Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Inset Maps

GEarth has an option for an overview map (ctrl M or Options > Overview Map) but it shows your location on a world scale and doesn't show direction of view.

Google Maps Inset Map with Man and Arrow Icon

In Streetview on Google Maps the equivalent is a lot more sophisticated with a person icon and an arrow showing direction. In a GEarth tour it is good practice to show users a similar inset map with a more relevant smaller scale as it helps them understand where they are and which direction they are facing. I've produced a tour to illustrate how to do this using Screen Overlays, click the image below to be taken to the tour (GEarth Plugin needed):

The tour shows you various views and I turn the inset map (a screen overlay I created using a graphics package) on and off in the tour to show how it could work. Note that as best practice I usually align my view northwards in a tour unless there's a good reason to do otherwise. If you changed viewing direction in a tour the inset map would be more useful.

Of course, it would be a lot better if the inset map was programmed so location and view direction changed in real time as in street view rather than being static images, this would be a nice feature to see in GEarth.


Frank Taylor said...

Richard, I have a design tip for you... You should consider making your window for your GE plugin a smaller size. In my wide-screen laptop I found it hard to view the entire window without maximizing my browser.

Rich Treves said...

Aha. I've knocked it down to a more reasonable 800 x 600. I was just being too idle to edit the screen overlays again - they took over too much of the screen on a smaller plugin window.

Thanks for the heads up.

Citizen Dylan said...

Would love to see this, but there’s a 404 link error on the referenced Javascript.

Rich Treves said...

probably because its an old post (2009).