Are Flash (SWF) maps worthwhile, or just a gimmick?
Many sites have been putting up some pretty slick SWF maps lately, and the big map api’s (google, yahoo, mapquest — ve?) have followed suite. There’s obviously something cool about these SWF maps. However, when I tried to figure out if it would be worth creating one for the most recent CML application, I was hard pressed to figure out how to make a flash map do what I want it to to do, and would it be worth it.
The reason flash maps are compelling: they’re vectorized and all geometries are fully loaded after the flash is loaded. This allows all sorts of interaction with individual elements — elements which don’t need to be pulled from remote store. Yet, a prime concern also seems to be more control over styling, and quick integration with other adobe cs tools.
but for a site which needs to generate vectors on the fly from a spatial database, which would then be loaded into the map, is flash still worthwhile? the speed of static geometries would be sacrificed, much of the non-map ui enhancements done in flash can be replicated by using scriptaculus. Other features must be considered.
Especially consider the NYC Subway map — very nice — if I can get something like this working, it would be well worth doing in flash — still though, none of these geographies are generated on the fly, so something involving the database/data and xml is probably necessary.
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