The Geometry Forum: Constructing Geometry on the Internet - sum95

Geometry Forum Summer Institute - July 9-15, 1995

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Daily Summary: Imagemaps
Wednesday, July 12, 1995

At about 5:00 p.m., the gang began to learn about imagemaps. You run across imagemaps on the World Wide Web. They look like pictures, and you can click on different areas of them to access different URLs. For instance, you might see a map of Africa, and when you click on Namibia you go to a page about Namibia, when you click on Egypt you go to a page about Egypt, and so forth :-).

We first chose an image to turn into an imagemap. The first thing you have to do is use a program that will mark the various "clickable" sections of your image and assign a URL to each area. Then you save a couple of files (one that's the image itself, one that's a text description that says what areas of the image take you to which URLs), and voilà!

Well, not quite. We ran into a couple of problems with the program that we used to map out the clickable areas in the image, not to mention the fact that we were getting pretty tired by then. But we persisted, and by six o'clock all of us had working clickable images in one form or another.

Another thing that we learned in this session is how to set up part of your Macintosh as an HTTP server so that people can access files on it through the WWW. Here's the detailed description: get the application "MacHTTP" and double click on it.

Neat, huh?

Steve Weimar commented that in most cases you don't want to use imagemaps, since they're slow to load and often aren't any more helpful in navigating than well-written HTML is. But in some cases, where the image actually adds understanding, an imagemap can be exactly what's called for. If you want people to investigate the vertices, edges, and faces of a geometric figure, an imagemap would be helpful in visualizing the chosen figure.

The key is knowing when to use an imagemap.

- Ken Williams

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July 1995