Thursday 21 April 2016

Draw on Map with MapCortex Free Web Map

After a long while we are pleased to announce that the MapCortex Free Web Map is functional. It is very much an early release and majority of features are still missing but you can certainly start going nuts and create drawing on the map.

The current (still rather alpha version) enables users to draw lines, poly-lines, free-lines, polygons, arrows and shapes on a web map. It is also possible to change colour of these shapes, change the width of the line segments and last but not least one may change the opacity of the polygon, circle or triangle elements on the map.

This basic web map is designed with cross-browser compatibility in mind; it should run in many desktop and mobile browsers. The control elements are also laid out on the way that those are still accessible and visible even in your mobile phone browser.

So, let's see what we can do on this map. First of all, there are 10 base maps you can use. Yes, 10! Two different type of Street Maps, aerial photography, topographic and many illustrative maps. You can choose a cool looking black background map to create the necessary darkish atmosphere:

US on a cool black map background

There are options for aerial imagery as well - here you can see the Taipei 101 (slightly in clouds as Taiwan is rather a sub-tropical country). The building is in circle - you can also draw such elements on the map!
Taipei 101 in clouds on an aerial photography

Also, there is another aerial shot of Sydney Harbour - you can easily spot the Sydney Opera House!

Sydney Harbour Aerial Photography

The following example is to show how it is looking like when you create a map with address location and an arrow pointing to the location - this time we are in Berlin at the Brandenburg Gate!

Brandenburg Gate Aerial Photography with markers

...and lastly, let us move to New York and see a crude overview of the island with the standard street map on.
New York Street View Map Image

Well, this is it. A you can see this web map not only enables you to draw on various basemaps, but also incorporates a global address search function - which is always good if you are trying to locate an address.

The following additional features are still to be implemented, so watch this space:
  • Deleting your drawings from the map.
  • Undo/Redo button.
  • Measuring length and area.
  • ...and many more!

Thursday 14 April 2016

Panoramic Map of Osaka from 1883

I immediately fallen in love with this map - it is not only in reasonable quality, but the actual, 3D like layout really makes it standing out from our collection.
Panoramic Map of Osaka from 1883
Although street names are not visible owing to its overview nature it is really well reflecting the layout of Osaka, in Japan, showing the names of suburbs on a flag-like features. The locations of the bridges are also easy to be identified along with bays, shores and street layouts.

The whole map is making an impression of being a landscape drawing rather a map, yet it literally provides a very good navigational mean within the city's street furniture and topographic layout.

Last but not least, reasonable buildings with monumental/historical or governmental value are well shown - for instance at the bottom middle section it seems like that a royal palace like building is situated on the top of a small hill.

Wednesday 13 April 2016

Shanghai City Center Map from the 19th Century

I have just found this rather well detailed Shanghai city centre map whilst I was looking for something else on the web. This map seems that it has been hand-drawn using the engineering design drawing principles. The map not only shows the streets, its names and building locations, but the lines and the circles are probably showing the location of the waste-water of the city - although I cannot confirm this.
Shanghai City Center Map from the 19th Century
The street titles are shown in English thus make me come to the impression that the author either English speaker or provided to this map-making service to an English speaking client.

There are some brownish discolouration on the paper yet this does not seem to compromise the readability or quality of the map.I believe this map is a rather interesting finding for our archives and please feel free to download it if you wish to do so.

Thursday 7 April 2016

How can I run MapCortex Free Edition application?

MapCortex Free Edition (which is essentially the same as MapCortex BETA) is a forthcoming Windows Store application, which means one is required to have a Windows 8.1, Windows 10, Windows Server 2012 R2 or  Windows Server 2016 to run it. The application will soon be available from the Windows Store, free of charge.

MapCortex Free Edition can also be run on Microsoft Surface in fact, owing to the touch-screen components of that hardware the user may be able to create any type of drawings on the map by using the Surface touch-screen interface.

However, owing to the screen size requirements and the composition of the icons MapCortex Free Edition is not designed to be used as an UWP application - though it runs fine with Windows 10.

If you don't have Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 based computer then I am afraid you will not be able to use the MapCortex Free Edition client. However, it is planned to create a similar, yet less sophisticated application for web browsers, built upon either on Google Maps or Nokia HERE Maps - but that is nowhere near at the implementation horizon.

Tuesday 5 April 2016

Ceylon Charter Map

I have a great interest in Sri Lanka and its geographical features these days, hence I did a bit of a research on online maps available from this region.

I found an official looking library with old Ceylon maps and printouts, where I found this one...the rest seem to be in a very poor quality, but this one is reasonable OK I would think.

Ceylon Charter Map
This map is likely to be an old navigational charter - regrettably if you zoom in the quality gets quickly is just too pixelated. Still, a good piece for my collection...the original probably can be found in Sri Lanka National Archives.

Old Map of Colombo, Sri Lanka from 1895

This is our latest finding - a reasonable quality map showing Colombo, Sri Lanka in 1895.The map was created by Friedrich Arnold Brockhaus (sounds like a German/Dutch name to me) using original colour lithograph technique.

Old Map of Colombo, Sri Lanka from 1895
The map itself shows major landmarks in the city, as well as the location of major buildings and main roads along with their name. There is a quote at the bottom of the map, apparently it is originated from a  London-based printing house.

Monday 4 April 2016

Hi Resolution Map of Ceylon from 1692

I quiet like this one - hence I thought I share this with you here. It is indeed an old map of Ceylon or as it is nowadays known Sri Lanka, a reasonable sized island just south from the Indian sub-continent.

Hi Resolution Map of Ceylon from 1692

This is actually a Dutch map, with reasonable artwork on its side and seems rather accurate. The image itself is in reasonable resolution, so you can also do a printout and still getting a good quality.

Old World Map - The one you see all the time

I really like the design of this map. It is a very common one, that is shown many places around the web, I even saw this as a printout somewhere. I think I will share this here with you, just for a sake of sharing - plus I think this is the best one to kick off my Ancient Maps series.

Anyhow, the map is here for you to enjoy:
Old World Map - The one you see all the time

Shame the edges has been slightly chopped off, but I am sure after Google around you can get a copy of the full image from some other locations.

MapCortex backend service migrations - completed schedule

Last weekend we migrated the development and test environment from the Japanese infrastructure to California - and we did that for one reason. It is expected that majority of the free release users will be coming from English speaking environment, which would make sense then to deploy the supporting service at this location. However, we also carried out a series of tests and we concluded the followings.

  • The global access speed of the web map gallery interface is the best for US-based servers.
  • European users will have no issues to reach these US-based servers with high efficiency.
  • Hosting and infrastructure costs are lower than in Japan.
  • Web access speed for Japan-hosted web applications (without CDN) seems slightly slow for European consumers - though this is not true on the other way around, when Japanese consumers are accessing European or US servers.
  • It has been noted that users from the People's Republic of China might have issues accessing the web interface based in US owing to various, globally meaningful technical and commercial reasons, but our tests revealed that users have no issues accessing our service from Shanghai or Beijing.
  • It has also been noted that in case of network and access issues between the US and Asian servers MapCortex might be released as a separate application for Asian-based consumers, hosted in a Hong-Kong based platform.
  • Our current development effort has been focused on the web-map gallery application development, which is the last phase of this release.

Stay tuned for more...