maps are fun    why not on the web?Maps can be fun, and everyone likes finding treasure. I’m here to talk about maps on the...
back in the day...Maps have been on the web for a while. For a long time we had our static maps. Images. Show some dots an...
slippy!So, then came the slippy map. Google pioneered this. Suddenly we have fast, responsive maps. We can dragaround, zoo...
clever photosThen we moved onto clever photos. Anyone not looked up satellite photos of their house in a web map? Seenpeop...
3D worldsAnd now we can even have 3D worlds in the browser. For Windows users, Google has a recently released abrowser-bas...
see an addressSo one thing we do with web maps is to visualise an address. Mukuna helpfully shows us where the Kings Arms ...
find somethingThe other case is to find something. We’re going to look for somewhere to live. Which I happen to be doing at ...
1. the searchFirst step, define your search. Hmm, I know half of Auckland likes to call themselves “Mount Eden”, so I bette...
2. the listStep two, “the list”. How helpful, there’s addresses! Like i know where “Sojak Place” is, or where along Mt Alb...
3. the detailsAh yes, the detail page. lots of text, pictures, and ooh! look! a map! with one point on. NOW i can see that...
FAILThe whole experience? FAIL. I need a piece of paper and a pen and a paper map just to navigate the damn websiteand ach...
maps as helpersThe first step in our journey of enlightenment is to to take our maps from being a glorified photo to actuall...
scratchpadsEveryone creates notes when they’re on a finding expedition. Think the TradeMe watchlist. We need that. There is...
my mapsGoogle My Maps is a spatial scratchpad. Great for simple applications (I’ve built one for my house-hunting), butima...
maps are made for                         walkingSo make sure you can print out the scratchpad, with a map! So people can ...
maps as interfaceThe second step in our journey of enlightenment is to look at offering maps as the interface. Rather than...
live filteringThese guys in the UK have some cool stuff. Slide the sliders and set your travel time and price range, and in...
useful additionsLets add other useful stuff onto our map. What about bus routes, shops, cafes, supermarkets, school zones?...
move on from lists!Lists are great. But not for inherently spatial information. They don’t help me with what I’m trying to...
So what to take out of this? Nearly everything has a place, and lots of problems have a spatial context. Lets see ifwe can...
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Maps are Fun - Why not on the web?

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Talking about improving the use of maps in our web pages, particularly for applications like real estate where the key information (and goal) is inherently spatial. Was a 20x20 (Pecha Kucha) style presentation at the Auckland Web Meetup, August 2008.

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Maps are Fun - Why not on the web?

