GIS Tech News (#53)

3 Mar, 2008

You, Too, Can Create Interactive Mapsp>

Even those with no programming training can use the widely available application programming interfaces to create maps.

By Andrew Roe

Andrew Roe photo

Most of us are fairly adept at working with maps. After all, the GIS, engineering, and architecture fields are largely focused on drawings, maps, and associated data. Likewise, most of us have probably used Web-based mapping services such as Google and MapQuest to find directions to a restaurant, and shared this information by copying and pasting screenshots, driving directions, and Web links.

But did you know you can publish your own interactive maps and embed them in a personalized document or Web page? The technology has become more accessible in recent years, so you don't need to be a Web programmer to create an interactive map — one that allows you to zoom and pan in real time.

The Technology
First, let's review how the technology works and how it has evolved to become so accessible. For those who are intimidated, bored, or nauseated by anything related to computer programming, I promise to be brief. If you can make it through this article and copy and paste text, you should be able to handle creating an interactive map. For those of you familiar with Web programming, much of this will likely be review.

Web pages are typically driven by HTML (hypertext markup language) code. The flashy pictures, maps, and text you see on Web sites are supported in the background by code that determines how the items appear. In the early days of the Internet, programmers had to generate hundreds of lines of code to build a simple Web site. Development tools introduced in the late 1990s simplified Web development for the masses and put many professional Web programmers out of work.Read more »

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Cadalyst contributing editor Andrew G. Roe is a licensed civil engineer and president of AGR Associates. He is also the author of Using Visual Basic with AutoCAD, published by Autodesk Press. E-mail him at


Solutions from Synergis Tutorial

To Vault or Not to Vault, Part 1

By Bill Frederick

The decisions involved in sharing project data vary by company. If your company is struggling with collaboration on projects, you should consider consulting an expert to help determine the proper solution for your organization. Many experts have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly on this topic. I gave a presentation at Autodesk University 2007 about this issue, and the response was so positive that I decided I would share the information with the masses.

Many myths surround the implementation of AutoCAD Civil 3D. One of the most complex issues is how to use the application in a collaborative environment. The possibilities with Civil 3D range from the simple to more intuitive and complex methods. The sharing of project data is essential to complete projects in the most efficient manner.Read more »


Mark Your Calendar: GIS Events

Webinar: Communication 2.0: Choice, Clarity, and Civility

April 29, 2008
2:00 p.m. ET
This session kicks off a new series of 90-minute educational Webinars on leadership training, business etiquette, and networking presented by The Construction Specifications Institute (CSI). The interactive telephone/Internet sessions will connect participants with an expert instructor, access to materials, and the opportunity to ask questions in real time. Read more »

GeoDATA 2008: The Road to Change
May 13-22, 2008
Various U.K. Cities
The GeoInformation Group is offering its sixth national GeoDATA seminar series showcasing geographic data and the benefits it brings to those in both the public and private sectors. This series of events will include educational presentations and an accompanying exhibition. Read more »

2008 ESRI Survey & Engineering GIS Summit
August 2-5, 2008
San Diego, California
See how GIS software integrates with surveying and engineering tools to provide more complete business solutions and field processes. User presentations, access to ESRI experts, and a wide range of session topics are geared to meet the needs of all attendees, regardless of GIS experience. Read more »

Cadalyst's complete list of upcoming events is always available on our Web site. Cadalyst's sister publication, Geospatial Solutions, also offers a full calendar of GIS-related events.