Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

State of the Map 2012 talk


Published on

When Google Maps Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade. Flightstats' experience switching from Google Maps to Open Source solutions. Related article at

Published in: Technology
  • Be the first to comment

State of the Map 2012 talk

  1. 1. When Google Maps Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade Wm Leler Flightstats, Inc. wmleler/sotm12
  2. 2. Following the Money• A year ago, Google announced they would be charging ($$$) for their maps API (or adding advertising to free users)• Flightstats was a huge user of Google Maps• We started evaluating alternatives
  3. 3. Google Maps API The 800 lb Gorilla• Revolutionary when it came out• 7 years old, used by 350,000 websites• Suppressed development of alternatives• Google owns you and controls you • V2 to V3 API bungle
  4. 4. Problems with Google Maps API• Closed, proprietary system - no source • Difficult to fix bugs or add features • Clumsy object model• Generic, one-size-fits-all • Three basemaps: street, satellite, terrain • Poor separation of maps from API • Somewhat automobile centric
  5. 5. Maps in 3 Movements Map Imagery Geography Maps & Info & Routes DataServer Map Tiles, Geom, etc. • User controls Client JavaScript Map API • Loads Map TilesBrowser • Markers and annotations
  6. 6. Evaluated APIsProprietary:• Google Maps API• Mapquest, Microsoft Bing, Nokia, ...Open:• OpenLayers -• Leaflet -• Modest Maps -• Polymaps -
  7. 7. API Comparison• OpenLayers is mature, very powerful, somewhat complicated and large• Leaflet is new but lots of committers, excellent object model, easily extensible, modern design, good for mobile• Modest maps is compact, minimal• Polymaps uses SVG, renders geometry directly on client (no image tiles)
  8. 8. Further Info on APIs• We decided on Leaflet, but your needs may be different• No regrets!• top-seven-alternatives-google-maps-api• opensourcebridge2012
  9. 9. Map Servers• Use a free public map server: • MapQuest Open (Open Street Map)• Use someone else’s map server• Use a commercial map server • CloudMade, MapBox• Our own server • or cloud storage
  10. 10. Someone Else’s Server• Almost all map tile servers are unsecured• You are identified by the referrer header• OK for low volume use• No reliability guarantees• Legal Issues?
  11. 11. What We Used• Wanted our own servers• Used Amazon S3 and CloudFront to store map tiles in a directory structure (slippy)• Only worked because we don’t need higher zoom levels (we go to 11, max)• Will eventually switch to a caching tile server using MBtiles format (TileStache?)
  12. 12. Our Favorite Maps• Stamen Design Terrain map (US only)• Mapbox Terrain• University of Heidelberg Open Map Surfer• NASA Blue Marble• GeoIQ Acetate Terrain (background)• our own maps• All open (Creative Commons)
  13. 13. Workshop• “Powerful Mapping Applications with Open Source Tools”• At NACIS conference in one week • In conjunction with TriMet
  14. 14. Thoughts• There is huge demand for information about alternatives to Google Maps• The Open Source community is in danger of losing this opportunity • Need an easy, all-in-one solution • API, maps, traffic, routing, weather, etc. • Help switching
  15. 15.