Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Dude, where's my UI?

CalTopo just gained a redesigned user interface.  Normally I hate invasive UI rewrites, and I'm sure this one won't please everyone.  However, over time it's become apparent that CalTopo's previous long-standing UI had too many obscure and confusing features.  It was painful watching people struggle with the same issues over and over, and while I may not have solved all of them, I felt that I had to at least try.

The most obvious change is a transition to pull-down menus across the top of the screen, grouping features from the left bar, top right and context menu into a single location:

Some of the context menu options proved particularly hard for people to find, like view from here and terrain analysis,.  While they still exist in the context menu, they've also been pushed out to a Measure pulldown menu:

Layer selection is largely unchanged, but has been moved into a more obvious standalone control that mimics the de facto standard look for a number of programs these days:

Mousing over the control, layer addition and removal should look familiar:

One big change is that clicking on a marker or shape will now bring up an info window with distance (lines), coordinates (points), and several edit and analysis options.  Clicking an object in the left bar still centers the map on that object, but will also bring up the info window:

Account and map management options in the left bar have also been consolidated and should hopefully be a little more obvious.

The "Share this map" option now only gives you the URL for sharing, while "Manage this map" lets you set both general map information and read/write access for other users.  The account link leads to an updated and hopefully more straightforward one-stop account dialog.

There are numerous small changes as well - as just one example that's hard to screenshot, the new marker dialog is now accompanied by a draggable on-screen marker rather than being in a fixed location.  As you drag the marker the coordinates dialog will update, and vice versa.

While I've done my best to test the new code, I'm not delusional enough to think it's error free.  If something looks off, let me know.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Printable Peak Views

The view from here feature has been around for a while, but you've never been able to print the results and take them into the field, except perhaps for making a screenshot.  I'm happy to announce that has now changed.

There's now a print link to the right of the share link:

Instead of launching a separate print page the way that the map viewer does, this simply brings up a couple print options at the top of the left bar.  You can choose page size, whether to show labels, and whether to show a custom selection or a 360 degree view.  A red draggable rectangle appears for the custom selection option.

The generated PDF has as many peak labels as possible, in diagonal orientation:

The 360 degree view has 3 rows, each covering 120 degrees.  Although they're not yet labeled, the first row covers NW-NE, the second row covers NE-S and the third row covers S-NW.

There are a few finishing touches that need to get added, like marking compass directions, but I don't want to wait for those to get finished up before announcing it.