- Top of Page
OF THE INVENTION
Computerized online mapping systems are becoming increasingly popular for mapping locations requested by a user. These Internet websites for mapping are useful for mapping a requested location, for example. These websites typically allow a user to input a query of a requested location so that a map associated with the requested location may be provided to the user.
As another example, these mapping websites facilitate travel planning. The user may enter a start point and an end point for travel, which are then used to calculate and provide travel directions to the user. Travel directions may include the routes to take and an estimated time for arrival.
These types of mapping systems require a user interface for a user to enter in a request for a map, and an interface where the map is provided for displaying to the requesting user.
A general user interface 100 for a mapping website is illustrated in FIG. 1. The user may enter in the address of the desired location as a request in an entry box 100. As shown, a user has entered a desired location of 425 Market St., San Francisco, Calif. 94105. After entering the desired location to be mapped, as shown in FIG. 1, the user then requests a map (typically from a remote server) by selecting a button for submitting the request to a map server 104. A map image is then typically generated at the remote server, transmitted to the user's computing device, and eventually displayed on the web browser user interface in a map display web page 106.
The map image may be composed of map tiles that are pre-generated. Typically, pre-generated map tiles fall into the categories of; vector/text tiles for roads/names/POI; rastor images (e.g., satellite images); and transparent overlays (e.g., roads over a satellite image).
In a mapping system, generally the same type, or category, of pre-generated map tiles are used. For example, the same vector style is used for maps of San Francisco and maps of New York or London. In this way, the initial generation of a map is simpler for the presentation of information such as roads.
However, a user may often want more information displayed in the map than the information of the pre-generated map tile. For example, if the user is interested in viewing more information, such as walking paths, in the requested map location, the desired information may no be available. Furthermore, if a map tile is pre-generated to include other desired information, the contextual focus of the map becomes confusing and difficult to comprehend.
Therefore, it is important to recognize different users may want to view maps for different purposes, thus requiring other significant information in a map associated with the desired purpose.
For example, a user who drives a car for commuting may care about road directions, road classes, and road restrictions. In another example, a user who enjoys walking around town may desire information associated with points of interest, walking paths, places to sit, places to eat, etc.
Therefore, methods and systems for providing customized map tiles are desired.
- Top of Page
OF THE INVENTION
In accordance with embodiments of the present invention, a method for customizing a map is provided. The method includes receiving a query for a portion of a map, and determining a predetermined region of interest (ROI) map tile included in the portion of the map. The predetermined ROI map tile indicates information associated with a category. The method further includes providing the predetermined ROI map tile for displaying to a user.
Further, in accordance with embodiments of the present invention, a computer-readable medium encoded with executable instructions for customizing a map is provided. The instructions include instructions for receiving a query for a portion of a map, and determining a predetermined region of interest (ROI) map tile included in the portion of the map. The predetermined ROI map tile indicates information associated with a category. The instructions further include instructions for providing the predetermined ROI map tile for displaying to a user.
Moreover, in accordance with embodiments of the present invention, an apparatus for customizing maps is provided. The apparatus includes a movement event processor for receiving a query for a portion of a map, and a Region of Interest (ROI) selector for determining a predetermined region of interest (ROI) map tile included in the portion of the map. The predetermined ROI map tile indicates information associated with a category. The apparatus further includes a map tile layout generator for providing the predetermined ROI map tile for displaying to a user.
Other features and aspects of the invention will become apparent from the following detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings which illustrate, by way of example, the features in accordance with embodiments of the invention. The summary is not intended to limit the scope of the invention.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
- Top of Page
FIG. 1 illustrates a general user interface for a user to request a map;
FIG. 2 illustrates a flowchart of a method for providing customized regional maps to a user according to embodiments of the invention;
FIG. 3 illustrates a system for providing customized regional maps according to embodiments of the invention;
FIG. 4 illustrates an example of a map including portions that are associated with pre-generated region-of-interest map tiles according to embodiments of the invention;
FIG. 5 illustrates an example of a customized map including region-of-interest map tiles according to embodiments of the invention; and
FIG. 6 illustrates a block diagram of a computing system according to embodiments of the invention.
In the following description, reference is made to the accompanying drawings which form a part thereof, and which illustrate several embodiments of the present invention. It is understood that other embodiments may be utilized and structural and operational changes may be made without departing from the scope of the present invention. The use of the same reference symbols in different drawings indicates similar or identical items.
- Top of Page
OF THE INVENTION
The following description is presented to enable any person of ordinary skill in the art to make and use the invention. Descriptions of specific materials, techniques, and applications are provided only as examples. Various modifications to the examples described herein will be readily apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art, and the general principles defined herein may be applied to other examples and applications without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Thus, the present invention is not intended to be limited to the examples described and shown.
According to embodiments of the invention, map tiles for specific regions of interest are provided. This provides an extended set of map tile styles customized for specific usage cases, such as map tiles that show specific features of interests. These customized map tiles are described as Region of Interest (ROI) map tiles.
As opposed to overlaying the features of interest on top of a base map tile that may already show many other features or information, some of which may be extraneous information for a user with a specific interest, according to embodiments of the invention, a separate set of map tiles (ROI map tiles) showing the features of interest are generated. In this way, the ROI map tiles can be swapped for the base tiles corresponding to the same location.
A bounding latitude/longitude box of a ROI map tile is already known. Similarly, the zoom ranges used in a mapping system are also known. This allows the ROI map tiles to be pre-generated in any pre-determined ROI style.
In contrast to map systems that overlay information over base map tiles, because the bounding latitude/longitude box of the ROI map tiles are known, the system can derive the map portion associated with each ROI map tile. Therefore, if the requested map portion includes a ROI map tile, then it can be provided to the user. The front end server may periodically query the back end server to determine if ROI map tiles are associated with the requested map portion.
By customizing maps in this way, source data needed for generation of map tiles does not need to be communicated to the client browser. For example, latitude/longitude information is not known to the browser.
This makes it possible for browsers of different complexities to be able to display customized maps to users, e.g., displaying a customized map to a user on a mobile phone browser or at a desktop computer browser.