One Map to Rule Them All

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

Chad Killingsworth
Assistant Director of Web & New Media, Missouri State University

Maps are cool (you know it’s true)

  • The right map can be a recruitment source!
  • Out of date maps are worse then no map at all.
  • Non interactive maps (PDF’s) suck too.
  • Branding that reinvents the user interface pisses users off
  • Too much info is bad  – Why are you showing the landscaping???

All maps, both digital and physical (and signage) needs to match.

Google maps API Version 2 was never meant to run on mobile apps. Stop using it! It will be supported for a few years, but will eventually be removed.

The  Basics

  • KML Layers – KML is XML (built by google earth)
  • Edit > Copy. Edit > Paste into your favorite editor.
  • Here is Missouri States Map:
  • Google servers need to be able to grab your KML – give it an real, absolute URL.


  • Maps  do no good on the desktop – need to be mobile.
  • Map is the 3rd most used app on the iphone.
  • Each phone has there own SDK
  • Chad built a basic, optimized starting point template for us.

Building the KML – Make use of your student work force!

People will ask “Is there an App for that?” – Build it, they will come. Chad has some good analytics showing that most mobile use is in the app.

The Difficult Steps:

  • 1) Build a hybrid app – one that works for iphone and android (hello world).
  • 2) Place an embeded web browser.
  • 3) Point it to your online map…. DONE!

Here is the mobile map

Live positions of shuttle -you just blew my mind!


  • It is already JS heavy. Keep away from extraneous script – like jQuery
  • Compress the JS
  • Use HTML 5 local storage.

Presentation URL:

Make use of the google group. But remember to link your map.

Best tips

It does not matter how complex, or how many KML documents you have. It does not increase download latency. Google grabs them and creates one set of tiles!

Markers are sprites. Put all the marker images in one png and shift!

Custom panoramas – think about your own street view virtual tour.

Live shuttles – each one simply has a Blackberry (with data only plan $7ish dollars a month) that send the GPS to the server.

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