Glenn's Junk Chest

An assortment of Glenn's writings, photography, gaming resources, flash movies, and other creative output.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Web: Inside Google Maps

First off, if you haven't checked out the beta of Google Maps yet, you really should. It's an amazing use of web technologies and provides the most satisfying map-browsing experience I've ever had on the web. It's still got a few rough edges, but even with them unresolved, I expect to be using Google Maps instead of any of the other internet map services. It's just that cool.

But how does it work? If I had implemented such a thing (and I've implemented some similar stuff) I'd have undoubtedly done it in Flash. I would've thought that the obvious other candidates would have been shockwave or Java. All of these provide a robust client-side application development platform on which to do this sort of thing. To be honest, I would've suspected that any technologies built into web-browsers, such as CSS, DHTML, and Javascript, would have been either inadequate to the task, too buggy, or too slow. Not so, it proves, and here (via as simple as possible, but no simpler) is a fairly high-level explanation of how it was done.


At 5:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No workie with Safari. Phoo-ey! -- Kit

At 3:32 PM, Blogger Eric The Read said...

dang that's impressive! I entered a map req that always kills me - MapsOnUs could never locate airports via their TLA (three letter acronym), and Google was smart enough to infer an address. So my search was to get home from the airport, so I entered:"msn to 214 Acewood Blvd 53714" (I added the ZIP so it would be clear it was an address in Madison) - no problem at all! I can't tell you how many times I've needed a map from an airport to a hotel (say "EWR to 400 College Road East 08540" which is next to my work office) and can NEVER get that clearly or efficiently. Usually I have to search for a business or something close to the airport, which is never an easy task. Or helpful at all! This hit it out of the park on the first pitch. Dang!


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