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Google Flex Map Demo – Helps Earthquake Relief Efforts Too

Posted by Moxie Zhang | May 23, 2008 .

I post a peek review on how coming ESRI ArcGIS Flex API helps on China Earthquake Relief with a demo map application. When I said “peek”, I meant it literally. If you missed it then you have to wait. Before that I gave the new kid on block, Google Map API for Flash, a try. The result is at, of cause, China Earthquake Relief. You can got the source code too from here(just remember use your own Google Map API key. It won’t work without yours.)

gchinarelief Google Flex Map Demo   Helps Earthquake Relief Efforts Too

So, how do I like it? What I can say is, the Flash API is still very young. It does what it does but it just not …um…Flash like.

First of all. I don’t like any extra “have to”. As you might read from Charles piece, Google Map API for Flash is the only Flash (or AS3) map API so far you have to handle the extra resize event to merely make the map shown. Not a big deal but I hate it.

In general, the Google Flash API follow its JavaScript older sister. Coding wise shouldn’t be anything new if you’ve done some Google map mashup. However, Google’s Flash team seems not very flashing. For example, if you’ve tried twittervision or the ArcGIS Flex API demo, you can find the map’s animated movement from one marker to another. It feels like there is a invisible hand panning the map, smooth and fluidly. The Google Flash API, however, it gives no animated movement, it just repaint the new map extent. It looks like watching the old slide show, blink, new slide, blink, new slide.

The infowindow is ugly. You don’t get sense of Flash. I guess the efforts really just to replicate the JavaScript API. Yahoo’s AS3 API and ArcGIS Flex API have done much better job for the Flash/Flex world.

One thing doesn’t work is the image marker. Here is how to add a image marker:

    var markerOption:MarkerOptions = new MarkerOptions();
    markerOption.icon = imgEpicentermarker; //image defined earlier
    markerOption.hasShadow = false;
    var epicenterMarker:Marker = new Marker(epicenter,markerOption);
    map.addOverlay(epicenterMarker);

It works just fine with one marker. What if you want to add a bunch of markers around the map and each one of them uses the same image? It won’t work. The first marker will show the image, the rest of them won’t.

Also, try mouse over the map type control. Ya, the text will disappear.

That’s about it. If think about it, the Google Map API for Flash is actually very consistent with rest of Google-ism, simple, plain, less colorful and none sexy. I just wish it can be as good as its JavaScript API eventually.

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2 Comments so far
  1. Chris Griffith  May 23, 2008 8:36 pm

    I agree. I found the non reuse issue of marker images annoying as well. For me, the issue that you could not center align in both the horizontal and vertical for a marker, a major oversight. Toss in the fact that markers ‘pop’ to the top of the z-order, so if you have markers overlaying one another, you are in for a surprise.

  2. Pamela Fox  May 26, 2008 11:14 am

    Thanks for the feedback – we’ll see if we can make it a bit more flashy for you.

    Also, I think the multiple markers issue is resolved, as I reported in the group. Let me know if you think it’s still a valid issue.

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