Presentation of Geographical Data Online Using an Interactive Flash Map

A clickable interactive map enables website visitors to get related information about a particular geographical location visually.

Flash interactive maps are replacing conventional image maps due to the fact that they not only offer more information, but also are highly interactive with the user.

Traditional image maps often only use static images and HTML code, are very basic and offer simple point and click function only. With flash interactive maps, users can get instantly relevant information about any part of a map he desires to see, with mouseover tooltip boxes, clickable points, regions, and also zooming functions which enable users to zoom in and out of the map to pinpoint a specific location or get further data on it.

There are various applications for flash interactive maps on the web, such as showing maps of a country, city or particular location, displaying demographic data, census data, branch office interactive maps, street maps, pretty much anything that can be mapped out.

As Flash is getting more and more popular and supported by most browsers on different OS platforms, webmasters have started embracing this technology more often, particularly due to the highly interactive nature and its ease of use.

For webmasters who do not have Adobe Flash programming, there are also interactive map software and creation tools available, for generating and presenting data graphically using interactive maps, with extremely simple learning curve.

Before you start creating an interactive map, you should firstly decide what kind of maps you want to create.

Many map making software come with pre-designed map templates for major countries of the world, as well as states maps (e.g. the 50 states in the US), postcode maps and county maps. If the map you are going to create is very geographically specific (e.g. your local town, suburb, floor plan of a local hospital, or shopping mall), it is unlikely to find a pre-designed template. In such case you could import a standard image file (in jpg/png or gif format) of your custom map, and convert it into your very own customized interactive flash map.

As most websites attract visitors globally and might have geographical specific information for different parts of the world, flash maps are truly a helpful navigation and data presentation tool not to be missed or disregarded.

Having such a flash map on a website is modern and presents a professional image to the visitor. Imagine that a visitor from Europe is landing to your website and is interested in getting additional information about your location in the United States. He will not only be able to see the state you are in, but also the city, within the city he can pinpoint with accuracy your exact location, and if you have created maps of your actual office with hotspots around interesting places, he will have a truly unique online virtual experience that will ensure his return over and over again!

5 Tips for Selecting a Presentation Skills Workshop

If you are interested in improving your presentation skills, one route is the workshop. You would be amazed at the transformation possible; however, it is important to understand that not all workshops are alike. In this article, I list the 5 things you should look for if you are serious about improving your skills in public speaking and having several opportunities to present your material in front of an audience.

    1. Look for a course in which you will be video-recorded. Video-recording is one of the best tools for seeing and hearing yourself in action. Too often, how we think we look and sound and how we really look and sound are not the same thing. Video tells a lot more truth about you than any other medium. While it may seem daunting at first, you should most definitely take advantage of this tool.
    2. Check to see that the class size is limited to 10 to 12 participants maximum. Very small groups are most important in a practical course such as this. Yes, sitting amongst an audience of 250 is fine if you are primarily listening to speakers, but in this case, size of group and recording potential really do matter. The larger group, the less individual attention. Larger groups also mean less participation by each individual.
    3. Will the course be covering the personal introduction? As a people, our personal introduction skills often take on the quality of a Valley Girl. As simple as it may seem, the personal intro is the most overlooked of the various forms of presentation. If you can deliver a dynamic summary about you and/or your business, you will find all other aspects of public speaking that much easier.
    4. While many courses cover the informative or persuasive presentation, check to see if the impromptu is being offered. As frightening as this may sound, the impromptu is an excellent exercise, teaching you to think on your feet: having that experience will serve you well in your future, not only when addressing an audience but when you are speaking extemporaneously to prospective clients, employers, employees, and your colleagues.
    5. How will the course handle your nervousness? If they plan to tell you to stare at something on the wall or look above the heads of your listeners, beware! This is not the advice you should be seeking. Nor is imagining your audience sitting in their underwear a comforting thought for most people! Find out exactly how they plan to deal with your nervousness. While it may be man’s greatest fear, it need not be yours if you learn the best ways of dealing with it!

In my next article, I will be discussing 5 Tips for Selecting a Voice & Presentation Skills Workshop.

Presentations That Sell – Seven Fatal Flaws and How to Fix Them – Part 6

Most business presentations are intended to persuade, inform, motivate or entertain. Some are meant strictly to sell — which means they must persuade, inform, motivate and yes, entertain.

No matter what your purpose is, if you want your audience to sit up and take notice, you’ll need to stop reading a script from from the screen. The reason is simple:reading interferes with the listeners’ ability to connect with you. And it’s that connection that allows you to persuade, inform, motivate and entertain.

If you want your audience to hear what you have to say, they need to focus on you — and that means you must avoid the 6th fatal flaw.

You read your script from the screen.

True, your eleven year old nephew may be a wizard at playing a computer game while listening to rap and doing his homework, but few adults are capable of that sort of cognitive multi-tasking. Our adult brains are selective — paying attention to only one cognitive task at a time. We have learned to focus on a single “thinking track” and tune out everything else.

As soon as you start reading, I stop listening. In fact, I start reading too. But when you read aloud, you read more slowly than I do as I read to myself. I begin to get irritated with the dissonance. My irritation often escalates to annoyance, at which point, I may start looking for mistakes in the text — to prove to myself that my annoyance is well-founded.

If I am a detail person, I may identify lack of parallelism in the lists you have on screen, or find grammatical errors, or points you have missed or muddled. I begin to ask questions that throw you off your flow. I shuffle in my seat and start writing my shopping list.

And that’s not all. The instant you start reading, you stop looking at me. If I look at you, I receive nothing in return and I lose that nice human connection I was hoping to find with you.

Like all potential buyers, I know you are not the only vendor in the marketplace. And when all is said and done, I am looking for a “friend in the business” which means I need to feel a connection with you to find you likeable. If you and I can’t make eye contact, either because your eyes are focused elsewhere or because I am now deeply engrossed in editing your written work, I may begin to feel that I am trapped in an airless room listening to a robot read.

Presentation is a performance. That doesn’t mean you are pretending or deceiving or feigning interest. It does mean you are playing a role –the role of friendly, trustworthy advisor. And it’s your job to keep my attention. It’s your job to be likable — because people buy from people they like.

When you insist on reading endless screens of dense and deadly text, I lose interest. I don’t like you and you lose. When your screen highlights a keyword or two, or when it enhances your performance with a clever or creative touch, I am free to focus on you — so I am persuaded, informed, motivated or entertained.

P.S. In the next article, find out more about the fatal flaws you must avoid and profit from it.