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Google Maps, take two (Read 3329 times)

    Well, I finally got around to upgrading the site to use the latest Google maps. My biggest concern at the time was whether I could finish the upgrade before Google make the switch to use version 2. Back on April 3, Google announced the release of version 2 of its mapping API. They provided a list of new features, as well as some of the incompatibilities between the older 1.0 version and the new one. At the bottom of the announcement was a little blurb about how they'll discontinue support for 1.0 in a month. That little announcement threw a monkey wrench into the works because it's something I didn't plan to work on. Even though Google claimed that the migration should be straight forward, it wasn't for me for several reasons. Google decided to rename some of the function as well as change their prototypes in the new API. I'm not quite sure what the reasoning is with this drastic change. The #1 rule in creating an API is once it is created, you cannot change it. Of course, Google can do anything it wants. The end result is the thousands of programmers that use the Google API spent countless hours rewriting their code to use the new stuff. The Google map on this site used some of the undocumented features such as offering additional map sources other than the standard three offered by Google, as well as the little popup where you can type in notes. All of that needed to be redone. In the end, I decided to rewrite everything from scratch. By rewriting it, I get a better handle on how everything works, and I can make it work more efficiently. It'll also give me a chance to rearrange the code in such a way that it would be easier to add new features in the future. I have a couple of ideas in mind, which I'm sure will be useful to many of you. I've already added one such feature, which allows you to create a "lollipop" course, where the first and last parts of the route are the same, and forms the stem of the lollipop, and the rest of the route is a loop, which is represented by the candy portion. Until now, if you have such a course, you'll have to draw the last part of your route even though it's exactly the same as the first part. This feature is only possible with the new Google API. It involves some tricky math, but I think it complements the out-and-back feature. With the new map, European and Australian users can enjoy the same maps and aerial photos that North Americans have been enjoying for the last year. Google is heading in the right direction in replicating our world in a digital form. At the same time, I'm a little wary of the possible destination. Google has hinted that they will put ads on these maps in the future. I'm not sure what they will look like, or how they will impact usability. In a way, it is understandable because nothing is free in this world. I don't know how many people know this, but every time you bring up a map, Google is footing the bill. Down at the lower right hand corner of the map reads "Map data ©right; 2006 TeleAtlas". That's the company that's providing the map data which allows Google to create its maps. Google is paying this company a large sum of money for the use, and has not yet pass the cost down to us, but you can be sure it will, either in the form of a fee, or the more likely scenario of ads. All in all, I'm happy about how the new maps turned out. There weren't too many serious bugs, even with a total rewrite. I'll be adding new features to the maps in the coming weeks. eric Smile
      i know this is old, eric, but it's the first time i've read it and i just have to say thank you. thank you for your dedication, thank you for your thoroughness, thank you for explaining it all in a way that anyone can understand. thank you for wanting us to understand what's happening and what you've been working on. you are the best man-behind-the-curtain ever.


      Blaine Moore (MM#2867)

        i know this is old, eric, but it's the first time i've read it and i just have to say thank you. thank you for your dedication, thank you for your thoroughness, thank you for explaining it all in a way that anyone can understand. thank you for wanting us to understand what's happening and what you've been working on. you are the best man-behind-the-curtain ever.
        I agree with what littlem has to say! I've just recently started exploring more of the site than the training log, so this is the first that I saw of this, and right now this is both my favorite log software as well as my favorite google map running route mashup. You just can't beat that combination!

        Run to Win
        24 Marathons, 17 Ultras, 16 States (Full List)



        va


          Google acquires ImageAmerica to boost mapping "The high-resolution camera can capture details as small as 6 to 12 inches..."
            Google acquires ImageAmerica to boost mapping "The high-resolution camera can capture details as small as 6 to 12 inches..."
            spooky! / awesome!