Live Data is a MapsAlive feature that lets a tour get its content from a server in real-time. It allows you to:
- Display up-to-the-minute-information without having to re-publish your tour
- Manage your content on your server instead of in your tour
Live Data works by making server requests to obtain information from a web service. This Live Data documentation provides lots of examples and sample code to help you evaluate and try using Live Data to determine if it's something you want to use.
For examples of maps that use Live Data see:
- Live Data weather map on the MapsAlive website
- Live Data population map in this user guide
The Live Data feature is included in the Plus and Pro Plans
When to Use Live Data¶
Use Live Data when your hotpot content changes frequently and/or is maintained remotely.
Frequently changing content is information that changes often enough that it makes more sense to request it from a server each time someone views your map instead of storing the content in the tour and having to update and re-publish the tour whenever the content changes.
Remotely maintained content is information that is stored and maintained remotely such as content that is kept in a CSV file or a database. Whether or not that content changes frequently, requesting the data from a server, instead of storing it in the tour, eliminates the need to keep the tour's content in sync with the remote content.
In both cases, by using Live Data you:
- Don't need to use the Tour Builder to update hotspot content
- Don't need to re-publish the tour when information changes
- Don't need to re-upload the tour to your server (if you host the tour)
A server request is a request for information made by your map to a server that is located somewhere on the internet. The requested information is what you want the map to display when a user selects a hotspot.
Live Data provides two kinds of server requests. Click the links below for detailed information about each kind.
Throughout this Live Data documentation, the terms "content" and "data" have the following meanings:
- Content is HTML or plain text that can be displayed as-is for a hotspot's content.
- Data is information in a format such as JSON or XML that cannot be displayed as hotspot content until it has been converted to HTML.
MapsAlive provides everything you need to make server requests and handle responses. If you can meet the technical requirements needed to use Live Data, you'll find that it is both powerful and easy to use. This user guide provides lots of examples and sample code to help you get started.
A web service is software on a server that returns data in response to a Live Data request. The software is often referred to as a script and is written in a scripting language appropriate for the server. The script receives a Live Data request from your map and responds with the requested data. Live Data requests use the HTTP protocol that is supported universally on the internet.
You must provide the web service that your Live Data tours use. To help you evaluate and get started using Live Data, MapsAlive provides a demo web service that you can use for evaluation and testing purposes.
It is possible to use Live Data without a web service. See the No Web Service demo tour to learn how.
If you use another scripting language, the examples can serve as a guide for coding your own scripts in other languages.