Deep-Linking Into The Pink Dots

The "pink dots" maps have been getting some special attention lately. First, Jonathan referenced our original Solaris registrations map to make a point about how Sun's embrace of free software is driving adoption of our technologies. Then yesterday, Eduardo mentioned our new GlassFish adoption map on The Aquarium.

Both Jonathan and Eduardo asked readers to look at a particular map view to get an illustration of their point. One thing worth mentioning is that it's actually possible to link directly to such views.

For example, Jonathan (who wanted his readers to look at the map with a blank background) could have referenced this URL:

http://sysnet.sunwarp.net/maps/?lat=39.75&lng=-105&zoom=2&mtype=Blank

Or Eduardo (who wanted users to look at how GlassFish usage had increased in Brazil) might have referenced this URL for February:

http://beta.glassfish.java.net:81/maps/?lat=-12.89748918375589&lng=-51.50390625&zoom=4&mtype=Map&otype=gf_admin_hits_2007_02_exclusive

...and this one for April:

http://beta.glassfish.java.net:81/maps/?lat=-12.89748918375589&lng=-51.50390625&zoom=4&mtype=Map&otype=gf_admin_hits_2007_04_exclusive

But wait, those are complicated URLs. How could anyone possibly know which one to use?

It's easy. Just find the map view that you want and then copy the link referenced by the "This View" anchor in the map page. It's the link which I've highlighted in yellow below:

The JavaScript code in the maps page dynamically updates this link to always reference a URL which would recreate the current view.

So there you have it. If you want to have people look at some specific view of these maps to illustrate your point, you can send them there with just one click.

However, there is one caveat...

These deep-linking URLs guarantee that everyone will see the same map view at a given center point and zoom level. However, the actual amount of territory visible in the map (and thus summarized in the sidebar stats) will depend on the user's window size and screen resolution. So they won't necessarily see exactly the same image and figures that you do (though it should be close, assuming that most people have reasonably-sized screens and windows).

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