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  1. #1
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    Question How to find/make a map that updates location automatically?

    Hi there,

    I'm a web designer coming from a graphic design background rather than a programming background (unfortunately), and I'm working on a project for a client who has requested a map that shows his general location in "semi-real-time" across the United States. He doesn't want to update the map himself through a phone app or anything, so no GPS is needed or anything like that.

    What I need is an embedded map, into which I could enter a schedule (I'd need to be able to update the schedule of course), that would automatically update the map to 'light up' the locations according to what day it was/what's on the schedule for that day. I of course could make the graphics/'sprites' and map (or I could use a template if something like this is already available).

    So, what I'm asking is, does anyone know of a program like this that would do the trick? Something like this http://www.zeemaps.com/ is close but I don't think it's exactly what I'm looking for, as I don't think you can get the program to 'light up' certain points according to dates (maybe I'm wrong though).

    If there isn't anything like this in existence already, how much might it cost to have one made by a programmer, and who might I look at as far as programmer choices go?

    Many thanks!

  • #2
    Master Coder mlseim's Avatar
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    Can it be a Google Map?

    Give me an example of a couple of locations, such as address or street intersection in a city. If the location is abstract, you'll have to give me a couple of GPS coordinates. I'll give you an example of showing it with a Google Map on your web page. The part about date, time, and marking location is fairly easy. That is done with PHP. And PHP is what generates the Google Map.

  • #3
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    I'm thrilled to hear this. Yes, a Google map should be fine. My client really wants it to look a certain way I think, i.e. certain colors, but I did some light research and found a way to potentially style the maps, so that would work for me if it worked in this context. I have no idea about PHP though--is this something I could learn to do if I studied up a little bit (I have an understanding of HTML and CSS and some DHTML), or is this something best delegated to someone with more experience? I'm glad to know PHP can do it though!

    I think the locations would be probably more abstract, probably limited to cities rather than intersections. Is that possible? Here are a few somewhat random examples:

    New York, NY

    Nashville, TN

    San Diego, CA

    Akron, OH

    Plattsburgh, NY

    Thank you so much!

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    Sorry to double post, but I can't find a way to edit my previous post.

    I meant to add, the date thing is very important, so here are a couple close dates just for the sake of examples

    9/23/13
    9/24/13
    9/25/13
    9/26/13

  • #5
    Master Coder mlseim's Avatar
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    So the Google Map would be showing the city at a "zoom factor" where the city is all there, and the user has to zoom in to see detail?

    The styling has limitations ...
    You can create your own "markers".

    Does the user need to actually be able to zoom in and navigate? Otherwise, you don't need Google Map at all, just a huge 'cartoon-like' image of the United States showing cities.

    Is there a way to show an example of the styling they want?

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    If we don't need Google maps, it would probably be a bit better. A huge cartoon-like image of the US showing cities seems much more practical, and would look better with to the design of the site anyway (the whole site is comic book-y styled). I could easily draw something like this.

    My client mentioned wanting it to look a bit "Indiana Jones style," so essentially an old parchment looking map with red points. He originally wanted to show the animated trails as well (even if they were straight from point to point), but he doesn't really have any idea how complicated something like this could be.

  • #7
    Master Coder mlseim's Avatar
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    Depending on how many cities, you could create one master map, with the cities on it. Then create a map for each city, adding the trail line from the previous city. The PHP script would merely determine which map to show based on today's date VS your schedule.

    So you are basically providing several images (JPG or PNG) that will dynamically be shown on the web page determined by date. I will show a PHP script to pick the image based on date. Your web page will have to have an extension of .php (instead of .html), unless you wish to use javascripting. PHP is the better way to go.

    If you already have a web page where the map is to appear, you can let me know that too. PM me with that information if it should not be public.

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    Master Coder mlseim's Avatar
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    Another question ...

    Will the maps change based on the timezone of the city shown, the timezone of the person viewing the map, or will the maps change based on one timezone (the site owner's time)? It really doesn't make too much difference, unless viewed within 3 hours of midnight either way. Eastern, Central, Mountain, Pacific

    Just know that if a person living in Australia views the map, they are 15 hours ahead of us. The map they see could be a day behind them, but it will be accurate for you and I.


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