Showing up on the tech news today...
a C based API for getting public vector data rendered out using a cloud based parallel server to provide rendered tiles of a regional area - presumably to load into google maps type thing. Prob use this in my app as well. Sounds good for people wanting real world maps with custom features. From my quick read it looks free but I am not sure.
Oh ok, I thought they had some kind of set of PCs rendering out the vector data and would serve up the image. As I read it they were saying that there exists these huge databases of vector data and they had some kind of capability of interpreting it to tiles and you grab the tiles. So you have to host that capability as well then. Re-reading the article with your additional explanation does give me a different impression now. So I guess this is more of a C or Ruby based simple API with limited scope for what would already exist in a more extensive fashion, if you could be bothered to set it all up, but either way, your server will do all of the image rendering and generate the tile. Possibly still useful but it sounds like you will still need to run a server and still need to download the multi gigs of vector data to make it work.
Thanks Hai b.t.w...
Now, if you want a cloud based map tile rendering service, there are some. CloudMade is a prominent one with ties to OpenStreetMap.
We had someone who was interested in setting up GeoServer for the MeDem project I am part of. We were interested in using that but the chap didn't stick around. Were were going to use a set of image tiles to import as the base layer and I think he said it could generate all the other Z tiles.
We have become interested in 3D mapping from a server via this Outerra which is pretty cool too. It renders the map locally but fetches 3D data tiles from cloud based servers.
So I guess if I want to style vector data then I could write some style guide (presumably in something like XML) and then a full fat map server would render the vector data out with that style. Interesting. I have used OpenStreetMap from the web interface but as yet not via any API.
I'm working on providing some kind of web server for maps - esp fantasy maps at the mo. But its all 2D image based not shape file or vector.
I would be interested in either of your opinions about this type of thing. Not my work (trust me = WAY beyond my abilities and technical knowledge) but I am interested in your takes, from both a programming and GIS point of view.
I tried emailing the author, but I fear that I might have ended up in his file 13. I was asking him about what sort of setting/user interface options he was working on and what sort of work flow the program went through.
Art Critic = Someone with the Eye of an Artist, Words of a Bard, and the Talent of a Rock.
Please take my critiques as someone who Wishes he had the Talent
If the results were driven from 3D landscapes then its old hat. Its very similar to my GeoTerSys texturing engine. It shades stuff based on temperature, sunlight, snow fall, vegetation, and loads of params thats derived from the 3D model and a climate simulation.
But I think this is being done from the 2D vector map which is kinda new. Whilst I like the output and prefer it to the normal vector maps like those they have posted, if you are going to make it look real and it is a map then you have to be careful that if its a real place then you are now inferring a lot of visual elements from an algorithm instead of from what is really there. For example, the text quotes that it fades up tree growth but the tree line might be quite sharp in the real world. I can imagine a zillion other similar assumptions that would be wrong. For a fantasy map tho, well, now your talking ! If you only had to draw the vector shapes and it would shade it all in realistic style then it would be great.