Friday, February 26, 2010

Developing with Online Map APIs

I'm planning to give a talk providing a basic introduction to the use of online mapping APIs. I plan to cover the big four: AOL (MapQuest), Google, Microsoft (Bing nee Virtual Earth), and Yahoo. The goal of the talk is to whet the appetite of site developers with the ease of putting a map on their site, and how valuable that map can be. I also hope to demonstrate where one mapping system provides particular advantages or disadvantages.
To kick things off, a bit of trivia: what is the most popular website for travel (and thus mapping)? If you said Google, you were right, but that has only been true for a few months. As recently as 2009 MapQuest had the crown as the number one portal for travel. HitWise has published their report for January 2010, and there you can see that Google Maps has opened a commanding lead. Travel is a pretty broad topic though, and we're talking about mapping. I've chosen AOL, Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo for this discussion as they are the most popular services offering a public API to their mapping technology.
Over the course of the next few weeks I will provide a series of posts covering the following mapping tasks:
  • Displaying a map on a page
  • Adding controls to the map
  • Adding points of interest to the map
  • Geocoding and Reverse Geocoding
  • Map events
  • Unique features to each API
I hope that this series is informative and useful.

1 comment:

  1. Maybe you'll be able to answer why Yahoo local search returns geocoded address, city, and state, but not ZIP!