Create your own custom maps with this next-generation web mapping service.
An all-too-common experience on web mapping sites is clicking around a postcard-sized map image, zooming in and out while trying to squash a mental model into a field 320x240 pixels in size. In this century of lavish bandwidth and storage, why keep all your users in the 1990s?
Thankfully, one good web mapping site, Maporama (http://www.maporama.com/) gives you the chance to customize web map display in many ways. Their "Personalise your map" sidebar allows you to set the size of the map display, up to a screen-hogging 860x684 XXL size. You can also set the units, choosing between miles and kilometers. A printable version lets you export your custom map in a nice clean view.
More excitingly, you can choose from a range of custom styles for your map. Figures Figure 4-3 and Figure 4-4 show the same map, of Altea on the coast of Spain, in two different configurable styles: a "light" style more pastel and pleasing in resolution than the standard map, and an ES style familiar to users of Spanish Geographical Survey Maps.
Figure 4-3. Maporama map in "light" style
Figure 4-4. Maporama map in "ES" style
Maporama is also possibly the only world map service that will still display the latitude and longitude for an address that it has successfully geocoded, in both decimal and degrees-minutes-seconds (DMS) formats, making it ideal for use by amateur GPS Orienteers.
Maporama's business-services APIs promise a SOAP/XML interface. Their coverage of places outside of the U.S. and Western Europe can be rather weak, but Maporama holds great promise; it comes the closest we've seen of all the global sites to "getting it" with regard to mapping services on the geospatial web.