Practice Abstract Maps with Mapstraction Sandbox

Adam DuVander
May. 28 2009, 04:16AM EDT

Try out your map mashup by playing in the sandbox. Better yet, easily switch between Google, Yahoo and several other mapping providers.

The multi-map JavaScript library Mapstraction (our Mapstraction API profile and earlier coverage) has added an API sandbox for trying out its many functions. The open source library sandbox is similar to Google's, but Mapstraction works across eleven mapping APIs. Developers can write once and switch providers at a later date with almost no changes to code.

If you're new to Mapstraction, check out this presentation (embedded below) from last week's Where 2.0 conference. In the slides, Andrew Turner and Evan Henshaw-Plath give an introduction to using Mapstraction, as well as an overview of geo-related data formats.

Of mashups listed in the ProgrammableWeb database, over a third are mapping-related, most of these using Google Maps. If something were to change with the terms of service or features, thousands of developers would be re-writing entire websites.

I'm in the process of writing a map scripting book and am using Mapstraction examples wherever I can. Unless you take advantage of very specialized features of a mapping API, it makes sense to utilize a write-it-once library like Mapstraction. Between the the sandbox and the slides, you should be well on your way.

Adam DuVander -- Adam heads developer relations at Orchestrate, a database-as-a-service company. He's spent many years analyzing APIs and developer tools. Previously he worked at SendGrid, edited ProgrammableWeb and wrote for Wired and Webmonkey. Adam is also the author of mapping API cookbook Map Scripting 101.

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