Online Maps for Local Government
The central iShare application enables Local Authorities to introduce a mapping interface to their public facing websites enabling citizens to find out about services quickly.
Based on the OpenLayers open source mapping library, My Maps comes with My House and custom instances can be deployed anywhere else on a site.
My Maps in action
Probably the best way to explain My Maps is to try it out for yourself. You can do this at the South Tyneside Council site. Just go to: http://www.southtyneside.infoOn the home page go straight to maps by clicking on the link in the My South Tyneside box on the right hand side or type a Postcode directly into the search box...try NE32 5HS If you choose the latter option you will need to pick a property from the resulting list which will then take you to the map. The My Maps tab shows the property on the map and provides access to multiple themes rendered as different layers on the map. If you are looking for schools in the area for example click on the Schools and Learning theme. These can be switched on an off. Now take a closer look. The maps themselves are rendered using ‘Open Layers’ so they are really quick to load and include what people have come to expect in terms of ‘Google like’ simplicity. Because the site uses Ordnance Survey mapping the detail is significantly better and like Google there is an aerial photography layer too. The familiar pan and zoom tools are on the left or you can simple grab the map with the mouse and move it about and zoom in and out with the scroll wheel if you have one. Hovering over an icon or an area with the mouse triggers a pop up box with relevant information such as an address. A handy scale indicator gives the viewer a constant reminder of distance for each level of zoom. On this site at least the user is never far away from a map to help them locate anything which they might need from a school to a recycling centre. South Tyneside have made extensive use of the data it holds on local facilities and amenities and made it very easy for anybody to find by using iShare’s versatility.