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September 09, 2010

Summary of mapping modules in Drupal

First off, here is how I'm currently mapping in Drupal:


GMap Module
Location Module
Plus: CCK, Views, CTools, Panels

The Location module supplies the ability to associate locations with nodes in (at least) two ways: 1) Node Location (similar to a Node Title) and 2) CCK Location Field. I use the CCK Location Field. Location also offers Views integration.

The GMap module (maintained by the same team as Location) adds Google Map interface capabilities to the Location and Views module.

I use GMap and Location to georeference nodes of the Institution and Research Site content types. Examples are here:

A View of the sites comprising our research site gazetteer. Note, I am using Jef Poskanzer's Clusterer to group sites.

Here is an example of a research site. The GMap shown is a View modified from that listed above. Basically, I added an NID argument (taken from the URL) to show only the given research site and a tiny GMap macro that autozooms and resizes the map.

I also associate an Institution with nodes of the Person content type and map them here. This is less functional, but it is cool to see where our visitors (researchers, faculty, students, others) come from.


Additional Modules

GMap Addons Module - allows overlay support for KML and other layers. Also, more baselayers. Same maintainer as GMap and Location (bdragon.)

Mapstraction Module - Integrates with Location and Geo Modules to allow the user to select any of a number of mapping services. Low usage numbers. Documentation here.

Geo Module - similar to Location but with support for lines and polygons. Perhaps more advanced in terms of loyalty to GIS principals?

Notes: there's an uncommitted patch for GMap to support polygons.

Geocode and Postal Modules have same maintainer as Geo Module (Allie Micka) and seem designed to extend that module.

OpenLayers Module - the non-proprietary version of the GMap Module? Seems to standalone (don't need Geo or Location.) In fact, integration with Location may not work. This video indicates that OpenLayers is more powerful but harder to use than Gmap. Can create polygons and lines via point and click map interface.

Posted by kkwaiser at September 9, 2010 09:42 AM


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