Over the past three evenings I’ve been working on a small project from which I might make some money.
A friend of mine is currently intern in a organization that needs a tool to organize geography-related data, with a strong emphasis on the visualization and database management parts.
He recommended me to his hierarchy and instead of crossing fingers and hope they’re gonna choose me for this contract, I did a small prototype of the visualization component. It is far from being complete, but it demonstrates the technical feasability + ergonomy of a map viewer with the following features :
- royalties-free, accurate and up-to-date political world map
- standard navigation features : drag and drop with the mouse to pan, mouse wheel or ‘-‘ and ‘+’ keys to zoom
- smoothly animated display with amazing transitions between zoom levels / focus points
- pickable countries : clicking on a country highlights it and zooms on it. Holding the Control key (or Alt, or Shift, or Apple on a Mac) lets you select multiple countries (the zoom is then made on these countries)
- arrows between selected countries to show interaction data : the arrows are not straight lines but beautiful curves. Thickness and/or style (stippling…) and/or colors of the lines + text labels will be configurable following the information stored in the database about selected countries.
- text-form list of countries to ease up the selection : selecting them in the list has the same effect as selecting them on the map (hold Control to make multiple selections, Shift to make contiguous selections). Countries names have not been associated with their names yet.
To execute the demo, you need, first, to install the latest version of Java for your computer (nothing to do if you have a Mac computer). Version 1.5 (5.0) of Java is recommended, but previous versions might work (not tested).
Then you can download and execute the software itself. It has been successfully tested on Mac OS X and on Windows XP (thanks, à‰ric). You will probably get the best performance if your graphic card drivers are up to date.