New "WorldMap" Service

In a recent conversation I was having about some internet technologies, the subject turned to geographic reporting ... something I took a stab at awhile back in some of my geographic reports (like this one).  I had a couple of requests (literally 2, I think) that said I should open up the geographic reporting and offer some type of service.  So as my late-night project, I decided to do just that.

How does it work?  Basically, a user creates an account (free), and then embeds an image tag on their home page (or other page as desired).  The image is pulled from my server, which records the traffic and generates new maps.  An example map might look like this:



Alternatively, you can also use a hidden image or tracking pixel to ping the service; the idea being that you can record the activity without displaying a map, and/or display the map on a different page (such as an admin page).  There are also a bunch of sizes available (thumbnail up to a print-sized version), and a "no relief map" style that has a transparent background that looks like the image below.



The biggest challenge for this service is hardware, not software.  My resources are pretty limited in a shared hosting environment, but I think this will scale for awhile.  I'd like to get some of my blogging buddies to try this out for a bit. *nudge* *nudge*

There's a lot of potential in the idea (reporting and more user controlled settings, such as filtering and custom map sizes) but I figured I'd get the service out first, start harvesting data, and go from there.

So to get started, do the following:
1.  Create an account on this site  -- skip this step if you already have one.  It's easy, free, and spam-free.  Visit the registration page to get started.
2.  Visit the WorldMaps account page to setup/modify your account, and also get sample image tags to place on your site.  For more information, visit the WorldMaps info page.
3.  Place the image tags on your site as appropriate.
4.  Sit back and watch the show.   For performance reasons, there are some caching and offline processes to support the application, so maps are not drawn in realtime but should be very close.
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