Re: [Geowanking] Best technology for public parks mapping application?
jeremy at groundspeak.com
Fri Nov 17 23:28:37 PST 2006
First off I want to say that I am highly impressed with the mapping that you have as well as the data you provide to a user. It's definitely a rich set of park, trail and campsite data in California.
> 1. If you were going to re-do this application, what technology do
> you think would be the best for performance and ease of use?
I'm probably in the minority here, but your application could do more with less. In other words your application's focus is on the "cool" of mapping features and not so much the use cases you would like your application to address.
Since this is a site to get folks to find out about parks, campgrounds and trails near a location, start with a simple search box and do away with the map entirely - at least for starters. Once the search has been completed, show a list of results that have mini maps designated for each result so you have a nice zoomed in version of the place you are "selling" to the user. At that point they can either click on the link to get a better map or link off to additional information.
In other words your site looks great on the left hand side of the page. The mapping in the current form doesn't really do the content you have justice.
> 2. Do you think that the user interface is intuitive for a general
I covered this a bit in 1, but the simple answer is no. You need to simplify the application to make it more intuitive. Personally I was never a fan of the toolset provided by MapServer. It's designed for a GIS user not the average consumer although, admittedly, it is one heck of a tool.
> 3. Can you think of any other features we are missing that you would like to see included?
Allowing people to provide contributions such as photos and other material would be nice, but it is really up to you based on your goals for the site. Do you want this data replicated and shared? Or is this data meant to be a directory only?
I'm definitely interested in this project because on Geocaching.com we're considering ways in which we can identify when a cache is placed in one park or another. Many organizations are creating policies and permits for the activity so we would like to notify a user when a policy applies to a particular area of land. To do so we would need access to polygons, preferably in a database, so we could do spatial queries to determine whether a point exists inside of one park or another. So we've been exploring ideas in-house how this information could be inserted, queried, retrieved and displayed.
I hope this helps. You have great potential in your application. I may be contacting you soon :)
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