Put a Map in your App!

What is it?

MyMaps is designed for the Java developer who needs to add maps to Swing applications, but doesn't know a lot about GIS. MyMaps lowers the learning curve by making it easy to access geographical data and display it in Swing applications.

Why another mapping tool?

At first glance, it would appear that the majority of features proposed by MyMaps are already available, for free, through many online mapping services (GoogleMaps, YahooMaps, MapQuest, etc). In many ways, there is an overlap. For most people, the online services provide sufficient mapping capabilities.

But these services all suffer the same problems. First and foremost, these are all browser based applications. Trying to integrate these services into a desktop application is far from trivial. While some may argue that using the API's made available by these services (which make AJAX programs somewhat easy to create), the need for a standalone, desktop application is moot. This project does not “take sides” in this argument; it's goal is to make it possible for those choosing to build a desktop application, regardless of their reasoning, to easily add mapping capabilities.

Ignoring the architecture of the application, the online mapping services still suffer one other, far more dire shortcoming – the data, and therefore the resulting images, come with restrictions. While the Terms of Use for many of these services allow for “personal use”, there is no contingency for commercial use. For anyone wishing to create a map that can be published and distributed for non-personal use, the online services are useless. This project, through the ability to read public domain data such as Tiger line files, allows the ability to create, publish and distribute royalty free, unencumbered map images.

Why not just use Geotools?

Geotools is a great project. In fact, MyMaps is built on top of Geotools. For hardcore analysis and cutting edge GIS capabilities, Geotools rocks.

But for the Java developer who is working with geographical data for the first time, Geotools can be intimidating. MyMaps acts as a bridge to help ease developers into the world of desktop mapping applications, making it easy to see results quickly. And because the code is open and freely modifiable, should the API become too restrictive or limited, it's easy to extend and expand on the capabilities.

How do you get started?

To use MyMaps in your application, simply download the latest distribution file from our sourceforge page. In it, you'll find sample applications, a Users Manual and all the files needed to put a map in your app!

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