The good folks at Google Maps appear to have been busy. The UI for the zoom/pan control (GLargeMapControl) has been refreshed with a new skin. The process for selecting the position from which to view the neigborhood using the Street View feature is simplified – the draggable “person” is always present in the zoom control.
The entire Street View feature is now a Flash-based application, that takes over the map screen. Previously, the street panorama would be displayed in a Google Maps info window, and was implemented in DHTML.
The satellite imagery has also been replaced with higher-resolution pictures from the GeoEye Satellite, which was launched a couple of months ago. At least that’s the case in my neigborhood, and a couple of other spots I searched in California.
Even the Street View images have been updated – again, at least in my neigborhood. Check these out elizabethnelsonstudio .
Although the new zoom/pan control does not appear to be available to developers using the Google Maps API, the new satellite images are present by default. Hopefully this means that we’ll finally have a globally-consistent maximum zoom level!
Recently, I wrote about Rmenuz, a site that embedded Google’s Flash maps in OpenLaszlo. The Google Flash Maps are written in ActionScript 3 (AS3), which requires Flash Player 9 or above. That means you wouldn’t be able to use them in OpenLaszlo 4.1 or below. I figured that with OpenLaszlo 4.2b3, which supports compiling to SWF9, it should be possible to embed an AS3 component. With some much-appreciated help from Henry, I got the following application working:
I wanted an example that:
Embedded Google maps in a clean, developer-friendly way.
Was full-featured (allowed a user to search for an address, and add a marker there).
Passed information (such as where to add a marker) from the OpenLaszlo application to the map component.
Passed information (such as the address of the marker that a user clicked) from the map to an object in the OpenLaszlo namespace.
Note that the Google Maps geocoding service is Flash-specific. Even though it passes XML back to the client, you need to use Google's Flash-based APIs to call it. I didn't want to do this; I wanted my example to perform the search in OpenLaszlo, and pass instructions to the map component. So I used Yahoo Maps' excellent geocoding service.
I looked at Google Map’s Flash API a while ago, trying to determine a way to integrate it into OpenLaszlo, but never had time to finish it. Today, I discovered Rmenuz, which is an OpenLaszlo application that lets you search for restaurants, and displays them using the Flash-based Google Maps.
I’m not sure what the status is of the site; it may still be under development. There’s a problem with its security certificate and I found a number of glitches with the application. You can try it at: