Geo-location was a hot topic in 2009. With so many applications on GPS-enabled smartphones, more maps than ever were accessible to the average person. But how can Web designers and developers take advantage of an increasingly location-aware user base? This article explores existing trends, conventions and the possible future of interactive maps online.
The Fundamentals Of Online Maps
When most people think of maps on the Internet, Google, MapQuest and TomTom might come to mind. These are the giants in the industry, but they are far from the most creative. These companies provide maps as a service. As you’ll see from the mapping applications featured throughout this article, Google doesn’t own the market. There is still plenty of room for creative map innovation.
This isn’t a lesson in cartography, but understanding the purposes that maps can serve in modern Web design is important. Three main areas seem to represent the majority of tasks:
- Navigation and directions,
- Show relationships and trends geographically,
- Show points of interest.