If you play Minecraft multiplayer, you might have heard of Bukkit and Dynmap. Bukkit is a plugin for Minecraft multiplayer servers, and Dynmap is Bukkit’s map generation system. Minecraft multiplayer basically has a large custom world where dozens of players run around and build things, so it’s easy to see from Bukkit’s description of Dynmap why something like this would be useful: “A Google Maps-like map for your Minecraft server that can be viewed in a browser”. Basically it shows player movement in real time, allows you to zoom in and check out the entire map, chat with players in-game, and so on.
Now to the part that has to do with tablets. Turns out that Dynmap is HTML5-capable, so using it in a tablet browser gives you things like multitouch right out of the box. If your server or a server you play on has Dynmap installed, then all you need is the web address for it and you’re ready to go. That address depends on the server, but generally speaking it’s serveraddress:dynmap-port, with the default port being 8123. As an example, I play on the McBlocks server, with server address http://smp.mcblocks.net. The Dynmap address is http://smp.mcblocks.net:25566, in other words not the default port. Any admin should be able to tell you the address if you can’t find it yourself on servers you’re on.
To maximize the usefulness of this, you can add a bookmark to your home screen on both Android and iOS. Doing this on the iPad will make the map open full-screen, making it completely indistinguishable from an actual app. You can even zoom in to a specific area before using the “add to home screen” feature in order to select a cut-out of the map to act as the map icon. It works great, and is probably going to be one of my most used iPad “apps” very quickly. Oh, and if you play Minecraft, come join Stuart and I on McBlocks!