GPS and geolocation
Most internet users now have smartphones equipped with location-sensing technology including GPS. This is an enhancement we can add to allow your users to find something relative to their current location. To see an example, read about the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail map capabilities.
Direct links to map features
Instead of describing a series of steps to find a certain place on a map, that place can be directly linked through a URL. For example, take a look at thisLake Michigan viewpoint on a map we did for Friends of Sleeping Dunes. The URL corresponds directly to the feature and makes it very convenient for things like sharing on social media.
External third-party capabilities
Interactive web maps can also expand into a larger ecosystem of nerdery with many interesting code libraries and services. The possibilities are endless, but below are some of the more interesting options.
Charts, graphs, and data visualization
Maps are data and data is beauty, but not without a little help. Fortunately we can integrate some of the many available data visualization options to help users interpret and analyze your project's data. Here are some engaging tools that promote the data experience in a meaningful, visually appealing way:
- Google Charts offers clean, straightforward ways of visualizing data through colorful graphs and charts.
- A more advanced alternative, D3.js takes charts to another level with even more data visualization capabilities.
Publicly available scientific data
The natural world is mapped and researched extensively, and research means data. Some organizations even provide their data in a web-friendly format that can be readily consumed by interactive maps:
- For bird enthusiasts there is a great tool called eBird that can be integrated into interactive maps to display locations and data of user-submitted bird sightings.
- When it comes to incorporating real-time hydrology data into a map, USGS has that covered in a publicly available format.
Social media developer platforms
In terms of integrating interactive maps with social media, there is no shortage of options in that department either.
- Want your map to show tweets in a certain area? Twitter's developer APIs make that possible.
- How about photos? Instagram has its own platform for querying their massive database and displaying location-based, map-friendly results.