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#1
benbakelaar

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"A
simple exercise in message board visualization, the idea is to have the
animated dot flash in and out at each user's location based on a
timeline of posts.

[url="http://"http://64.202.170.231/cartotalk2.htm"]http://64.202.170.231/cartotalk2.htm[/url]

Right
now, it simply displays an animated dot over the user locations that I
stored in my table. The table was created from the ""View new posts"" -
""Past week"". I selected several topics with multiple posts, converted
the ""linear"" message board view to a database table, and loaded each
user's location into the table also.

The idea would be to have
the map run through a timeline, and trigger the animated dot at the
user's location each time they posted. In this way, we would be able to
visually see the ""conversation"" on CartoTalk, as it bounced around the
United States and Europe!

I'm thinking that Javascript is not
really up to that, especially utilizing the Google Maps API. I was
considering doing a static document with Flash, but I'm not really
skilled in Flash. And I have never tried connecting a table/database to
Flash, so that seems out of the question.

Does anyone have any
brilliant ideas about how to implement this idea? Feel free to ask more
questions if I haven't quite explained it well enough. "

#2
benbakelaar

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Wow 37 views and no responses. Either I really wasn't clear, or there aren't that many programmers on this board!

Maybe
one of you Flash pros could just tell me the complexity level of this
project in Flash, on a scale from 1 to 5, 5 being the hardest?

#3
Hans van der Maarel

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Ben,

Sorry
about that :D I saw it last night and I didn't have time to write a
reply. It's looking pretty cool. Did you use the user location from the
profile or did you geocode the IP?
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
Red Geographics
Email: hans@redgeographics.com / Twitter: @redgeographics

#4
benbakelaar

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"Hans,
no worries, I guess I was just hoping to receive a response before the
end of the workday, when I usually stop checking the messages!

I
used the user location, since I don't have access to the logs or
anything to determine the IPs. Still trying to figure out how I can
trigger the animation based on a timeline.

Anyway, one cool visualization tool that is already programmed is this IP map:
[url="http://"http://www.zeesource.com/maps/features/p2.jsp"]http://www.zeesource.com/maps/features/p2.jsp[/url]

I've never tested it.

Ben,

Sorry 
about that  :D  I saw it last night and I didn't have time to 
write a reply. It's looking pretty cool. Did you use the user location 
from the profile or did you geocode the IP?

http://

"

#5
ELeFevre

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"Ben,
I'm
guilty of reading the post (several times) and not responding....but it
was only because I was stumped. Obviously I wasnt the only one.

Here
are two different approaches. If your a Flash beginner it might be a
good place to start. The second approach seems like the way to go, but
would take some bookwork if your not a Flash guru.

Basic Map (Flash Complexity 1-2):
Using
Flash you could create an animation depicting the activity of users
across a timeline for one busy thread. One downfall of this approach is
that for every new post you would have to update the symbols in the
timeline manually...which is time consuming.

Here are the steps I would take to create the basic, manual, map.

1) Create a base map in your GIS
2) Geocode user locations
3)
Export base map and location points into Flash as images. The user
location image will serve as a positioning guide for your user symbols.

4)
Create both an ""active"" movie symbol (flashing) and non-active (static)
to illustrate the users geographic location and activity. Make sure
your symbols are movies rather than buttons. Movies will play over the
top of a background image (base map) because they have their own
timeline.

5) To represent ""time"" you could select an animation run-time of
something like 2 minutes... fifteen seconds could represent
one day, or hour, et cetera.

6) Insert instances of the user symbol at the appropriate time of their post.
Perhaps
a static symbol could replace the active symbol once the thread moved
on so the viewer could see the location of all the contributors
.
7) insert basic movie controls: play, stop.
8) Create a basic timeline that runs across the bottom of the map. Monday, Tues, etc...


B) Dynamic Map (Flash/XML Complexity 3-5):
This is going to be really short and vague because I'm not a Flash expert. Hopefully someone else can chime in and help out.

A
better approach would be to use something like Flash/XML, where the
user location, post time and symbol URL could be fed directly into your
Flash app via an XML document....thus eliminating the need to update
the timeline manually. You would only have to update the XML doc.

If
you want to create a project that you can build upon, this is probably
the way to go. Although, if you build the ""basic"" version, you will
already have many of the elements completed, i.e symbols, base map,
time-line, et cetera, that you can use in more advanced map later
on...once you learn how to get an XML doc
into Flash. I hope this gives you a few ideas...and I'm not too far off.

Can anyone else help out on this?

"



#6
benbakelaar

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"Thanks
Erin, since you say it's a 1-2 on complexity level, I'm willing to give
it a go since I haven't figured out any other dynamic way to do it.
Would it be much harder to replace the ""movie"" icon with a PNG and just
vary its transparency? Ideally, I'd like to have it ""fade away"" so
there is some sense of continuity and you can sometimes see the
""response"" before the prior post fades away. "

#7
ELeFevre

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"Ben,
You
could use a transparent ""graphic"" symbol rather than a movie symbol.
Movie symbols just give you more options, that's all. Let me know how
it turns out. "



#8
frax

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"Maybe
you should consider if the geography really is that relevant? Since a
lot of the users (majority) are in the US, it might not look that
exciting. But maybe this is making it too complicated for your little
project, to use space to display some factor.

Here is an example of e-mail list visualization:
[url="http://"http://www.marumushi.com/apps/socialcircles/socialcircles.cfm?list=cf-talk&m=1&s=1"]http://www.marumushi.com/apps/socialcircle...cf-talk&m=1&s=1[/url]

(this is for a ColdFusion mailing list I am on, although you won't find my name on there, I very rarely post to that list) "
Hugo Ahlenius
Nordpil - custom maps and GIS
http://nordpil.com/
Twitter

#9
benbakelaar

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"

Maybe 
you should consider if the geography really is that relevant? Since a 
lot of the users (majority) are in the US, it might not look that 
exciting. But maybe this is making it too complicated for your little 
project, to use space to display some factor.

Here is an example of e-mail list visualization:
http://www.marumushi...cf-talk&m=1&s=1

(this is for a ColdFusion mailing list I am on, although you won't find my name on there, I very rarely post to that list)

http://


frax
that's awesome! someone is a talented coder. and you are right, the
geography isn't that relevant. it would just be an interesting project
and visual. "




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