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A template for browsing layers of TileMill maps. Part of the Map Sites templates from MapBox.
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readme.md

Data Exploration

This template demonstrates a map site for browsing layers of TileMill maps on a custom MapBox map. It's designed to make it easy to get started and should be hacked up at will for your project.

This map shows you how to make a web site to showcase a custom MapBox map you design, and TileMill maps you make with your own data.

To make your custom base map, sign up for MapBox and create a map.

To learn about making TileMill maps with your own data, check out the TileMill documentation. The maps in this template use data from the DC Data Portal.

The TileMill projects for those maps are included in the tilemill directory of this template. Copy them to TileMill's project directory to use them.

About Map Site Templates

Map Site templates from MapBox are a way to jumpstart building a map-based web feature. The map-site templates bundles common html and css formatting with reusable javascript components.

To build a project based on this template, fork this repository, edit the html content and css, and alter the configuration script.

Using this template

Edit the content by adjusting, removing, or adding to index.html. This is the main markup document with the content and layout for the map-site.

Adjust the design by editing the style.css file and adding any additional supporting structure to index.html.

Set the map features by writing a configuration script at the bottom of index.html.

HTML layout

The html markup for the template is in index.html. It's a simple html page layout. Generally, you'll want to change the content elements like title, h1, div#branding and div#about.

In this template, we also build out map legend directly in index.html so we can have control over it. We could pull in default legends from MapBox instead, as explained below.

CSS styles

Most of the hard work on a map site build is template design implemented through CSS. This template by default is simple and clean so you can modify or replace it. This design and be completely overridden by applying new CSS styles or changing the exisiting rules in style.css.

CSS rules are set in two files:

  • style.css contains all the layout and typographic styles as well as some overridden styles for map controls, and a reset stylesheet. Implement your design by editing this file.
  • map.css holds the default map styles from tiles.mapbox.com embeds.

Javascript interaction

All of the external javascript libraries to make the map interactive and connect it to MapBox are stored in the ext directory. For this template, we're using Modest Maps and Wax to make the map interactive, Easey for smooth aninmated panning and zooming, and MMG for adding markers to the map based on geojson-formatted data. We're also using jQuery for DOM manipulation and handling events.

An internal javascript library, script.js, abstracts common map settings, and includes configuration for layer switching controls and a geocoding address search.

Map configuration

The map is added to the <div> container in index.html with id="map". Styles to lay out the map container come from class="map".

<div id="map" class="map"></div>

At the bottom of the index.html document, we set up the map. The id of the container is the first argument ('map'), and an object of options is the second argument. The third arugement is the name of an optional callback function that is called once the map is loaded.

The only required option is api, and it should contain the API URL from MapBox. After you create a new map through your MapBox account, click embed on the info tab and copy the API URL.

var main = Map('map', { 
    api: 'http://a.tiles.mapbox.com/v3/mapbox.map-hv50mbs9.jsonp' 
});

In this example, we're directly specifying what tilesets to use by listing them in the API url separated by comas: http://a.tiles.mapbox.com/v3/mapbox.mapbox-light,mapbox.dc-property-values.jsonp. For more information on building custom API URLs, see the MapBox API documentation.

The map options object can take several options:

  • api The MapBox API URL from the embed button on your map:
  • center An object of { lat: ##, lon: ##, zoom: ## } that defines the map's initial view. If not is provided, the default center set from MapBox will be used
  • zoomRange An array of [##, ##] where the first element is the minimum zoom level and the second is the max
  • features An array of additional features for the map

The features object may contain any of the following:

  • zoomwheel Use the scroll wheel on the mouse to zoom the map
  • tooltips or movetips For layers with interactive overlays, display fixed tooltips or movetips, which are overlays the follow the cursor
  • zoombox Allow uses to zoom to a bounding box by holding the shift key and dragging over the map
  • zoompan Show zoom controls on the map
  • legend Show a legend on the map. Legends from multiple layers will stack on top of each other
  • share Show a share button on the map with Twitter, Facebook links and an embed code for the map. The embedded view of the map will add a class="embed" to the <body> element of the page for easy theming. For instance, by default the embed layout is a full screen map with the layer switcher over it on the left. The header and content are hidden.
  • bwdetect Automatically detect low bandwidth contections and decrease the quality of the map images to accomodate

A map with all the options would look like this:

var main =  Map('map', {
    api: 'http://a.tiles.mapbox.com/v3/mapbox.map-hv50mbs9.jsonp',
    center: {
        lat: 38.8850033656251,
        lon: -77.01439615889109,
        zoom: 14
    },
    zoomRange: [0, 15],
    features: [
        'zoomwheel',
        'tooltips', // or 'movetips'
        'zoombox',
        'zoompan',
        'legend',
        'share',
        'bwdetect'
    ]
});

Layer switching

The script.js provides an easy way to toggle between layers on a map. When activated, layers will overlay the initial base map. If turned on, tooltips and legends will update to pull from the current layer.

Layers are bound to links on the page by specifying a name for the layer in the href attribute of the link element and giving it a data-control=layer attribute.

<div id="projects" class="layers">
   <a data-control="layer" href="#building">Building Permits, 2011</a>
   <a data-control="layer" href="#construction">City Construction Projects, 2011</a>
</div>

Then specify the configuration for your layers in the script at the end of index.html:

main.layers({
    building: {
        api: 'http://a.tiles.mapbox.com/v3/mapbox.dc-building.jsonp',
        center: {                   // Optionally reposition the map.
            lat: 38.910606275724,   // New center point and zoom level
            lon: -77.00126406355,   // for the map. Specific either
            zoom: 14,               // lat and lon, zoom, or both.
            ease: 500               // Optional time to animimate moving
        }                           // the map in milliseconds.
    },
    construction: { 
        api: 'http://a.tiles.mapbox.com/v3/mapbox.dc-construction.jsonp',
        center: { zoom: 12, ease: 1000 }
    }
});

Here, each layer gets a name, in this case building and construction that binds the layer to its link element (e.g. <a data-control="layer" href="#building">). Each layer is an object of options that will affect the map when the layer is turned on, which happens by clicking or tapping its bound link.

  • api If api is specified, this map layer will be displayed on top of the base map specified when the map was initialized. The API URL may be omitted if you only want the layer to move the map and not add new content
  • center The center object has lat, lon, and zoom properties. If zoom is omitted, the map will be repositioned, but keep its current zoom level. If lat and lon are omitted but zoom is specified, the map will change zoom level but keep its current centerpoint. There's an additional property called ease, which is the time in milliseconds to animate moving the map to the new location. It's optional too. Omitting it will snap the map to its new location.

Add as many layers as you need and bind them to any link element. Layers are exclusive and will toggle on and off on click or tap.

Address search

To search for an address, we need a geocoding service that converts a plain-text address query into a geographic location. This template uses MapQuest Open search, which is free to use for noncommercial and commercial applications alike. If you'd like to use another service, edit the geocode function in script.js.

To add an address search to your page, build a simple html form to gather user input:

<div data-control="geocode" id="search">
    <form class="geocode">
        <input placeholder="Search for an address" type="text">
        <input type="submit" />
        <div id="geocode-error"></div>
    </form>
</div>

By specifying data-control="gecode" on the div containing your form, script.js will bind a function that handles address searches and repositions the map accordingly. If the geocoder has a successful response to a search, it will center the map and zoom it to show the bounding box extent of that response. If the bounding box is small enough to zoom the map to its maximum zoom, the geocoder will also place a pin with a star over the response's exact location. You can adjust this marker or hide is by editing the mmg-default styles in style.css.

Further Reading

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