BBC Bangladesh River Journey

Been lending a hand to Brighton local web developers Dharmafly with a project for the BBC World Service, Bangladesh River Journey, Charting the course of climate change. World Service reporters from 17 different language services are joining the journey, tracking the effects of climate change in Bangladesh — historically flooding year after year, and extremely vulnerable to raising sea levels and extreme weather. It was fun to work these guys, their focus is on Ethical Web Development, and Dharmafly pulled together a nice package of services, including a few cool hacks, to pull this off.

There’s very live coverage of the journey. The reporters are taking photos on flickr and posting updates on twitter. Of course, it’s all on a Google Map. One really nice geekity are locations reported from the field via location nanoformats, ala twittervision. There’s GeoRSS, microformats, and an API (dharmafly has more on this on their blog).

It’s interesting to ponder that with the relaunch of FireEagle, and perhaps some extensions to Pipes, the majority of the backend which brings together twitter, flickr, and their blog, with geographical ordering, could be developed without a server, on web native platforms.

Notice anything unusual in this screenshot? This is what I spent a good chunk of my time on…


That GMaps InfoWindow has escaped the bounds of the Google Map. The map area we had within the template is on the small side, so to take full advantage of the space we developed a CustomBalloon class, which steals the InfoWindow from Google Maps, and places it in the main DOM and takes over all the positioning. So it’s a freed infowindow, in the familiar Google Maps style.

It’s a nice little, useful hack. And it gave me a new appreciation for the humble GInfoWindow. Google is doing some very clever things there, just take a look at the single image used to construct all elements of an GInfoWindow. CSS based masking and positioning are employed so that only a single image download is required.