Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Timeline Tutorial Video

Previously I posted a howto on some aspects of the timeline. I've had to do a proper tutorial for a course I'm working on at the moment so here is a cut down version for you all. It explains how to get the timeline to work properly:

I had various technical problems with uploading it to youtube which is why its still in flash format.

Wish List: Investigating this has led me to believe the timeline controls are too simple given the complexity of what it does. It harks back to my earlier post comparing ESRI's timeline with Google's, the chief suggestion I'd like to carry forward is that there needs to be a power/newbie toggle switch that keeps the timeline as at present for the power users but when clicked reveals an alternative expanded view for the newbies. Here is a summary of the problems and my suggested solutions using the 'newbie view':
  • Multiple sets of time data: Animating different data sets with time is very powerful but even I get confused about child folders and what should be showing. There should be a number of timelines showing along the top of the screen with a playhead and a line showing when the data starts and stops for each data set. When you select a different parent folder the timelines will change accordingly along the top of the screen.
  • Downloading Data: Much time data is in the forms of images which have to download via a network link. Users press play on the timeline and nothing happens because the images haven't downloaded and so can't be rendered. There should be a special shading on each timeline showing which bits are still downloading and when you get to an image that is still downloading it shouldn't just be a red cross in the main screen, it should say 'Downloading...' so users know what is happening.
  • Range of Time: There should be an illustration of what time range the playhead is activating as it moves. At the moment you just drag the handles around and guess a range, a simple 10y, 25w, 9h readout would help (if the timerange is much smaller you could just shift the units of time to something like 9h, 50m, 6s).
So all that would be visible in the newbie view and that view would be the default one which would be showing when you first open GEarth.

1 comment:

pystl said...

At my work I have a data set ranging from 1870 up to now. Since the range is large the time slider jumps by about 9 month as I move it. For example, it goes from Septembre 2008 to January 2008 as I go backward, without any possibility of placing it in april 2008.

I wish it was possible to manually change the position of the time slider, it's ending and beginning, with the use of a little scroll down calendar availble when you'd double click on a feature of the time slider.

I really agree with you that the timeslider could be improved.