Bringing external data into your 3D application significantly enhances user experience, increases application value, and reduces development time. Showing your client a nifty 3D animation may not sell your product, but telling him that he can change it himself and won't need your help after the product is completed will seal the deal. But chances are he'll need you again, for a follow-up project. And you'll be able to develop software more rapidly using external data sources as opposed to hard-coding your applications.
PV3D wasn't built to be data-driven; you've got to add the data piece in yourself. In this chapter you discover how to do this through a series of examples ranging from building an XML planetarium to a MySQL 3D Google Maps updater. Using the Flex data wizard, you find out how you can automatically generate PHP code, which you use to make server requests. Even though the emphasis in this chapter is on using PHP, the techniques that you learn can be easily extended to ASP.NET, Java, and ColdFusion.
You start this fascinating journey with Geocoding.
Pointing to a realistic place on a map and navigating to it on the web is called "Geocoding." Geocoding has gained momentum in the open source community, which for some is a counter-intuitive concept. The success of Google maps illustrates the point. After developing a robust interface, which parsed terabytes of satellite imagery and road data, they just gave it all away. This ...