Telcontar Unveils Framework and Fluid Maps for AJAX Environments

Unique Open Framework for Browser-Based Mapping Applications Addresses Barriers to Developing and Implementing High-Performance, 'Draggable' Maps

SAN JOSE, Calif., May 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Telcontar, the leading supplier of software and services for the Location-Based Services (LBS) industry, today announced the availability of a comprehensive application programming interface (API), which will allow developers to more easily develop and implement innovative mapping solutions.

The API provides a new, open architecture for browser-based mapping and local search applications in AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript + XML) environments. Built on the trusted, scalable technology of Telcontar's Drill Down Server (DDS) geospatial software platform, the offering operates either behind a firewall or through the company's Hosted Web Services capability.

"There is an increasing trend to enhance user experience utilizing fluid or 'draggable' maps in AJAX and browser-based applications," said J. Kim Fennell, president and CEO of Telcontar. "The tools and platforms available to application developers have been lagging behind the cutting-edge of these new applications. Telcontar's offering delivers powerful tools that ease the design hurdles and enables customers to get to market sooner."

AJAX mapping applications are rapidly replacing traditional "click-and- wait" applications for web-based map, local search, driving directions and other map-centric applications. AJAX is a combination of techniques that leverages the ability for the web browser to communicate with web servers in the background. New information is displayed as it is received without the need to reload the entire web page, translating into a more responsive interface and "desktop-like" application look and feel.

Developers tasked with building AJAX mapping applications are faced with many daunting challenges:

    -- Developing JavaScript that is portable across browsers
    -- Managing asynchronous XML communication with the server
    -- Designing a client architecture for loading new map tiles on demand
    -- Managing map tiles in the context of spatial operations like panning
       and zooming
    -- Architecting a scalable server environment capable of coping with
       massive load differentials compared to a traditional map application
    -- Designing a map that is differentiated from the competition and with a
       look-and-feel that represents the provider's brand
    -- Overlaying route geometry and points of interest for both screen and
       print operations
    -- Efficiently handling poor user address input including typos, wrong
       postal codes and non-existent street addresses.

The centerpiece of Telcontar's API is the powerful new TileGrid element that extends Telcontar's DDS Web Services Map Portrayal service. By adding this element, the URL for each tile in a web-based map tile grid that can be retrieved using a single XML query. Each URL is a set of query parameters that allow the tiles to be rendered just in time, unlike other web-based map tiling systems that pre-render, store and cache every tile at every zoom level for the entire geographic coverage. Telcontar's approach has tremendous advantages such as dramatically reducing deployment costs and simplifying the JavaScript code for functions critical to a fluid user experience like panning smoothly, overlaying points of interest and routes and zooming at arbitrary levels.

This just-in-time tile rendering also provides support for multiple map "styles" which can be changed on the fly instantly producing a very different look and feel of the map. An AJAX application can present the user with a choice of styles which can range from functional (selecting a map style with high contrast and low feature density to facilitate printing) to highly stylized (matching a unique and colorful corporate identity) to humorous (making the map look like an "ancient" map of Middle Earth). Telcontar's DDS offers almost limitless customizability of map color scheme, label placement, feature density at different zoom levels, etc. allowing any organization to customize a look that supports its brand.

In addition, Telcontar's API boasts an advanced freeform address parser that is tolerant of typographical errors with regard to punctuation and style of address. Users now expect to enter an address in a single line without tabbing over separate "street", "city" and "postal code" fields. The DDS Web Services geocoder excels at handling a variety of input formats and provides robust handling of typical user errors such as streets without a street address and wrong postal codes. The geocoder also handles multiple 'locales', meaning that each address can include not only a country code but also a language code. It currently supports nine North American and European countries in five languages; other locales are continually being added.

The framework also has features which minimize client-server communication and client-side code to significantly enhance the responsiveness of the web applications. DDS Web Services XML schema has been carefully crafted to minimize the amount of JavaScript coding while providing cross-browser support for Internet Explorer, Mozilla/Firefox and others.

Qualified developers can download documentation, full-featured sample code and a technical white paper by signing up to the Telcontar Developer Zone at

About Telcontar

Telcontar provides the enabling geospatial software platform that powers today's leading location-based applications. The company specializes in providing solutions ideal for Internet, mobile, and telematics applications where scalability, speed, and reliability are vital. Its Drill Down Server(R) geospatial software platform and Rich Map Engine powers today's most successful and widely deployed LBS applications. Telcontar customers and technology partners include AND, Appello, Ask, ATX, Google, Hutchison Mobile, Local Matters, Motorola, NAVTEQ, Networks In Motion, Pharos, Rand McNally, Tele Atlas, and Yahoo!. Telcontar is privately held and headquartered in San Jose, California with international offices in the UK, France and Hong Kong. Additional information about Telcontar, its products and services, and past press releases can be found at the Company's web site: and Drill Down Server are trademarks or registered trademarks of Telcontar in the United States and/or other countries. All other product or company names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.

CONTACT: media, Erin Lumley of MSR Communications, +1-415-989-9000, or
Email Contact, for Telcontar; or Robert Young, Director,
Marketing Communications of Telcontar, +1-408-625-3567, or
Email Contact

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