Microsoft’s Silverlight-based Local Impact Map
This is an interesting new web application form Microsoft for a few reasons. First, the reason for its existence:
The Local Impact Map presents over 500 stories about the positive impact of local programs supported by Microsoft around the world.
Exploring the world via this application allows you to discover just how many programs are in effect. A few of the stories include photos and videos providing a more visual feel for the activity.
The experience overall, designed and developed by Stimulant, is interesting and easy to use. I particularly like their use of Deep Zoom for the Map. This is not your typical free mouse-wheelin’ usage where you can zoom all the way into the Pacific Ocean and get lost. Instead they’re taking advantage of Deep Zoom’s large image loading functionality along with the zoom for controlled transitions. They’re also providing custom overlays for data visualization the scale smoothly with the map image.
Its also worth noting their complete bookmark and history support. The Back button is functional when navigating through the app and very state is bookmarkable, exemplified by the custom “snapshots” functionality at the bottom.