Mapping, today, has gone way beyond attempts to locate places on a drawing. Mapping today can be used to trace airline routes, compare data from around the world and plan an election campaign. This revolution has been caused by the introduction of Flash mapping. We find that maps are no longer static and any amount of varied data can be included in to bring out statistics that are easy to comprehend as well as creative.
While researching the routes to take around Europe one comes across a series of visually arresting maps that are not only comprehensible and coherent but provide detailed information beyond one's wildest expectations. As one scans over the map with a mouse, several drill-down options showed up and dotted lines clearly explained all the possible routes one could take. These drill-down options provided not only facts about the transportation but also provided links to obtaining more information about the selected city. Some of the maps were also 3D and the extra dimension had been used to include other geographical data. In effect, one single map can provide one with 90 per cent of the information that he/she requires to plan a journey.
The magic of Flash mapping is not a tough nut to crack. On investigation we find that based on an Adobe Flash Platform, these maps are made with the help of very easily available charting software. One simply need sot feed in one's data in XML to get beautifully rendered illustration of a series of incomprehensible numbers. In the same vein, one can also track product information around the world. As opposed to travel routes which are illustrated via lines and points that expand into links and boxes, the product related data can be placed within bars that are placed on the locations desired. These mapping software also allow for animation and the columns show up only when called for by the user thus keeping the map uncluttered and easily comprehensible at all times.
Another interesting variation to these flash maps is the option of color coding the data for better illustration and data representation. These maps can be resized according to requirements and this extreme flexibility makes them very user friendly and increases the number of fields it can be used in. Some software also allow for a GUI interface and extensive tutorials which drastically reduces the expertise required to generate fantastic maps with minimum effort.