Google Maps API
The Google Maps API allows users to populate data on maps powered by Google. Google provides an API where a wide variety of settings and technology implementations can be used.
This certainly brings a huge potential when using museum and archaeology data. For example Europeana provides latitude and longitude coordinates as part of their data model. In order for me to use this, I started playing with some visualisation tools in gMaps.
Styling the Map
The first thing I had to learn was to apply styles to the map. This is quite straightforward, especially using a styler assistant such as the Google Maps Style Wizard. This will generate the JSon so you can just apply it on your map. Moreover, there are repositories where the community deposits their own designs and colour schemes so you can just implement them on your map. Snazzy Maps is a good place to start.
I also had to learn how to place markers and icons on the map. For this, instead of using the classic gMaps marker, I generated my own set of 8bit icons. I used Illustrator and exported them as .png format.
Use Some GeoData
Finally I started using some geoData and placing the markers in the map. For this I used a map that contained information about textile designers of indigenous Mayan communities from Chiapas. I created arrays of info and coordinates according to their ethnic group.
Each one of the arrays contain each ethnic group. The rest was just repeating the same process until I had them all organised into colour-groups.
The next step is to “auto-populate” the gMaps coordinates automatically from the Europeana database.