Create interactive maps for your web pages that users can customize. This course covers topics including mapping basics, the OpenLayers Library, and in the end, you'll even get to build a fun geography game!
Jon Oxtoby has spent the majority of his career on developing web and desktop applications related to the analysis and display of weather and other geospatial data. He is currently a senior software engineer with AvMet Applications.
Mapping Basics In this module, we're going to talk about everything you need to know about mapping to be able to work with OpenLayers. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a map as a representation usually on a flat surface of the whole or a part of an area. That word representation is very important. A map is often not an exact replica of the area depicted. It's a picture that represents an area much like the sketch of a person is representation of that person and not an exact copy of the person's features. For example, here's a representation that you may be familiar with. This map depicts the lower 48 states of the US. Most people would probably agree this is an accurate representation. So if that map is accurate, then does that mean that this one is inaccurate, or is the one on the right actually more accurate? Would you believe me if I told you that these two maps were generated using the exact same data? How can that be when they clearly don't look the same? Answering those questions is what this module is all about. The practice of drawing maps is called cartography, and it's an expansive subject. Fortunately for us, we only need understand a couple of concepts to understand everything we need to know to create maps using OpenLayers. Those concepts are scale and projection.
More Controls OpenLayers has a large variety of built-in controls and features that can really help your map stand out. The OpenLayers documentation lists over 100 different examples of these features, way too many for us to go into in one course, so I've just picked out my top five favorites, and we'll look at those in more detail.