Friday, August 01, 2014

Happy Birthday Switzerland

Today is Swiss National Day, a national holiday to mark the signing of the Federal Charter. In early August 1291 three Alpine cantons swore the oath of confederation, an action which is now seen to have been the foundation of Switzerland.

To celebrate Swiss National Day Vasile Coțovanu has released an animated time-line map, Accession of the Cantons to the Swiss Confederation, which shows when each of the cantons became members of the federal state of Switzerland. Play the time-line and the map automatically highlights each canton on the date it joined the federation. You can also select each canton on the map to learn the date when it joined Switzerland.

The base map used in the time-line is the superb Swisstopo topographical map. It is worth setting the time-line to 1291 and just zooming in on the mountains of Switzerland to admire this amazing topographical map.

Version one of this map actually used Google Maps. If you want to view the Google Maps API version you can do so here.

Once you have studied the Accession of the Cantons map you can test out your knowledge of Swizz geography on Vasile Coțovanu's Swiss Geopuzzle. In the game you have to drag polygons of the Swiss cantons onto their correct location on the map. A timer keeps track of how long it takes you to complete the game and your current score is also displayed on the map.

This game uses the draggable polygons option in the Google Maps API. The code for the Vasile Geopuzzle is available on GitHub and can be easily customized for any area in the world. To create your own puzzle with the code all you really need is the GeoJSON data for the polygons you wish to use.

The game also makes effective use of Vasile's popular Masked Polygons library. The Masked Polygon library is used to define the boundary of the game. For example, in the Switzerland Cantons game Switzerland is highlighted on the map using the masked polygon library. Consequently players can clearly see the area of game-play on the map.

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