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Ask Slashdot: Easiest To Use Multi-User Map Editing? 52

Lordfly writes "I'm part of an online group of local hobbyist, semi-pro, and professional photographers. I want to start an editable map that showcases interesting places to shoot photos — parks, old buildings, interesting infrastructure, etc. Ideally I'd like to be able to tag/organize the markers (public/private property), as well as add example photos for each location to give people an idea of what the place looks like.

I've used the Google Maps 'Create a Map' feature, but have found that sharing for other users to see/edit is a bit ... off. Also, given Google's propensity for dropping features without much pretext, it makes me wary to sink time and effort into a possibly ephemeral map. It does most of what I'm looking for it to do, but are there more robust alternatives out there I'm not finding?"
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Ask Slashdot: Easiest To Use Multi-User Map Editing?

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Rand McNally! Plus pencil!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 14, 2014 @10:10PM (#46489317)

    This is a problem that OSM (open street map) has solved. Either use their service, our even create your own clone - their software is likely to be all open source, and their mapping data certainly is.

    • by WarJolt ( 990309 )

      Works on android too as a pretty good replacement for the Google maps api.. I've found it fo be a little slow at times and google maps api is a bit more mature. Gotta get your hands dirty and write some code.

    • This is a problem that OSM (open street map) has solved. Either use their service, our even create your own clone - their software is likely to be all open source, and their mapping data certainly is.

      Nice. I was going to say if everyone is collocated to use a big paper map on a wall. He did say they were "local". Sounds like he's trying to use tech he doesn't really need to solve a problem. But, that's most Ask /. questions these days, that and not knowing how to use a search engine to do your own research.

    • OpenStreetMap is not really suited to what he is doing since we are making a 'base map' which is just the underlying features, roads, buildings, etc. The personal notes the OP is looking for can however be added to uMap which is a tool one of the OSM people developed to make maps overlay on top of the map. I am not sure what the public terms of service are though or how long it will be available. It was developed for coordinating information about humanitarian disasters but it would work for that as well

      • There are a number of services and applications that use OpenStreetMap as a back end. As mentioned, some of them are available on Android. Others are available for the desktop.
  • by Anonymous Coward

  • by Anonymous Coward

    not sure how hard you're looking if you're aware of neither nor but this is *exactly* what they're for

  • by ssufficool ( 1836898 ) on Friday March 14, 2014 @10:33PM (#46489449)
    You will need a spatial database (I prefer PostgreSQL + PostGIS), but you might want to try SQL Azure with their supreme Geography types. Then I would create a WFS (web feature server) on top of that from scratch using a compiled c++ CGI backend running on NGINX. Then I would create some JSON web services to handle the back and forth in PHP5 on a separate server running Apache2, because you need that multi-tiered scaleability eventually, so start now. Then I would hobble together a javascript mapping API to interact with the WFS and JSON web services. After I reach a performance impact from the CGI doing on-demand rendering, I would create a server process in Python to generate and cache tiles to a web tile server, then rework the JSON and WFS server to serve those up in addition to the overlay of the more dynamic layers. Then I would flush that all down the toilet and do what the other guy said.
    • by Bazman ( 4849 )

      I think you just described the OpenGeo suite from Boundless [] except with less Java because enterprisey.

      Another idea would be something based on Django with the GeoDjango functionality, a simple model for location with picture and whatever other attributes you want in your model, and job almost done. Buy some hosting and run it, or plug an Rpi into your home network and punch a line through your router.

  • Recently owncloud started offering collaborative editing of ODF documents. I am not sure it can do .odg, but if it does, it may be used for maps. SVG suport would be even better, though.
  • Clippy (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I see you are planning to blow some buildings up.

  • Ushahidi (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Try Ushahidi, originally developed more for crisis management and political activitism it may be useful for you. There is also an online version at you can play with. I have used it for various reasons from the downright comical to the extremely serious and I have not had any issues using it, once you get past the learning curve.

  • by raymorris ( 2726007 ) on Friday March 14, 2014 @10:59PM (#46489573) Journal

    ANY company or service can go away or change.
    That's why you keep a copy of the data, coordinates, etc. Then you can display that data with Google maps, openstreetmap, or a dozen other ways and you're not dependent on anyone.

    If you keep a copy of your data, you don't need to decide based on one option having a 0.01% chance of going away versus another with a 0.02% chance.

  • by 404 Clue Not Found ( 763556 ) * on Friday March 14, 2014 @11:14PM (#46489655)

    Flickr does pretty much all of this. You can use a Yahoo account, a Facebook account, or a Google account to sign in.

    Then make a Flickr group (it can be private or unlisted). Everybody can contribute photos to the shared group and geotag them. Then everyone else can see them on a map. You can also search for tags by keyword.


  • by Anonymous Coward

    I think that Nokia's Here (formerly Navteq) has tools to let you do this. Not sure since I haven't tried, but they are still ahead of Google Maps for such stuff.

  • I dont know if this will help you or not, but [] data is under the Creative Commons and provides webservices that you could write your own apps to take advantage of. From what I understand, you can add points to the database (if they dont already exist).
  • Try Mapbox (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    It's based on OSM but less rough around the corners. It's a hosted solution used by some pretty big players like Foursquare and Yelp.

    I have a similar project in mind and they are my top alternative for Google Maps.

  • Ideal for me would be to have a Google Earth layer that when I edit, my edits appear on others who share the layer and vice-versa. Any solutions?

  • If we have many different groups posting events all across the state, what is best for not only showing them on a calender but also locations on a map?

    Think Magic/Game Events!
    Each event may have a different owner, or group of owners posting them.
    It should be easy to view on the map for people to easily see what Events are close to them for any particular day.

    Currently we're thinking multiple Google Calenders but it loses all coloring and requires everyone who wants to do a calender to have google. P
  • Have you tried ? []
  • I have been using the free service available at [] for a few years. Basically provides an editable Google Maps systems.
  • This would be very easy if your community has a LocalWiki [].
  • The easiest way is to set up GeoServer as part of the OpenGeoSuite []. The OpenGeoSuite sets up PostGIS and GeoServer and another application called GeoExplorer, which is a web-app that sorts out authentication and editing of spatial data, as well as simple styling.

    That said, you can't just 'make a map.' You need to set up multiple tables, all with an appropriate schema, to hold all your different layers. That stuff takes experience, or will require you to iterate over time in order to get it right.

    You could s

  • GitHub has built-in geoJSON mapa capabilities: []
    Example: []
    A GitHub organization may have multiple contributors.
    There's forum and wiki support.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo.