and and started EveryBlock after being awarded a two-year grant from the Knight Foundation. He’s one smart dude.

His 2005 project, developed with co-EveryBlocker Wilson, was one of the original Google Maps “mashups” — and eventually helped influence Google to open its mapping infrastructure for all to use.

Adrian co-created Django, a free, open-source development framework that makes it fast and easy for programmers to build Web sites. He co-wrote the Django Book in 2007. Source: