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Using MySQL Spatial Extensions to make a Google Maps interface.
Posted by: Clive Galway
Date: August 23, 2005 01:19PM

Just thought I would let you guys know of my project.
With the advent of the Google Maps API, it is now possible to plot points on an online Google Map (Map tiles served by Google) with whatever data you wish.

Most google maps hackers are taking the approach of "scraping" data from other places (ie the web) and plotting it on a map, but I am taking a different approach.

I wish to create a generic system that allows users to plot thier own data on a map and view other people's points. An analogy would be it is sort of like a wiki or a message board, but for maps.

I am currently using a message board (XMBForum) as a base back end partly because I want to provide users with the ability to comment on and discuss points, but partly because I don't want to write a user authentication system yet...

The Google Maps API is JavaScript, so the front end is JS, the back end is PHP and communication between the two is via Asynch XML ("AJAX")

I have gotten a fair way with the project, recently moving to MySQL 4.1's spatial extensions to allow me to store points and lines in the same field and to allow easy pulling of points within a certain bounds. However, my current ISP only has MySQL 3.x so I am unable to put up a demo of this.

There is an older demo at but this is a bit buggy (Lat and Lng are reversed for a start ! silly mistake !) and does not support lines. It gives you an idea of what will be possible though.

This is all open source, freely distributed ( source code at ) and I am very open to offers of assistance. I want to make this as generic a system as possible - my aim is to create a system to let people annotate the world.

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