Map Genius!

Once upon a time, way back around 2001, a client wanted to be able to include maps in reports generated online. At that time, Mapquest reigned for directions and ESRI offered web-based map servers but these all generated bitmap results which looked rather lousy when printed.

To satisfy this customer I proposed we build our own map CLIENT using Flash. This client could render maps using geography provided from our servers (Geography On Demand.) The benefit of this approach was that when printing the resulting map, we could use the available resolution of whatever printer was connected. The resulting printed maps were very crisp and clear!

The other advantage was that we could render thousands of maps simultaneously because most of the work was done on the CLIENT with the server simply serving data. The ESRI server at that time could only handle 'maybe 20' simultaneous map requests. ESRI suggested we set up multiple servers at $20k apiece!

So having developed a solution that not only met our clients needs but also saved them lots of money, we tried to market the service to the rest of the world with little success. This is what comes from being a better programmer than a salesman!

Now the world has moved on and Google gives mapping services away, Flash is obsolete, and Javascript is fast!