The map is not the territory.
December 9, 2010 7:27 PM   Subscribe

I want to make another awesome map.

I have two history maps that are pretty popular: you mouse over icons, you get a pop up box with info in it. Visitors love them, but I want to make a crazier map, with a timeline scroll that hides and reveals different icons depending on where the user is on the timeline (said icons need to have similar mouse over capability). Here are my requirements:
1) It can't be google or service based. The code and related media must sit on our server space.
2) It can't be flash.
3) Someone who's web savvy but not a coding genius (i.e., me) should be able to tinker with it and add to it.

I've looked into Simile and crowdmap, but haven't found exactly what I'm looking for. I work with a graphic designer, so we can make it pretty if it currently looks junky, but I want the solid functionality. A good example, unfortunately flash, can be found here, but it can't be flash.

Help. And thanks. A bunch of teachers will probably use this free resource in their high school and college classes.
posted by history is a weapon to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Have you considered Adobe Director, the long neglected and ignored sister of Flash? The functionality/interface is similar to Flash (with a stage, timeline etc), but it's MUCH easier to learn and code. The code (Lingo) isn't anything like ActionScript, I can't stress enough how much simpler it is. Relatively easy to pick up in a day and begin making interactive things happen. It's really the perfect program to make an interactive media thingy with.

You can download a free trial and from the last time I used it, it gave you full access to the program. The only holdback was that your published program for the web would have a mark in the corner saying "Trial version". But that can be easily avoided if you know someone who has the full version -- just open your file and publish from their computer.
posted by hellomina at 7:46 PM on December 9, 2010

How web savvy/non-coding-geniusy are you? Do you know Javascript? What you're asking is quite specific (timeline based non-flash scrollable maps) and you'll almost certainly need a web developer.

There are jQuery based mapping systems but you'll still need to know javascript and you'd need to have a build process to generate images at various zoom levels and so on. The tools just aren't there for non-technical users unfortunately and you'll need a good web developer.
posted by holloway at 11:35 PM on December 9, 2010

Do you need it to scroll? If not: do you know rudimentary JavaScript? My timeline-based animation with clickable images was on MeFi awhile back. I made it with simple JavaScript. (Link goes directly to code. The updateYear() function does the hard work. The result is here.)

A simple snippet of code like that is enough to cycle images and links in and out. All in browser code, no flash or external services.

(Actually, this specific code is Creative Commons licensed, so feel free to rip it off with attribution if you like!)
posted by zvs at 12:37 AM on December 10, 2010

After that, CSS can do the rest. Feel free to MeFi Mail me for more...
posted by zvs at 12:38 AM on December 10, 2010

Gapminder, especially the desktop version
posted by at at 11:50 AM on December 10, 2010

I just stumbled across some visualizations using Tableau Public that do everything you're looking for, and I'm now watching the how-to video - it seems plenty simple to use.
posted by soma lkzx at 6:06 AM on December 11, 2010

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