Facebook has become a global phenomenon that has captured the imagination on millions across the world. With the increase in the popularity of the social networking site, the number of friends one has on one’s list has also increased exponentially. Let us deal with a scenario where one would like to locate each of his/her friends on a map of the globe. This could be because one wants to learn more about the person, perhaps study his/her culture or it could be out of sheer curiosity to study a visual representation of how wide and varied one’s friend circle can be. This is where the beauty and utility of a flash map comes in.
Take for example a map of the world and start plotting one’s friends by location. This function on Facebook is called ‘friend mapping’ and is the perfect example of one of the innovative uses of a visual map. If one plots one’s location at point A and then uses pin points to plot one’s friends all over the world, then we can draw lines from each of the points to point A illustrating perfectly the incredible network that it creates. In addition to this one can draw connecting lines between common friends showing exactly how varied and complicated and interconnected one actually is.
In addition to simply plotting friend locations across the globe, the use of flash maps for friend mapping gives us the option of using the drill-down feature on a tool-tip function to add user details such as profession or interests or any such information to then create an entire database of information on a map. Take for examples the birthdays of each of your friends and then plot them on each location-wise point on the map. Once that is done and color-coded according to people sharing the same birthday, it becomes very simple to keep track of these dates and also makes a fantastic map of information that is both important as well as fascinating.
Adding to this option of mapping friends, one can also add pictures to each of the points which will lead to a drop-down box on a mouse over function which gives on a visiting card with information such as name, location and possibly also occupation. This information is not only useful and interesting to the user but is also of great utility to the administrators of Facebook as well.
Visual maps have not only revolutionized the way we look at a map but has given us an endless number of options with regard to how we look at data and the analytical variations that we can come up with. Startlingly easy to create and understand, mapping software such as the one used by Facebook heralds the beginning of a new age in IT.
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