Dad of Divas' Reviews: Book Review - Map Scripting 101

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Book Review - Map Scripting 101

About the BookWeb applications like MapQuest and Google Maps simplify the way we navigate, offering nearly instant directions to the closest dentist, auto mechanic, or happy hour spot. For developers looking to incorporate an innovative, useful tool into their application or website, an interactive map can spur interest and encourage repeat visits from users. But how does the beginning cartographer take the plunge?

Map Scripting 101 (No Starch Press, Aug 2010, 376 pp, $34.95, ISBN 9781593272715) is an example-based beginner's guide to map scripting. Author Adam DuVander delivers a cookbook of 73 immediately useful mapping scripts like a local concert tracker, a Twitter friend-finder, and a real-time weather map. And because the book is based on the cross-platform Mapstraction JavaScript library, readers can use virtually any mapping service, including OpenStreetMap, MapQuest, Google Maps, Yahoo!, and Bing.

"When I show web developers how easy it is to make insightful online mashups and maps, the most common reaction is shock and delight. I love showing readers how powerful these geographic tools can be," says DuVander.

As they make their way through Map Scripting 101, readers learn how to:
  • Create, embed, and manipulate basic maps by setting zoom levels and map boundaries
  • Show, hide, and filter location markers and info-bubbles
  • Customize maps for visitors based on their location
  • Use common data formats like Google Earth's KML, GeoRSS, and GPS XML (GPX)
  • Create graphical overlays on maps to better analyze data and trends
  • Use freely available geodata from websites like Yelp and Upcoming—and public domain geodata from the US government
Map Scripting 101 is accessible enough for those with just a basic knowledge of HTML and CSS, but even advanced programmers will learn something new. Whether readers want to mark the best brasseries in gay Paris or just map their local police blotter, Map Scripting 101 provides bloggers, developers, and designers with the knowledge they need to create useful, interactive maps.

About the Author
Adam DuVander writes about geolocation, web development, and APIs for Programmable Web and WebMonkey,'s web developer resource. He has presented his work at SXSW and O'Reilly's Where 2.0 conference. He lives at 45° 33' 25" N, 122° 31' 55" W (otherwise known as Portland, Oregon).

My Take on the Book
I have tried a lot of different things on the Internet in my time online, but I cannot say that I am a strong programmer. I know enough HTML to know how to develop some simplistic websites, and that is about it. I do however like learning new things and I am a tech-savvy consumer who loves to be at the forefront of all that is happening in technology.

So while I have not developed scripts myself in regards to mapping, as a consumer I use them on a daily basis. Thus, this book was an amazing book to read as it shed so much light onto how the sites that I use actually work.

What I liked about this book is that it is written so that anyone can comprehend the concepts, even the beginner. The book was well written, and was an engaging read. The author offers a step-by-step guide to map scripting that should be a must have resource for anyone who is looking to do anything with map scripting.

This book has opened my eyes to a whole new world, and I look forward to dabbling in this for the foreseeable future and bet you will too once you read this book!

If this book sounds like something you would like in your own library you can find it on Amazon!

All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by the company.  Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Please refer to this site's Terms of Use  for more information. I have been compensated or given a product free of charge, but that does not impact my views or opinions.

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