Q3 2013 was an exciting release for the Windows 8 Team here at Telerik. My colleague Tsvetina already highlighted the most notable new controls and features in our HTML and XAML suites and now I would like to draw your attention to one of the newest additions to the XAML controls family – RadMap for Windows 8/XAML.

So what is a map control and why would you need one?

A map control is a data visualization control whose primary purpose is to visualize spatial data from various sources either in a stand-alone form, or in the context of geo-imagery provided by an external service like Bing Maps. Note that the spatial content does not necessarily describe geographic information, but many different spatial scenarios can be accomplished with a map control as long as the data is described in a well-known format that the control understands. Having a map control at your disposal, you can put spatial information to a variety of uses, such as:
  • Analyze sales trends in areas on national or international level
  • Create map reports to represent geographic information instead of simple tabular or chart dashboards
  • Decide on a path to a particular destination in GPS navigation apps
  • Locate grocery stores POIs near to a given address
  • Create hotel floor plans or airplane / movie seating plans for booking applications

As it turns out many of you have already identified the necessity of such control for their Windows Store Apps so RadMap was actually the most requested new control in our feedback portal and naturally it became our top priority item for the Q3 2013 release! :)

After thorough research we decided to opt-out of trying to port our existing RadMap control for Silverlight / WPF directly and instead used the domain knowledge we accumulated through the years to build a solid control foundation that stands on four major pillars:

  • RadMap leverages Direct2D rendering to produce ultimate performance so your app can render thousands of shapes even on slower devices without compromising the rich user experience (the control is highly optimized for minimal memory consumption, too).

The total number of rendered points on this map is around 1,000,000 (one million!):

  • RadMap provides support for the popular ESRI Shapefile spatial data format both for visualizing geographic shapefiles, and for custom-drawn shapes like this one:

  • Fast rendering of beautiful shapes would still be of little value if you cannot convey the meaning of your underlying data so RadMap provides a powerful and versatile choropleth colorization mechanism (either pick a color and let the control create a palette of shades with different saturation for you, or define a custom color palette and range altogether), and the ability to mix and match shape layers with user-defined content so you can geographically position any FrameworkElement on the map surface.

  • Rich interactivity. Sometimes static content may suffice for an application but most of the time, especially for a Windows Store App, users would expect to interact with the application. RadMap comes with a variety of Behaviors, allowing for rich user experience through intuitive gestures for pan&zoom, shape selection, and context-sensitive tooltip visualization.

While the control is still in CTP stage, we are really happy with all the possibilities that are opening up and we would be glad to hear your feedback on our portal or in the public forums so we can shape RadMap into a complete mapping solution for Windows Store Apps. You can also play with the actual demos from the screenshots in our Telerik Controls Examples (XAML) App that is available for download in Windows Store. :)

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About the Author

Manol Donev

Technical Lead,
WinCore Team

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