Gmap4 - Enhanced Google Map viewer with topographic maps

Cartography, maps, navigation, GPS and more.
raven
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Re: Gmap4 - Enhanced Google Map viewer with topographic maps

Post by raven » January 29th, 2012, 7:45 pm

The beauty of the hi res maps when zoomed out is striking. On the first use I noticed topographic features in the Portland metro area that I had overlooked previously. Thank you for the improvement, Joseph.

Is there any convenient way to toggle between, say, the last two views? For example, aerial photos and the hi resolution view. One mouse click instead of several would be appreciated.

Joseph Elfelt
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Re: Gmap4 - Enhanced Google Map viewer with topographic maps

Post by Joseph Elfelt » January 29th, 2012, 7:51 pm

Thanks for the kind words.

Raven, not clear what you mean. The button in the far upper right corner lets you change map views. Is there something different that you would like?

raven
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Re: Gmap4 - Enhanced Google Map viewer with topographic maps

Post by raven » January 29th, 2012, 9:34 pm

Yes, but switching via the menu requires opening the menu and then selecting a new kind of view, while a frequent use is iterative, requiring going back and forth between two kinds of views repeatedly.

I use the procedure a lot and assume others do also; but I could be wrong.

Consider the use of Gmap in planning a packrafting trip or a long trip somewhere -- or when following an interesting trip report involving a remote area in the Canadian Rockies or Alaska. First one locates the general area and then a specific area on the topo map, (2) followed by viewing an aerial image for vegetative cover, whitewater and such, (3) followed by moving the aerial image until a 3d perspective is needed for gradient, (4) requiring a switch back to the topo view, and so on; until one tries to visualize the relationship between the starting and the ending point, usually requiring zooming the topo view out. So two views are repeatedly used before a third kind of view is selected.

Today I followed the same procedure 3 times, examining areas in the Columbia Gorge, Gresham and Southwest Portland. The effort isn't much in most cases, but it is when tries to find the same small feature in two views -- after taking your eyes off the object and switching views, the object can be hard to find. For example where a small pond is shown on the topo map of Portland, there are now houses -- after repeated moves back-and-forth between views, I finally located the cursor on the aerial view selector, focused my eyes on the pond, and clicked the mouse button.

As I said, the process would be improved by having a button that select and unselects the previous type of view used, whether it was topographic, or map or aerial. Would make it easier to keep the eyes on the ball, so to speak.

(You already have a great product.)

Joseph Elfelt
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Re: Gmap4 - Enhanced Google Map viewer with topographic maps

Post by Joseph Elfelt » January 30th, 2012, 5:04 am

Raven, thanks for the clarification. Now that you mention it, I've wanted to do the same thing myself but I don't recall the context. I added your good idea to my list of possible enhancements.

For now, if you double click the map on the feature of interest then the map will re-center at that spot. Then as you change map types, the crosshair at the center will guide your eye back to that spot.

Note that double clicking does not work if you have turned on the 'Make a map' feature.

Geo, that's a very cool effect. It's sort of like watching the sun go down.

raven
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Re: Gmap4 - Enhanced Google Map viewer with topographic maps

Post by raven » January 30th, 2012, 10:26 am

Joseph,

Thanks for the reminder on double clicking.

The difficulty with centering is that the image of the map may be arranged for context with the specific focus of curiosity at the moment located at the edge of the image. So: zoom in; switch view type: switch view back; zoom out. If the map is shifted during the process and afterwards has to be shifted back, the effort level goes way up.

If the new view type provides reason to zoom in, the map does have to be recentered; but if it doesn't, having a view-type toggle toggle would save a lot of effort.

raven
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Re: Gmap4 - Enhanced Google Map viewer with topographic maps

Post by raven » January 30th, 2012, 11:13 am

Geo,

I don't think your suggestions could be duplicated readily on my system. But thank you very much for mentioning that "Full screen" trick. On my system it opens a new tab with the identical map; I can zoom in with the new map, then close the tab and be back to the initial map instantly. With a view-type toggle, I'd have everything.

Joseph Elfelt
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Re: Gmap4 - Enhanced Google Map viewer with topographic maps

Post by Joseph Elfelt » January 30th, 2012, 3:04 pm

I can particularly see benefit to Raven's suggestion if you are in the middle of doing some trip planning. Yes, you can open a new window/tab but it will not have your trip planning data.

What would you think of the idea of assigning a different function key to each map type?

Joseph Elfelt
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Re: Gmap4 - Enhanced Google Map viewer with topographic maps

Post by Joseph Elfelt » January 30th, 2012, 3:15 pm

The problem with a cool feature like that is that it is too cool. Function keys that change what they do will baffle way to many people. The UI has to walk, talk, look, smell, feel, dead easy or people will not use it.

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Koda
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Re: Gmap4 - Enhanced Google Map viewer with topographic maps

Post by Koda » January 30th, 2012, 8:51 pm

Joseph Elfelt wrote:The problem with a cool feature like that is that it is too cool. Function keys that change what they do will baffle way to many people. The UI has to walk, talk, look, smell, feel, dead easy or people will not use it.
absolutely

I use software applications for a living where the GUI is critical. Older programs with keyboard commands, shortcuts etc. get abandoned for icon driven applications... which are self intuitive. Many debate the keyboard is faster to operate than moving a mouse all over selecting... which is probably true, once you learn it... which requires a lengthy user manual. New application users want instant gratification... especially for recreational applications like viewing their tracks on a topo map. Just my opinion.

Joseph, check out a thread I started in the gear forum about free/ open source map applications. I created a list in there, in which I included your gmap4 browser app. I'll be honest enough, I don't really use it. I've lurked this thread a bit... and can't figure it out, and haven't found it as efficient to learn as others (on the list). I use map utilities a LOT for trip planning with my GPS. That said, I do encourage kind folks like you to develop these things because as an end user it benefits me. My motive is I have paid out way too much money for proprietary map applications that don't cross over with each other and don't do everything I need. I am finding there are now enough free or open/source options available now to meet my needs, so... thank you for your work. I will continue to keep an eye on gmap4 development.

Cheers
Wayne
lightweight, cheap, strong... pick 2

Joseph Elfelt
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Re: Gmap4 - Enhanced Google Map viewer with topographic maps

Post by Joseph Elfelt » March 11th, 2012, 9:42 am

Have you tried Gmap4 on the browser in your smart phone and been disappointed at how it looked?
I just posted beta code that includes an automatic phone 'skin'.

For more info and a link to the beta code, please visit the new Gmap4 'beta' page:
http://www.mappingsupport.com/p/gmap4_beta.html

Joseph, the Gmap4 guy

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