Fast Map Interaction without Flash

Tom MacWright (MapBox)
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Presenting fast, non-Flash interactive maps at scale and with support for older browsers is a challenge that has only truly been tackled by Google and a few serious competitors. TileLive, a dynamic tile rendering toolset that can run in Amazon’s cloud, is a demonstration of a fully open source stack that combines rasterized maps and dynamic data to provide interaction with both points and polygons without taxing older browsers. The approach also reduces page weight and makes complex rendering possible on the server side.

This presentation will demo this approach as well as give an analysis of Google’s technique and other existing tools, demonstrating the principles of lazy-loading and the algorithms behind the technology. Attendees will learn the concepts of map rendering on the server and browser side, as well as example use cases.

Photo of Tom MacWright

Tom MacWright


Tom is a GIS developer at Development Seed, a strategic consultancy that specializes in building maps, data visualizations, and open source tools for international development agencies. He is a lead architect of Development Seed’s open source mapping stack that combines Mapnik, Cascadenik, OpenLayers, and some other open source tools for use online, and is the lead developer behind TileLive, a dynamic tile rendering toolset that provides fast, non-Flash interactive maps.

Tom works closely with the mapping team on the development of MapBox, a suite of open source tools that make beautiful custom maps and host them in the cloud, TileMill, an open source map editor that makes it easy to design and generate beautiful custom map tiles without GIS software expertise, and SlingshotSMS, a lightweight SMS gateway on a stick.

Tom is a frequent speaker on open source mapping technologies, having presented at International Conference on Crisis Mapping, GOSCON, and past Where 2.0 conferences, and he recently participated in the first ever code sprint for Mapnik.

In addition to mapping, Tom is an experienced open source developer with significant experience working in Javascript, Node.js, Drupal, Django, and Ruby. He received a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from The College of William and Mary.

  • Nokia
  • OnStar
  • Esri
  • AT&T Interactive
  • Google
  • Rackspace Hosting
  • AND Automotive Navigation Data
  • C3 Technologies
  • Ditto
  • Facebook
  • Factual
  • MapQuest
  • Microsoft Corporation

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