jQuery has been around for over a decade now, enabling front-end developers and general web developers to create dynamic, interactive and fun libraries for extending the functionality of the web projects they are working on. In more ways than one, jQuery has been a godsend for manipulating the browser DOM, as well as enabling more fluid cross-browser and cross-device support for latest web technologies. The project is nowhere near complete, and a new jQuery 3.0 version was recently announced which has gone in a public BETA mode. The future of jQuery is looking very bright indeed.
With new platforms like React sweeping the developer nation, the developers themselves are beginning to recognize how React is slowly overtaking jQuery’s functionality in so many different ways, yet we cannot ignore the fact that jQuery is what changed the ecosystem of front-end development and even mobile development in many ways. Dion Almaer shares his thoughts on this in a compact Medium blog post.
The range of jQuery plugins and libraries has extended to support every aspect of modern web development, and here today we will be exploring the huge variety of jQuery Maps plugins — a specific set of libraries and plugins that focus on helping webmasters, developers, and engineers to better integrate interactive and bold maps widgets to help with location related tasks; showing maps, business locations and details, integrating world maps for interactivity, amongst other reasons that only you will be aware of. Knowing how to integrate Google Maps properly alone can bring so many different benefits to the experience of your website or application.
With platforms like Google Places in full swing now, businesses should focus on their maps widgets more than ever — they allow to establish context, interactivity and general information about your business and what it entails. We will be covering nearly 30 unique jQuery maps plugins for helping you to create the best maps experience on your website, without the need to invest in hiring developers and designers to do the work for you. We welcome any developers and programmers who have created their own jQuery libraries related to maps, to share those libraries in the comments for consideration of inclusion in this great roundup!
We begin our rundown with a simple Geolocation library from Chad Killingsworth. If you are building real-time apps that require to track the user’s geo location on the go, and you are working with the Google Maps API v3 — this is the library to get for creating a marker circle over each of the users locations as they interact with your map widgets in real-time. With the help of latest ES6 modules, this library will be a great help for those projects that expect users to interact with their maps in real-time, and need a way to ensure solid directions understanding.
Although slightly left behind project, Jochen Vandendriessche has built a very popular Responsive Google Maps library which will create a native Google Maps browsing and scrolling experience on all of your cross-device website experiences. You can learn more in-depth information about the capabilities of this plugin at Jochen’s official blog.
Each plugin serves a different, often specific, function. The WhatsNearby library will be extremely useful for websites (review sites the most perhaps) that need to showcase different types of activities, locations, and other stuff and then showcase other possible options within the same context around the area that others are exploring. For example we may want to display the nearest sports activities centers within a kilometers radius, with the exclusion of yoga studios, or vice versa. Will be an extremely useful plugin for sites in promotion field too.
Location Picker does exactly that, helps you to pinpoint a specific location on the Google Maps. You can choose to select single locations, but with the ability to extend the radius of your selection. The other feature of the plug-in is automatic address resolver which allows to get address line from the selected latitude and longitude. The plug-in also supports searching by address typed into the bound input element which uses auto-complete feature from Google API to make the search process easier. Shared with the community by Dmitry Berezovsky.
A very elegant library by Miloš Popović for pinpointing geo locations in simple and convenient style. Specify the longitude and latitude and the plugin will do rest of the work automatically.
In need of a solution for loading multiple locations on your maps at the same time, without the use of databases? Saul Burgos Davila has crafted a solution just for that, and he calls it the easyLocator. The main feature of easyLocator is to enable developers to load a spreadsheet file, or an array of data that consists of specific locations, and then execute that data on your Maps widget to outline all the necessary locations.
The Typeahead Address Picker is a quick solution for finding essential details about addresses on the fly. Type in the address you need more information about and click enter, then see the address being displayed on the maps, as well as an array output of the most essential information about that particular address.
Mapsed is a home-based (built for specific needs) jQuery project for managing Google Maps when users can select, and add custom places to their Google Maps. This makes it much easier to select your own favorite places, mark them, and then talk about them in the default Google Maps widget style. Can also be configured to function with a variety of maps that share the same web page space.
A modern state of the art jQuery library for utilizing the Google Maps features like Autocomplete for Places, and Geocoding for collecting location data. The library gives you a simple input form where you can look up locations through an autocomplete module, upon finding the address you can choose to display a dynamic map next to the address that will be extended with a more full list of the address details you are looking for.
Dimitris Krestos has carved up MapIt — an interactive and easy way for embedding and displaying Google Maps on your website. Apart from that feature, the other big features include the ability to specify different routes between locations, to mark several locations with different texts and different icons, specific events for handling markers and routes, and also full management over the appaerance of the maps themselves; colors, terrains, dimensions, zoom levels, etc,.
Photos are often embedded with solid GPS data, and sometimes we are in need of way to uncover this data for our own benefit or use, but what about doing this on a large scale? For such projects, the Useful Photo Map jQuery library is the perfect answer. It will help you to map out a folder of photos on a beautiful Map terrain to give you a broader understanding of where each pictures was taken.
Gmap3 is one of the oldest jQuery libraries still functioning that helps developers and designers to fully customize their Google Maps widgets on their websites. Whether it’s doing custom location events, marking places with custom texts and so forth, Gmap3 is a very extended solution for helping you to deal with all those at once.
jHERE is a powerful API solution for building the kind of interactive and dynamic maps that speak of your character and personality. Grab your own maps files and amplify them with extendable features that jHERE is here to offer.
While Google Maps and other similar services have paved the way for truly interactive map experiences, some industries (like bloggers, journalists, developers and designers) would rather rely on a service that provides its own maps upon which we can build the kind of interactivity we need. The Kartograph library consists of two different aspects — the first aspect lets you build SVG maps, while the other aspect lets you build upon these SVG maps to make them interactive with cross-browser support. Browse through the Kartograph’s homepage and explore the different demo’s offered.
Who needs traditional maps when you can build globes? Planetary.js is for helping developers and creatives to build effective Earth Globe simulations that can be amplified with custom events for more in-depth interaction between the user and the globe itself.
Premium jQuery Maps Plugins
Having taken a deeper glimpse at the best free jQuery map plugins, it’s time we explore a handful of premium map plugins that have helped thousands of webmasters to create a more personal and more modern maps experience. However we do not wish to say that any of these premium plugins can outweigh the functionality of all other plugins we have mentioned in the list, make an investment in one of the following plugins only if you feel that they can provide the kind of maps experience that you are actually looking for.
MapSVG takes any SVG map of your choosing and turns it into a fully interactive powerhouse. You get a range of features and options that will help you create your own static Google Maps experience, without the need of relying on external third party solutions.
Image Map Pro
Image Map Pro is for making maps out of your images. Image Map Pro comes with a fully featured web app to quickly create, edit and export your image maps. Using the app is super easy and a step-by-step guide is also included! Create, extend and talk about your images through widgets that can be used to discuss every single aspect of the images you ar sharing.