In September 2018, ALK will replace ALL image map tiles served to customers of ALK Maps. Overall, the transition will be seamless for existing customers. Users will see changes in the map styles, but nothing too drastic. No code updates will be needed and no existing apps will “break” because of this.
Below are examples of the types of changes you can anticipate.
The overall impact of the changes should be a more polished, detailed, and accurate portrayal with a focus on transportation without sacrificing other elements.
New styles have been created to replace the old style set. The old style names will still work; they will just be mapped to the new styles. You will note that in some cases we were able to craft a single new style to replace multiple similar styles in the current release. A new “basic” style has been created which presents a balanced general purpose view.
**NOTE: The basic style is not yet available.
More Detailed Water
The shapes and labels of the water and other physical geography have been improved. You will see an increase in the detail and the accuracy.
Building footprints have been added in many areas.
Footpath have been added in many areas.
Retail areas and malls have been added as shaded places of interest.
New County Labels
County labels have also been added.
More Administrative Division Labels
Previously, state and country labels were only available at zoom levels 0 to 4. We now have those, and the new County labels, available at all zoom levels. Visibility is determined by label density/collision and controlled by style (see Label Filtering).
Improved Points of Interest
Additional points of interest (POIs) have been added as shaded polygons. Labeling of points of interest has also improved.
Previously, sections of highway where different U.S. Highways overlap or intersect resulted in stretched shields. Sections with more than two designations or where they were of different types resulted lost or hidden information. With this update, new shields have been added to account for each designation, resolving these problems.
Better Label Density Controls
It is always a balancing act between displaying enough detail and too much. The new styles are more thoughtful about how many labels are displayed and how they are displayed. The result is a more refined readable map.
New and Improved Railroads
A new, more accurate, data source for railroads has been added resulting in a more true representation of railroads and stations.
Wooded areas are now being identified with a new texture.