  1. 1. maps are fun why not on the web?Maps can be fun, and everyone likes finding treasure. I’m here to talk about maps on the web. They aren’t nearlyfun enough yet, but we can do better with a little more thought :)image: http://goolishtech.com/sitemap.aspx
  2. 2. back in the day...Maps have been on the web for a while. For a long time we had our static maps. Images. Show some dots andlines, peer at them to see if you know where something is. If you’re lucky you might have a big view and a smallview.image: http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/pest-and-disease-response/pests-and-diseases-watchlist/didymosphenia-geminata/where-is-it
  3. 3. slippy!So, then came the slippy map. Google pioneered this. Suddenly we have fast, responsive maps. We can dragaround, zoom in and out, and actually show MORE detail than we can on a paper map, because we have differentlevels of detail. And we can put interactive points onto the map.image: http://maps.google.co.nz/
  4. 4. clever photosThen we moved onto clever photos. Anyone not looked up satellite photos of their house in a web map? Seenpeople walking down the Strip in Las Vegas? Microsoft introduced this cool thing called “birds eye” which areperspective views, we can even spin around and peer at the Statue of Liberty from behind.image: http://maps.live.com/
  5. 5. 3D worldsAnd now we can even have 3D worlds in the browser. For Windows users, Google has a recently released abrowser-based Google Earth. But the current “standard” is our Google or Virtual Earth map, we see them poppingup everywhere.image: http://thematicmapping.org/
  6. 6. see an addressSo one thing we do with web maps is to visualise an address. Mukuna helpfully shows us where the Kings Arms is.“Off Upper Queen Street, no worries, I know how to get there”. Or “whoa, didn’t realise it was out in the boonies,better leave myself an hour”. This works great.image: http://www.mukuna.co.nz/
  7. 7. find somethingThe other case is to find something. We’re going to look for somewhere to live. Which I happen to be doing at themoment. What a pain in the ass. But I’ll see if I can pick on all the NZ websites in one go :)image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cookwood/2655481117/
  8. 8. 1. the searchFirst step, define your search. Hmm, I know half of Auckland likes to call themselves “Mount Eden”, so I better put*that* in my suburb list. Where the hell is “Oranga”? Where are the options for “within 30 minutes walk from work”or “has a cafe nearby” or “is close to a bus stop”?image: http://www.barfoots.co.nz/
  9. 9. 2. the listStep two, “the list”. How helpful, there’s addresses! Like i know where “Sojak Place” is, or where along Mt AlbertRoad number 311a is… I am not a real estate agent or a taxi driver or a courier. So I need a bloody map beside meanyway!image: http://www.harcourts.co.nz/
  10. 10. 3. the detailsAh yes, the detail page. lots of text, pictures, and ooh! look! a map! with one point on. NOW i can see that itsdown the bottom of a giant big hill, but near a park. Problem is, I’m constantly flicking between here and the listagain, just to see WHERE THEY ARE.image: http://www.trademe.co.nz/
  11. 11. FAILThe whole experience? FAIL. I need a piece of paper and a pen and a paper map just to navigate the damn websiteand achieve what its supposedly there for?! The map is much more powerful than treating it as “a clever photo”,which is what we’re doing on those detail pages.image: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Train_wreck_at_Montparnasse_1895.jpg
  12. 12. maps as helpersThe first step in our journey of enlightenment is to to take our maps from being a glorified photo to actuallyhelping us. I shouldn’t need a paper map beside me or in another tab. The website can help me here.image: http://flickr.com/photos/dhinson/522479739/
  13. 13. scratchpadsEveryone creates notes when they’re on a finding expedition. Think the TradeMe watchlist. We need that. There isabsolutely NO NEED to require the user to register or login in order to make a scratchpad. And make it easy tosave, share, and send around.image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cabinet/53737767/
  14. 14. my mapsGoogle My Maps is a spatial scratchpad. Great for simple applications (I’ve built one for my house-hunting), butimagine how much better it could work if you have something similar just for your app, tying in all the informationnicely? The tools are all there...image: http://maps.google.co.nz/
  15. 15. maps are made for walkingSo make sure you can print out the scratchpad, with a map! So people can use it to FIND the places when they getaround to actually going out there in the real world. If you need to look up places on another map: FAIL.image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bods/82681534/
  16. 16. maps as interfaceThe second step in our journey of enlightenment is to look at offering maps as the interface. Rather than search +list + detail & repeat, can we use a map to make that easier? Can we reduce the number of back-and-forth steps,and reduce the amount of information the user is trying to juggle in their head?image: One Track Mind
  17. 17. live filteringThese guys in the UK have some cool stuff. Slide the sliders and set your travel time and price range, and instantlysee where are the places to look. 2 minutes outside the “Epsom” boundary won’t bother me if its a nice place!Show me what matches, but show me stuff that nearly matches too. I can be flexible, try to make your website thatway too.image: http://www.mysociety.org/2007/more-travel-maps/
  18. 18. useful additionsLets add other useful stuff onto our map. What about bus routes, shops, cafes, supermarkets, school zones?Whatever I need to help me make the right decision. We can even use the map engines to give us walking anddriving times.image: One Track Mind
  19. 19. move on from lists!Lists are great. But not for inherently spatial information. They don’t help me with what I’m trying to do! Thetechnology is all there to use maps as interfaces, we just need the interaction and user experience designers tostep up to some new challenges.image: http://flickr.com/photos/stevenh/132854741/
  20. 20. So what to take out of this? Nearly everything has a place, and lots of problems have a spatial context. Lets see ifwe can start thinking about how maps on the web can really help people navigate content or solve problems, notjust act as eye candy.image: http://flickr.com/photos/stuttermonkey/41579849/

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