This is the first of a series of posts about SMIL. This post will be an overview and the later one will be more technical.
SMIL (SharePoint Map Integration Layer) is an open source project with the aim to geo-enable SharePoint. After all, almost all information has a location, almost 94% according to some. So geo-enable SharePoint makes sense. SMIL takes advantages of all the juicy stuff in SharePoint, document management, images, versioning, workflows etc and adds a geo-layer above SharePoint.
Each list that contains geographical information, i e has SMILs custom datafield, are exposed via GeoRss-feeds. Also, the list is per default a group in a layer panel and each view in SharePoint a layer in the layer panel. There are many advantages with this approach since any SharePoint administrator or power user can build, and customize views, and filtering data from SharePoint.
After installation, the next blog post, you have SMIL running you can easily geo-tag any document, issue, task. For example you can start planning issues according to where they are and how an issue is in geographical relationship with issue. Or you might have resource planning tool in SharePoint and you want to know where things are. Do you have a lot of contracts for real estates - you can add them on a map. There are many applications and people tend to like maps!
List and List Items
In order to geo-reference list items in SharePoint all you have to do is to add a column with the custom data field, SMIL.Coordiante to a list. Then you can just start to add push pins to represent the location of the item or you can search for a location. If you view the item, the map is still interactive but you cannot move the pushpin, you need to edit the SharePoint item to do that – standard SharePoint.
As mentioned SMIL using SharePoint filtering to filter data, but you can select surrounding information in SharePoint from a selected item in a map, if you have connected the Web Part to a corresponding List View Web Part. Each item has an info box on the map displaying metadata from that item inte SharePoint and you can change the view to get more or less information of that item. The idea is to have a short description view and a detailed view.
SMIL also extract EXIF information from geo-tagged images and plot thumbnails on the map. If you don’t have a camera that stores coordinates along with the EXIF information you can just geo-reference them in SharePoint just as with any other list item, by using SMIL’s default geo-referencing tool.