Google Maps and Ruby on Rails

For a new project I’m working on, I will make extensive use of Google Maps. At this moment I’m doing some research to find out what the best practices are to use Google Maps in Rails applications. I also want to find out what tools there are.

The first projects I ran into are the tools which simplify the creation of a map: Cartographer and YM4R. These two projects give the user a Ruby based approach for building maps. According to Andre Lewis in his Google Talk about Ruby and Google Maps you’ll run into the limitations of these projects very soon if you’re building complex applications. Andre is one of the writers of the new book about Google Maps and Rails, called “Beginning Google Maps Applications with Rails and Ajax: From Novice to Professional”.

These tools can be very useful if you want to build a Google Maps application fast or if you don’t want to make your hands dirty on the Javascript (or maybe you just don’t have the knowledge).

The application I’m building will be rather complex and I don’t mind programming in Javascript. So I’m not going to make use of this kind of tools. The next category of tools you can use in building maps, are the geocoding tools. These will be the subject of a future post.

B.t.w. It looks like the cartographer project is dead, so if you want to use this way of building maps, there’s only one solution left, YM4R.

2 Responses to “Google Maps and Ruby on Rails”

  1. Thomas Landspurg Says:

    I’ve used YM4R, but after some experimentation, I found the best way was to use JavaScript directly and generate the Geo data through an XML feed…The issue is that a complex mashup require a lot of Javascript interaction, and doing it from the “usual” ruby way wont be very usefull…-

    Also: what helaas is opencellid nog niet ‘dekkend’ in NL: means? 😉

  2. gvenk Says:

    I’m only using Ruby libs for server side things like geocoding. I agree the best way on the client side is by using ‘pure’ Javascript.

    “helaas is opencellid nog niet ‘dekkend’ in NL” means: “It’s a pity opencellid doesn’t cover the whole of the Netherlands (yet)” 🙂

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