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map-TV FAQ

We have prepared the following description in FAQ form but don't actually claim to have been asked all of the following...
1. What is map-TV?
2. How do I use it?
3. Is a browser plugin, applet or activeX object required?
4. But HTML mapping interfaces are awful and clunky.
5. What web server do I need?
6. What GIS file formats are supported?
7. How fast is map-TV?
8. Can I run multiple map-TV servers?
9. What functions can users expect?
10. How does map-TV allow users to add their own points?
11. What do I need to run map-TV?
12. What is "map-TV Open"?
13. What else does SpatialMedia do?
14. So what's the catch?
15. What does it look like?

1. What is map-TV?
map-TV is a web mapping server and metadata manager/publisher. It runs on any WIN32 machine and provides mapping functions to multiple clients. Client machines must run a web browser (Microsoft Explorer 3/4 or Netscape 3/4) and be able to connect to the map-TV server via TCP/IP.

2. How do i use it?
Wizards are provided to assist this task and settings can be saved in a map-TV project file. Once a project has been assembled, just hit server->start serving and map-TV will display an URL that can be typed into browsers on other machines to load the map-TV client interface and start mapping.

3. Is a browser plugin, applet or activeX object required?
No. Your browser need only support HTML and JavaScript 1.0

4. But HTML mapping interfaces are awful and clunky.
Not this one. Strictly speaking map-TV uses a JavaScript interface. This allows for a toolbar and supports standard mapping functions like zoom to a box, pan from-to. Java and activeX clients have their place (we use both on other solutions) but for all round performance and simplicity, you can't beat HTML with JavaScript.

5. What web server do I need?
You don't! map-TV has a web server built into it. Just install and go.

6. What GIS file formats are supported?
map-TV uses ESRI shapefiles and several image formats. Because the shapefile format is open, translators are freely available for most formats (or we can translate data for you).

7. How fast is map-TV?
Fast. We believe any web application must be able to respond to a user request in under a second. Whether you can meet this target using map-TV depends on how fast your server is, and how big your shapefiles are. The help has a number of suggestions for performance tuning and sub second response is possible for large datasets. The map-TV gazetteer makes it possible to search hundreds of thousands of records (such as addresses) in under a second, as well as allowing a simple user interface. Web solutions need to be this fast to support multiple users without excessive queuing.

8. Can I run multiple map-TV servers?
Yes - either on separate machines or on a single server. One map-TV server goes a long way, but if you need more we suggest you provide a dedicated server for various groups of users.

9. What functions can users expect?
The toolbar options served to the client can be managed from the server and include:

      Mapping

  • Unzoom (zoom to full extent of layers).
  • Screen Plot (return a large map with title for local printing).
  • Back Plot (request that a map is printed direct from the server).
  • Zoom out 2x
  • Zoom in Mode (user click on map to zoom in 2x on re-centre)
  • Re-centre Mode (user clicks on new map centre)
  • Pan Mode  (user is prompted to click on from then to point)
  • Zoom Box (user is prompted to click on low left and upper right)
  • ID mode (user clicks on feature to return information about it)
  • Add Point Mode (user can click on map to add point with attributes)

      Searching
map-TV provides a text box where users can enter a "gazetteer" location to search for. Searches can be exact or matched with a wild card (i.e. xyz*).

      Layers
Map layers can be turned on or off on the client. Optionally users can choose from a list of fields for labeling for each layer.

      MetaData
MetaData functions allow sites to publish and maintain a searchable catalogue of their geographic data holdings. Any theme (or any of its component layers, fields etc) can have metadata recorded against it. If metadata publishing is then enabled users can click on an icon beside each theme name to load a page of nested tables containing the metadata. Metadata might include links to download geographic datasets, or links to other map-TV servers.
      MetaData searches.
Users can request a search metadata operation. They can then search all metadata by keyword, optionally constrained by the currently mapped extent. Matching themes will then be highlighted, or optionally nonmatching themes removed from the list of availabel themes.

10. How does map-TV allow users to add their own points?
We believe that using web mapping systems as a means to capture data is very important and have out a lot of effort into "PushPins". Using a Wizard on the map-TV server, administrators can easily define a virtual theme which users can view and ID like any other, but also add points. PushPins are actually stored in an .mdb table on the server. They can be configured to require a password for editing, and also to provide a drop down list of allowed field values when a point is added. At any time, a PushPin theme can be converted into an ESRI shapefile on the server, or optionally a shapefile copy can be requested from the client.

11. What do I need to run map-TV?
Server - We recommend a 300 MHz machine, ideally with 128 Mbytes of RAM, but map-TV will run on much slower machines if necessary (and was developed on a 166/32 Mbytes AMD workhorse). Windows NT is recommended, but again you can get away with 95 or 98.
Client - To be honest, we have yet to try a 16 bit Windows client  - but basically anything goes, as long as the browser will support Javascript 1.0. Let the server do the work.

12. What is "map-TV Open"?
map-TV is not a cut down version of another product. Some web developers need to use map-TV as a component of their own (property) system, however. In this case the map-TV must be able to respond to a search and deliver a set of frames or an image, to be inserted into the developer's pages. In these cases map-TV Open is required. map-TV Open is not free but 99% of sites don't need it. Standard map-TV is the main event.

13. What else does SpatialMedia do?
Funny you should ask :) We supply GIS Consultancy services, including Project Management and System Development. We sell other web mapping products, but can also adapt map-TV to do just about anything you need it to do. We are very price competitive in New Zealand, and New Zealand's exchange rate makes us doubly competitive internationally.

14. So what's the catch?
Well we really don't think there is one. We have written map-TV for several reasons...

  • To demonstrate that web mapping can be simple and cheap.
  • To demonstrate our can-do approach to web mapping.
  • To make sure that anyone who needs serious web mapping functions in their systems talks to us first.

The only thing you can't do with map-TV is use it as a developer tool (you need map-TV Open for that) so why not download map-TV. If nothing else you will learn a lot about your own requirements.

15. Some sample screen shots
View some example screen shots



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Last revised: Monday 3rd April, 2000.
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