Getting started: OVERVIEW

colemanm edited this page Mar 12, 2013 · 17 revisions

Slippy maps on the web have two parts:

Tile Previews

  • One or more collections of image tiles that form the map. The bulk of this wiki is devoted to making your own tiles.
  • An API framework that stitches tiles together and handles interactive panning and zooming.

You can use your own tiles even if you use the Google Maps API. Mixing and matching image tiles and API frameworks is a-okay.

Further reading: Tom MacWright has a good writeup »


Here are some good JavaScript API libraries for developing interactive web maps:

  • Leaflet does most of what OpenLayers does, but with a drastically simpler API. Also checkout Leaflet Vector Layers for multi-provider support, easy popup window templating, dynamic data support, scale dependent rendering and simple, powerful symbology. Also see: Rrose, @LeafletJS plugin by @erictheise. Useful when you want tooltip popups on mouseover & autoPan flummoxes.
  • Wax provides a suite of useful tools for working with Modest Maps, Google Maps, OpenLayers, Leaflet, and Polymaps.
  • Modest Maps is a no-frills mapping and interaction library built and maintained by Michal Migurski, Tom Carden, Tom MacWright, and Shawn Allen.
  • HTMAPL magically transforms HTML into interactive maps with jQuery and Modest Maps.
  • Polymaps is an SVG-powered library by Mike Bostock and Stamen with lots of tricks up its sleeves. Depreciated.

And some more random links which need to be organized:

  • UTFGrid is a technique designed and implemented by Development Seed that provides map interactivity with low-bandwidth text files.
  • Building a Map Microsite - Tutorial from Development Seed.
  • MBTiles - The MBTiles format makes it easy to manage and share thousands or even millions of map tiles. It stores the images in an single SQLite database file.