Thursday, September 14, 2006

Complete redesign coming soon, including elevation profiles and full text search

In the words of the immortal Rakim, "it's been a long time." We're deep into a complete, ground-up, redesign of including a lot of new features. The redesign's sole purpose is making the site more intuitive and usable. The end result is going to be a much bigger map, easier navigation, including for lower resolution displays, and a lot less information overload, plus a lot of new features. Best of all, you can create maps and play around with the editor before creating a user. Here's a quick screenshot of the new homepage:

There are a few things that aren't showing up right now, such as the comments below the map, and a link to view the elevation profile. There is also navigation in the top journal entries section that allows you to browse the most popular journals without leaving the page. One nice thing about the elevation profile is it's going to be an actual image generated using gd instead of something using javascript or flash so you can download it and use it for whatever you want (and yes, for the more savvy users you could take a screenshot using the other methods as well. We're hoping this will make things a little more usable for the masses). I'm hoping there won't be problems with server load due to the elevation profile if the site ever gets popular though...

There were some big issues with the old site that have been fixed as well, including editing of maps with over 60 or so waypoints. That should all be taken care of now. There will also be a bunch of different kinds of map markers such as invisible ones, camping sites, information markers, and warning markers, as well as the original flags.

We've also added GPX uploading to the site. My brother has a great map of a 35 mile hike he took in Wyoming. The elevation profile looks fantastic, showing 3 well defined peaks. There are a few blips in the elevation data from his GPS unit, but overall it's pretty impressive.

The last big thing we're adding is full text search so you can find anything in the title, description, or comments for the journal entries. This will then be integrated into Google Co-op so you can see search results in your browser. I've been wanting to do that for a while :)

I think that's about it. It's basically going to be a completely new site. Check back soon to see it, hopefully we'll have it up by October.