A graphical search for a map library.

Searching a specific map is often related to a secific region. Hence the map library of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology proposed to produce a web interface where a user can select an area in a map and gets the available maps of this aera as a result.

Such a map search has several requirements. First we need a database where the maps are stored with their scale, some coordinates of the segment of the map, and the topic. Second we need to communicate with the database. As a third point the maps in the web interface should be well-arranged [Raeber, Jenny, 2002] and the filesize should be small.

This idea was implemented in a master thesis as a prototype. We produced an interface for a graphical search for maps. You can select an area in a world map (SVG), choose some topics in a drop down menu (also SVG) and then submit your request to a MySQL database. Then you get back a table with maps of the selected area and the selected topic. You also get a link where you can find more details of the map and - if available - a preview of the map.

The system was implemented with Perl for the generation of the HTML page and the communication with the database. The Mainpage is a HTML page which consists of a table with graphics. All graphics are SVG.

The demand of well-arranged maps is only fullfilled concerning the adapive zooming [Bruehlmeier, 2000]. However the design of the maps could be increased. Until now there are only three maps available in the search system (a world map, a map of switzerland and one of Germany). However we will increase the numbers of maps in the future.

The prototype is available on the net via http://www.karto.ethz.ch/~schlenker/ (second link).


[Bruehlmeier, 2000] Bruehlmeier, T. (2000): Interaktive Karten - adaptives Zoomen mit Scalable Vector Graphics. www.seven-r.ch/svg/, Zurich.

[Raeber, Jenny, 2002] Raeber, S. and Jenny, B. (2001): Attraktive Webkarten - ein Plaedoyer fuer gute Kartengraphik. Proceeding Web.mapping.2001. Karlsruhe.