Dundas Map for .NET kicks up geographic visualization

Internactive map controls speed up the development process in Dundas Maps, a development toolset that works with both Windows Forms and ASP.NET to integrate map- and geographic-based visualizations with data-driven applications.

Interactive map controls are one of many features in Dundas Map that speed up the development process and make for a better user experience. Dundas Map is a development toolset that works with both Windows Forms and ASP.NET to integrate map- and geographic-based visualizations with data-driven applications.

Dundas Map also supplies program logic to provide easy, direct control over map data, appearance and behavior. ASP.NET features ensure that interactive controls and functions enable support for pan, zoom, and redraw features without requiring server postbacks along the way.

A cornerstone of this environment is the Dundas Map Wizard. This forms-driven design tool lets users create and control map contents and presentation without writing any code directly. You can work from or modify pre-designed maps to speed up design, and use the Wizard at any time to inspect changes and updates prior to implementation. The Wizard also offers easy access to automatic color schemes, text, and border styles to help users create attractive and intelligible maps.

Dundas Map offers a wide range of interactive map controls, making fine-grained scroll, pan, and zoom controls available to end users. Keyboard panning and zooming are included, as well as mouse wheel zooming. Additional interactions may be implemented using movement and mouse click handlers inherent to the various .NET programming languages (Basic, C#, C++, and J#). Map controls also include numerous geometric and cartographic projections, which help make map size, layout, and appearance (including view center specification) easy to define and manipulate.

Other map definition and implementation features include:

  • Support for Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) Shapefiles, used for storing non-topological geometry and for attributing information for spatial features in a map's data set. This allows direct import of .shp files, and also lets you assign data fields for automatic naming and data associations to map elements. Shapes, paths, and images may be added to maps to highlight specific areas, identify routes or features of interest, and to provide greater data depth for map controls (think of the difference between a schematic-only map versus the schematic overlay on satellite photos in Google Earth as an example of effective image-map combinations).
  • Support for an unlimited number of logical layers on maps with arbitrary layer membership for map elements (none, one, some, all), where layers may be shown or hidden and layer visibility made contingent upon zoom layers. Controls may be applied at the group level to manage multiple elements in concert.
  • Legends and scales can be defined and styled using a properties browser, where complex legends may be programmatically defined to add more information depth to individual maps.
  • Data binding mechanisms permit map elements to be associated with one or more database columns. This allows intelligent naming and classification to be established, where element behavior and characteristics may be loaded from external data definition files to further speed development.
  • Comprehensive library of base maps, including detailed country maps of the USA, Canada, Japan, EU countries, India, and China, as well as a large collection of regional maps. Simplification controls also help to match detail with current zoom levels, to speed up rendering, and to allow progressive build-up of detail as zoom levels increase.

All in all, Dundas Map offers a compelling combination of features and functions sure to engage the interest and enthusiasm of Visual Studio developers building geographical applications. If my previous experience with Dundas's charting and dashboard suites is any indication, this package should be a treat to work with, and its finished product a joy to behold.

Ed Tittel is a writer and trainer whose interests include XML and development topics, along with IT Certification and information security. E-mail etittel@techtarget.com with comments, questions, or suggested topics or tools to review. Cool tools rule!


This was first published in August 2008

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