The GMapCreator is an application designed to make thematic mapping using Google Maps simpler.
The application takes a shapefile containing geographic areas linked with attributes and automatically generates a working Google Maps website from the data. It does this by pre-creating all the necessary files and saving them into a directory. Publishing the map on the web is then just a matter of copying files onto a web server, allowing Google Maps to be used with the majority of ISPs.
If you wish to use GMapCreator software for other than academic or non-commercial personal purposes - including without limitation, on behalf of commercial or government organizations or entities - you must purchase a standard fee-bearing licence.
The following is an example produced using the application:
The data above shows an aggregate of carbon monoxide data collected over a two week period during May 2004 using GPS tracked sensors. In order to produce this map, the sensor logs were converted into a shapefile and loaded into the Google Map Creator. This data forms the worked example installed with the application and the steps required to do this are detailed in the example.
To date, a variety of thematic map for different parts of the world have been produced to test the viability of the application with real data on production web servers.
How It Works
The main problem with creating Google Maps sites in this way is that the number of tiles can be very large. The application manages this problem by allowing the user to control the maximum level of zoom and the extents of the geographic area. For example, with a map of worldwide Gross Domestic Product by country, there is no point in zooming in beyond the point where one country fills the whole screen, so the maximum level of zoom is limited and the number of tiles kept within a manageable level. In this example, six zoom levels are adequate for the data, resulting in 962 files occupying 5MB on the disk. At the other end of the scale is data from a GPS tracked carbon monoxide sensor used within a 1KM grid square in London. In this case, the maximum zoom level is used to show the 5 metre data grid, but only 71 files (less than 1MB) were created as the geographic area is so limited.
More detailed information can be found in the two documents installed with the application. The first is the help file explaining how to use the application and the second is a step by step guide to creating a carbon monoxide map using the data for the example above.
For additional support email firstname.lastname@example.org The GMapCreator is part of the GENeSIS project at CASA. This project is sponsored by the ESRC as a node in the National Centre for e-Social Science.
The pollution work was supported by the UK projects Advanced Grid Interfaces for Environmental e-science in the Lab and in the Field (EPSRC Grant GR/R81985/01) and EQUATOR Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration (EPSRC Grant GR/N15986/01).