Gotta map them all!

This Saturday, I’ll be at Hackforge wearing my MaptimeWindsorEssex hat for some Pokémon related mapping

One of the best things about Pokemon Go is it gives you a chance to learn more about where you live.

In partnership with the Windsor Public Library and Maptime Windsor-Essex, we will be teaching people how to use Google Maps to mark out PokéStops and PokéGyms, so we can pick the best routes to help you catch them all! Plus we’ll be mapping other important spots downtown that can help make the game more accessible, like wifi hotspots and bus stops.

We will then be sharing the results with a publicly available online map of key PokéSpots in Windsor. Free and great for the whole family!

Inspired by the event, I thought I would try out my own Pokémap. Well, what I made is not my map. It’s my personalized version of the Pokemon inspired map that was made by Saman Bemel Benrud of Mapbox in July. I followed Saman’s instructions how to make my own playful theme using Mapbox studio and I added the googley eyes using Inkscape as an excuse to do some playing around with SVG. 

(explore the map in full-screen)

The map above is the first web-based vector map I’ve “made”. The map above uses Mapbox GL JS, a JavaScript library “that uses WebGL to render interactive maps from vector tiles and Mapbox styles. It is part of the Mapbox GL ecosystem, which includes Mapbox Mobile, a compatible renderer written in C++ with bindings for desktop and mobile platforms”.

From my understanding, it’s mobile devices that are driving the use of vector mapping frameworks as they are faster and more responsive than the raster-tiles of the maps that we’ve been used to, since Google Maps.

Or perhaps it’s games that is driving this change? Pokémon Go was built using Unity and just last week, Mapbox published a blog post on August 30th that begins..

Mantle, the game engine plugin for designing 3D maps in Unity, just leaked screenshots of its new 3D terrain and maps. Developers are no longer constrained to a limited geographic area, they can now import the entire world into the game…

The new plugin uses soon-to-be-released Mapbox tilesets specifically designed for gaming. These new tilesets contain compressed elevation data and building heights. Just like the the vector tiles that power Mapbox Streets they are super light for fast loading and updated minutely. As a city changes, levels can be updated from fresh data, letting developers model their own game environment based on the latest maps.

As the city changes, so will your game.

Maps have become game-changing.