Sunday, July 06, 2014

The Maps of the Week

Alternate history novels have been very popular over the last few years. So surely there must be a market for alternate history maps. Newcastle Brown Ale obviously think so.

The brewer has released an alternate history map of the United States in honor of Independence Day. If We Won is a brilliant map of the USA showing how the country might look if the American War of Independence had been won by Great Britain.

Enter any town or city into the map and you can discover what the location would be named if the Americans hadn't been so unhappy about paying a little tax. For example El Paso becomes Ye Olde Paso, Charlotte becomes North Charlottesvilleford and San Francisco becomes Wolverhampton.

This map really uses the full extent of the Google Maps API, from custom map tiles and custom labels to Google Places auto-complete. It's worth checking out the 'britanify' function in the map code to see how some of the American place names have been turned into Ye Olde English names.

The USGS Historical Topographic Map Explorer is a great way to explore the growth of US cities using USGS historical maps.

Click on the modern Esri map of a location and all the available USGS historical topographic maps of the area are shown in a timeline beneath the map. If you select a map from the timeline it will then be overlaid on the modern map. You can therefore work through the timeline of historical maps to observe how towns and cities have developed over time.

The map includes an opacity slide tool so that you can adjust the transparency of the overlaid historical maps. The timeline element beneath the map can also be adjusted to increase the size of the map element.

Game on With Mapbox and Tilemill is an awesome little demo of how you can create a RPG type computer game using the Mapbox mapping platform. The game is hosted on Codepen so you can see at a glance how the game works and even use the JavaScript panel to get clues as to how to win the game.

The game world base map tiles were created with Tilemill. The player's character is a marker added to the map. You can move the character marker around by using the 'wasd' keys on your keyboard (use 'e' for action). Collision detection is created by creating a bounding area polygon for the room.

At there is only one task involved to complete the game. However I have heard a little rumor that there is a lot more to come with this game.
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