National Geographic's Really Cool Flex Based MapMachine

National Geographic’s MapMachine is not just another interactive map. Sure, you can find addresses and zoom in and out and all of the stuff we’ve seen before. But this one lets you apply themes – color coding by population density, weather (averages and special events), boundaries, significant natural disasters, ecoregions, and more. The application is powered by ESRI, and is built using Flex (this version using Flex 1.5).

8 responses to “National Geographic's Really Cool Flex Based MapMachine”

  1. Trond Ulseth Avatar
    Trond Ulseth

    I also like the way it zoom in and out when you use the scroll wheel on the mouse (found this out by coincidense).

  2. Phil Avatar

    I like that too. it loads faster than googles, that’s for sure and the map transitions are smoother.

  3. Mike Kollen Avatar
    Mike Kollen

    Hi Ben,
    The skinned components have a Flash 8 feel, this might not be Flex.
    Take Care,

  4. Ben Forta Avatar
    Ben Forta

    Mike, it is indeed built with Flex 1.5.
    — Ben

  5. Kirk Mower Avatar
    Kirk Mower

    That uses ESRI’s arcweb services. Note that you can also now access the ArcWeb Explorer javascript API at and have a play with this stuff yourself. Keep an eye out for more Flex web-based GIS applications (we are just starting one at the moment) — they are a perfect fit together given the UI requirements of these types of applications.

  6. Ryan Favro Avatar
    Ryan Favro

    Not sure how accurate some of the "Map Themes" are. Look up the population density of Toronto Ontario. According to the map Toronto has a lower population density then Owen Sound which is cottage country and rual. Which by the way isn’t true.

  7. Jeff Howden Avatar
    Jeff Howden

    Wish I could figure out how to give them feedback. As cool as the zoom in/out with the mousewheel is, it’d be super-nice if it didn’t do it when I was trying to use the mousewheel to scroll the content in the legend box, heh.

  8. Paul Hannan Avatar
    Paul Hannan

    I apologize for the mouse wheel. It’s something I want to fix in an upcoming update. I work on a macintosh and don’t have a mouse with a wheel attached to easily test (doh!). I know ESRI works heavily with flex for developing flash and they have a server to create the vector maps you see. However, for the MapMachine application I developed it from the ground up using the flash 8 authoring tool. I published the swf in flash 7 so those flash 7 users can take advantage of it, but I detect if the client is running flash 8 so it can also take advantage of flash’s bitmap caching for the ESRI vector maps.

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