[ka-Map-users] Future of ka-map?

Paul Spencer pspencer at dmsolutions.ca
Tue Jan 8 22:42:11 EST 2008

Hi ka-Mappers ... sorry for the delay in my response, I was taking a  
real vacation!

I feel, as the original author of much of ka-Map, that I should  
provide some sort of statement on this subject :)

As some people have mentioned in this thread, and in other  
discussions, ka-Map has not changed in more than a year, and was  
pretty stable before that for quite some time.  Folks are wondering  
whether it is going to receive any more attention from the developers  
and if they should consider it for an upcoming mapping project.

Originally, ka-Map was built as an example of how to solve a specific  
type of web-mapping problem, specifically to provide a more  
interactive navigation experience for applications which could live  
with the limitations of rendering tiles into a cache.  We made it  
available under an open source license in the hopes of attracting a  
community of users and developers who could move the project forward  
in a cooperative way.  Early on, we did succeed in gaining the support  
of quite a few users and some key developers, including Lorenzo,  
Andreas, Tim, and others.  However, we never did succeed in  
establishing an effective community-driven mechanism for controlling  
the vision and direction of the project.  So once the project reached  
a point where it solved the pains of the developers involved, it  
stopped progressing.  A lack of leadership, vision and direction in  
the project has essentially stopped further development.

When OpenLayers was released, the surface similarity between  
OpenLayers and ka-Map seemed to indicate that some sort of merger  
between the projects would be desirable.  In the end, though, the two  
projects had sufficiently different goals and design principles that a  
direct merger didn't seem to be the right way to go.  Instead, it was  
felt that ka-Map could incorporate OpenLayers to manage the client- 
side tiling stuff, while retaining the relatively simple configuration  
stuff that makes it very easy to use with mapserver to set up new  
applications ... and retaining the UI developed by Lorenzo.  While a  
great idea in principle, this never actually got done.  Why?  Well, to  
be honest, I don't think that making this change was important to any  
of the developers on the project.  First of all, ka-Map already did  
everything that they needed it to do for its developers, so there was  
no incentive to make the change.  Second, most of the developers of ka- 
Map had already become involved in OpenLayers separately and were  
starting to use and develop it independently of ka-Map ... again, no  
incentive to work on ka-Map when they had a workable alternative.

Active open source developers are a rare commodity, usually with  
limited time, and they tend to gravitate to projects that both  
interest them and provide a healthy environment for them to contribute  
in.  I think OpenLayers has done a much better job of setting up this  
type of environment, and so it is attracting a lot of development  

For me personally, OpenLayers solves my problem as an application  
developer because I can use ka-Map tiles or TileCache or WMS or any  
number of other data sources easily, and I am comfortable doing a bit  
more work in javascript to get the application set up.  A lot of  
'cool' stuff is happening in the OpenLayers project, and it has an  
active, supportive development community that I enjoy being a part  
of.  So I'm spending my time trying to support and advance that  
project rather than ka-Map.

The future of ka-Map really depends on whether someone with some  
energy and vision assumes some leadership for the project and is able  
to generate some enthusiasm to move it forward in some way.  At this  
point, I really don't see much happening with it.  And I can't really  
imagine a situation where it would be significantly easier or more  
advantageous to use ka-Map over OpenLayers, although ka-Map may have  
some quite minor advantages due to its server-side pieces that  
OpenLayers does not directly have.  But there are projects like  
MapFish that are providing the server-side links and building on  
OpenLayers on the client side, so that it starting to change too.

If there are folks out there that are really interested in ka-Map and  
want to be involved, I encourage you to come forward and take a  
leadership role in the project.



On 8-Jan-08, at 6:02 AM, Roman Meier wrote:

> Hi
> The first time I saw a ka-map application, I was very much  
> impressed. To
> navigate a map "continuously" is definitely one of the main reasons,  
> why I have
> decided to develop my prototype based on ka-map.
> I share your opinion that ka-map is quite cool. That’s why I don’t  
> really
> understand why the code is not moving “forward”. I still miss  
> functions like
> “SmartZoom” and “International Character Support”. Are there plans  
> to add
> these?
> Greetings
> Roman
> Quoting Alessio Di Lorenzo <alessio.dilorenzo at gmail.com>:
>> Hi Roman,
>> I share your own worries about the developing of new ka-map versions
>> (and interfaces). While similar project (but, imho, less
>> interesting...), like pmapper, are continuing to release new  
>> versions,
>> ka-map appear to be freezed to the 1.0 by months...
>> I'm quite sure there's a good reason. Ka-map is for me, actually, the
>> best mapserver php-mapscript framework. Fore example, nore of the  
>> other
>> frameworks I saw, even if using ajax, offers to the users the
>> possibility to navigate a map "continuosly" like in google maps (open
>> layers gives this possibility... but ol is another thing...) and it  
>> is a
>> very appreciated possibility by the end-users. I know it for sure...
>> Some months ago I read something about the idea to merge OL and Ka- 
>> map,
>> but at the moment I have no new information about (my fault). In the
>> last days I read also something about the integration of routing
>> functionalities thanks to pgroute, but I don't know if this could be
>> related with the releasing of new ka-map versions.
>> Alessio
>> Roman Meier ha scritto:
>>> Hi list
>>> I developed a prototype based on ka-map about one year ago. At  
>>> that time I
>> was
>>> very much convinced that ka-map is a great product with a great  
>>> future. I’m
>> not
>>> that sure again.
>>> A few days ago I did some research on ka-map and I’m a little bit  
>>> worried
>> about
>>> the future of ka-map. It seams, that ka-map is not developed  
>>> again. Since
>>> almost one year we still have the same first release. I also found  
>>> some
>> info
>>> about the merge of openlayers and ka-map.
>>> Some days ago, a client asked me, if I could do some changes to the
>> prototype I
>>> developed. Before I do that, I must know, if the ka-map project  
>>> has come to
>> an
>>> end or not. Should I better switch to another similar project?
>>> Thanks in advance for your opinion!
>>> Roman
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> ka-Map-users mailing list
>>> ka-Map-users at lists.maptools.org
>>> http://lists.maptools.org/mailman/listinfo/ka-map-users
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|Paul Spencer                          pspencer at dmsolutions.ca    |
|Chief Technology Officer                                         |
|DM Solutions Group Inc                http://www.dmsolutions.ca/ |

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