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Sometimes when clients come to us with a need, we can modify existing code sets or functions to meet the client’s specifications. Other times, there are no solutions that already exist – so we invent them. When TMSI Logistics, a warehousing, transport, and import/export company, approached us with a need for a map that would provide popups and other information when the user hovers over it, our back-end developer Jason went to work.

Designing an XML Overlay System

The resulting polygon creator he developed not only satisfies the client’s requirements for a complex and detailed map; it also makes life much more efficient and easy for developers hoping to build such a map. In fact, the polygon creator can be modified for other projects that include not just maps, but any image that needs to provide information when the user hovers over it.

The traditional way to design such a map is to create a database of XML files that overlay the map. In the final product, when the user hovers over the map, the information contained in the XML files will be on display. In TMSI’s case, this information is carrier-related and includes important details like rates and headquarter notes. Upon viewing the overview, the user can click on it to select a specific carrier.

polygon creator

An Easy Solution for Developers

One of the challenges for the developer, when asked to design a map like this, is that there’s no way to neatly and efficiently outline a specific location and provide only the details that are relevant to that locale. Jason’s polygon creator is a powerful solution, allowing the developer to manually outline a specific area on the map. The area outlined translates to a set of longitudes and latitudes in the polygon creator, and these longitudes and latitudes translate directly to specific XML documents.

The information that is pulled, then, is hyper-specific to the area outlined, and provides users with exactly what they need, no matter where they put their curser.

Other Applications of the Polygon Creator

To use the polygon creator for images that aren’t maps, Jason rewrote the program to use x/y coordinates instead of longitudes and latitudes. This will allow the website to hyperlink to, or provide information for, a specific image area. In this case, the user can view information about specific products laid out on a page, and click through to the product if they wish to purchase it.

polygon creator second version

What does this mean for our clients? It means that by using the polygon creator, we can provide your website with a powerful informational functionality in a fraction of the time – and thus, for a fraction of the price. Here at Clarity, our innovations equal our clients' savings.



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