How Many Plug-ins for Mapping?

Northern Illinois University recently updated its online virtual tour of campus. Apparently, that’s one of the “in” ways for potential students to check out campus. That’s all good. What interested me was the front page of the tour. It noted that to take full advantage one needed 4 players or readers: Flash, Adobe Reader, QuickTime and the Active CGM plug-in. They are for interactive maps, printable maps, movies, and Web maps respectively. Do surfers know the difference between an interactive map and a Web map? And, why, in this day in age do we need a separate plug-in to print? I’m aware that many Web mapping applications have a tough time with printed output, though I’m not sure why, exactly. The other interesting point, I think, is that the first three plug-ins are likely to be on the computers of potential students and even their parents. Active CGM just doesn’t have that type of widespread use and I’ll offer, never will.

Published Tuesday, March 29th, 2005

Written by Adena Schutzberg

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