Yahoo Maps Creates Generous and Powerful API for AS3

Erik Olson, Former Viget

Article Category: #Design & Content

Posted on

Maps have come a long way on the web; having a powerful API will take them even further. Yahoo! introduced a very exciting API for AS3 in late February that proves to be the most powerful map API for Actionscript on the web right now. With the map API you have a great map engine with the ability to create custom components, overlays and markers while taking advantage of different web services provided by Yahoo!. Some of the goodies they have included in the release so far:
  • Traffic
  • Satellite
  • Hybrid maps
  • Custom Markers
  • Geo Coding
  • Geodesic Polylines (think of that map in Indiana Jones when he's flying all over the globe)
  • Local Search
  • Weather Map
  • Flickr Photos
The Flickr photos API is one of the fun new features. It takes the most popular key words based on photos taken and tagged within the cities and areas you are currently viewing on your Yahoo! map. The tags act as markers, so you click on a tag to reveal random photos and even videos taken by people who visited the area. It's a great way to get an eclectic view of whatever area you're interested in.
Flickr API
Getting started with the API really is very simple. All you have to do is download the swc and sign up for a free API key. Within about 10 minutes, I had the zoom component and the Map, Satellite and Hybrid views fully functioning. This initial introduction is limited (for now) to Flex. However, a somewhat simple workaround has come from some talented developers for those of you who are very eager to take your maps into Flash right away. There are some restrictions to usage. However, it's fairly generous. The rate limits are based on the number of API calls made per IP address during a 24-hour window. You can think of the 24 hours as a day, but the clock does not reset itself at midnight, per se. Instead, the clock starts the first time you make the API call from the IP. Then, 24 hours later, Yahoo! resets the counters for your IP address. I'm excited about seeing some great (usable) Flash maps on many more sites.

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