Jul 23 2010
FlashUSAmap rebranded and expanded their service. It’s now Simplemaps and covers more map areas.
There are many oddities about the human race. In particular, how we assess our fellow man is sometimes not the most logical of activities. One quirk we all have in common is how much emphasis we place on one’s geographic origin. Whenever we venture out into other parts of the world the first question is often, “Where are you from?” Based upon this we’ll immediately make judgments about that person. We’ll size up their character, habits, intellect, and how much we may or may not like them. Geography is so important to how we see ourselves that many of us go to great lengths to find out where our ancestors were born.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to where you are on the map- literally. In the United States, we focus on the division between states. There are red states, blue states, the North, the South, East, and West. Of course there’s my favorite state, the one everyone thinks is going to fall into the ocean. We view people from other states and regions in a certain light; sometimes positively, other times negatively. Sometimes it’s fun to perpetuate our own geographical stereotype. When I was thirteen, I went to Baltimore on a trip. When I told people that I was from California they would ask me about surfing. I guess on a map and on television, California looks like one big coastline. At first I would correct them and tell them I’d never surfed. Later in the trip I gave up and began saying that everyone in California surfed. We surf to school or work I told them- every morning in fact. This revelation no doubt inspired wonder and jealousy in my impressionable peers. And it was all because of where I was from on the map.
In the online world maps play a crucial role. If you’re a real estate agent, a nice map can visually show people what areas you serve. Or let’s say you own a chain of restaurants and need to illustrate where they’re all located. At this point you have to call your web developer and ask them to build such a tool. Either they’ll fall over because it’s a rather complex project, or you’ll fall over when they tell you the price. Such an endeavor is non trivial. Fortunately, FlashUSAmap provides an interactive map of the good ole US of A, for exactly this purpose.
FlashUSAmap offers a fully-customizable map, rendered in Flash, that can easily be installed on any website. It works by pulling data from XML files, (pronounced my-ex-smells), that can be edited with a standard text editor. Each state acts as a separate link and can have its own target URL. While hovering over it the state can create a pop-up that reveals more information and also an image. Or, if you don’t have any information to convey about a particular region, it can be deactivated. It’s completely resizable, and links, colors, and text can all be customized. It’s supported on multiple platforms, including PHP, ASP, Python, Ruby and Perl. The Examples link shows more details about the various options.
The price of the map is a staggeringly low $59. Graciously, there’s a free trial version to take this map out for a test, er, cartography ride. From a web development standpoint this map not only saves you money, but precious sanity as well.
FlashUSAmap honed in on solving a specific common problem for the benefit of web developers and site owners around the world. As a result of their effort web developers can install and configure this map, and then move on to other pressing tasks.
promotional video paid for by the Sponsor