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A map with 8.000 different icons

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#1
elHobbes

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Hi everyone! This is my first post here. I'm really happy to find this forum. :)

So, here's my question:

I need to create a map, just with the shapes of the countries and their administrative divisions of second level, in some of the countries, I will use the first level). So blue water, white land, and black thick lines to separate this administrative divisions, I would not need any other kind of layer like name of cities, streets, roads, rivers...nothing.

To get this shapes I would use Open Street Map, Natural Earth Maps or any other source, I still haven't decided which would be the best.

The only thing I need to add to the map are 8.000 points. Each one with a different icon. I've seen GIS Cloud is offering HTML5 maps that can handle one million points, but, as I need a different icon for each point, I don't know if it is possible, well, I'm sure is possible, but would it be viable? Or would it be too "heavy"? Also each one of these markers would link directly to a website. Of course, they don't need to appear in the screen, if the user zooms out, they can disappear, then when he zooms, they appear again.

I want embed the map in this Wordpress theme, then, 2 guys who have no idea about coding, will add this 8.000 points using a simple WYSIWYG application, about 100 markers per day.

I don't know nothing about coding, so if I need to hire someone to help me with some of the technical issues, it would be no problem.


What would be the best way to do this? Google Maps API is now too expensive, so I'm looking to GIS CLoud or Cloud Made, but I don't know if they are the best option.

Even better than creating this markers, I would like to add images to filling the devisions like here: Example. Again, clicking over this images would direct to a website and the user must have the option to zoom in and out.

Is this possible? Can it be done easily?


Thanks!!!

#2
rudy

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Why have 8000 DIFFERENT points? What is the logic behind showing each point differently?

#3
Derek Tonn

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Why have 8000 DIFFERENT points? What is the logic behind showing each point differently?


I was going to ask the exact same question, a la "analysis paralysis." If someone needs a 20-30 page manual just to decipher one's legend or iconography/symbology, I'm not sure that's really going to be a useful resource. I'm sure there are at least a handful of excellent reasons why each of those points needs their own icon! I'm just thinking that, from an end-user perspective, that could end up being very cumbersome/confusing.

Is the goal to have a region simply have a graphic that somehow represents some important feature in the area? i.e. Washington D.C. having an image of the Capitol Building or White House? Or St. Louis being represented by the Arch? That to me makes more sense, especially if corresponding Title/Alt tags describe what those images represent. On the surface though, it just sounds like a very visually confusing method for displaying information. Too much (visual) information = less/no information and meaning conveyed to the end-user. IMHO.
Derek Tonn
Founder and CEO
mapformation, LLC

datonn@mapformation.com
http://www.mapformation.com

#4
natcase

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Why have 8000 DIFFERENT points? What is the logic behind showing each point differently?


I was going to ask the exact same question, a la "analysis paralysis." If someone needs a 20-30 page manual just to decipher one's legend or iconography/symbology, I'm not sure that's really going to be a useful resource. I'm sure there are at least a handful of excellent reasons why each of those points needs their own icon! I'm just thinking that, from an end-user perspective, that could end up being very cumbersome/confusing.

Is the goal to have a region simply have a graphic that somehow represents some important feature in the area? i.e. Washington D.C. having an image of the Capitol Building or White House? Or St. Louis being represented by the Arch? That to me makes more sense, especially if corresponding Title/Alt tags describe what those images represent. On the surface though, it just sounds like a very visually confusing method for displaying information. Too much (visual) information = less/no information and meaning conveyed to the end-user. IMHO.


This leads to a very interesting idea, of essentially labeling maps with symbols. It goes against how I normally think of using icons, but (for example) what if each icon was a flag? or a portrait? In paper maps, this makes less sense, but in a pan-and-zoom environment, it has some intriguing possibilities, as Derek also suggests. Is this dramatically different from labeling maps in a pictographic language (Chinese or Japanese kanji)?

Nat Case
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Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
maphead.blogspot.com



#5
Dennis McClendon

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I wonder if the icons he has in mind are football club logos, each of which would then lead to a different website? The idea would be that few people would ever use the whole map, but lots of people worldwide would use a small part of it.
Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
chicagocarto.com

#6
natcase

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Going back to your original question, especially about replacing administrative regions with pictures: My experience is this doesn't work except as a static image... too hard to read. If you do do it, consider illustration rather than photos. These will let you really fit the pictures properly in the often-very-odd-shaped polygons. The closest to working that I've seen this done is with flags.

Especially for sub-national regions, though, I think you'll find all but the most experienced geographers in your audience confused without labelling.

In terms of what platform, tiled APIs are certainly an option, but you might also consider a Flash-based system via MaPublisher, or wait until Adobe or Avenza or someone comes up with a non-Flash-based system out of Illustrator. The paste-inside and symbol-based graphics I think may work better out of there than straight out of ESRI. Probably a more regular ESRI user than me will set me straight on that... If you're in ESRI, could you use ArcIMS?

Nat Case
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maphead.blogspot.com



#7
elHobbes

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Thanks everyone for your answers. They are really useful.

Rudy, it seems it seems someone at Google doesn't find it so stupid: NY Photos
These are basically different markers, am I wrong? Don't take it bad please, my question is sincere, I'm a noob in this matter. ;)

Dennis, that's EXACTLY what I intend to do, well, not with football teems, but similar.

As Natcase says, the idea of having photos or illustrations covering the whole area could lead to confusion, so I'm going just with the icons.

To make it even easier, I will use the same icon for every marker, and the image will be shown in a info bubble when the marker is clicked.

So now my goals are basically two.

1. The tool to add markers must be collaborative and easy to use (more than one person will work on it at the same time).

2. It must display hunders of markers simultaneously and keep a good performance. (As Dennis says, people will just look for their city, and maybe the surroundings, so I don't have any problem if the markers appear just after a certain level of zoom, this way, all the markers don't have to be shown at the same time).


I've continued my research and until now, what I have is this:

MapsMarker A WordPress plugin to add markers, using the LeafLet library and OpenStreet Maps. It seems quite good, but I don't know if the performance will be good with so many markers, also, entire small towns are missing from OpenStreetMaps. :( (I'm already an editor there!) ;)

GISCloud. I really like this one. They have a demo of a map formed by 1.000.000 points! I know this one is not free, but if it's not too much money (I can't find prices in their site) I would happily pay.


What do you think? Again thanks to everyone for the help. I hope I can help someone in a near future. :)

#8
Michael Schmeling

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If I had to do this I would probably use Flash with an appropriate tiling system which transfers only the needed map tiles and markers. Should be doable.
Michael Schmeling
Kassel, Germany
Arid Ocean Map Illustrations
http://maps.aridocean.com
Indie Cartographer
http://www.indiecartographer.com

#9
rudy

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Rudy, it seems it seems someone at Google doesn't find it so stupid: NY Photos
These are basically different markers, am I wrong? Don't take it bad please, my question is sincere, I'm a noob in this matter. ;)

I wasn't meaning to indicate that it was a stupid thing to do; I was only trying to understand the logic behind such a move. From the discussion I can see that there is some logic behind it that makes sense.

#10
elHobbes

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Should I post my last question in the software section?




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