[Openstreetmap] applet 'usability' suggestions

Tom Carden tom at tom-carden.co.uk
Mon Jun 6 12:22:19 BST 2005

Jo Walsh wrote:
>I finally cracked and installed a JRE

Great.  You'll never look back! (Until we get an SVG editor... or 

off-topic - You've opened yourself up to a whole world of fun, see 
www.tom-carden.co.uk/p5 for a pile of java applet distractions :)

> and then spent a few hours
> transfixed by the OSM applet. It's great. I have a short list of
> niggling speculation.

Don't we all!

Might I suggest -
http://www.openstreetmap.org/newwiki/index.php/Status if you think it should 
be done real-soon-now.
http://www.openstreetmap.org/newwiki/index.php/Ideas if you think people 
should be aware of it, but it's not essential

Show-stopping bugs are probably still best here though (or bugzilla, if it's 
working, Steve?).

> - Both the applet the website want me to re-authenticate about every
>  10 minutes. This is frustrating.

Agreed.  In the meantime you'll have to work faster ;)

> I appreciate that i may have to log
>  into both separately.

I'm not sure that's the case.  I'd be surprised if there wasn't a way to get 
the applet to use the same log-in credentials as the browser.

> But if i upload a track, then edit the map,
>  then go back to upload another track, i'm asked to log in again.
>  Is there a real need to have the timeout so high?

I wouldn't have thought so.

> - each time i'd upload a new track, then i'd have to start again at
>  the default view on the map and pan around to where i was working
>  (not wanting to pan with the applet which is slower)
>  it would rock if both/either could save state on where you were last
>  working.
>  it would also rock if at least a link to 'edit the map over the
>  tracks you just made' appeared post the GPX upload

Definitely.  I think this is on the todo list.  I'm not sure how the GPX 
parsing is currently handled, but I'd like to see this happen fairly soon. 
If I do it, I'll tie it in with an RSS feed of GPX uploads, because I like 
to know what's going on without looking at database logs :)

Is there any reason why centring on the average point would be a bad idea? 
(Once we work out a neater way to handle scale, I'm sure we could generate a 
bounding box and fit that inside the projection, but that's hardly 

To be honest, given that we have logins, I'd like each person to have a 
homepage which links to their contributions - GPX, and traced annotations, 
and discussions.  There's no reason why this shouldn't be optional (hardcore 
wiki-style) but I think an easy way into what I was working on recently is 

> - the 'delete segment' button actually seemed to create a segment, at
>  least it didn't delete anything. i found i could delete nodes and
>  that would delete all the segments attached to them. They don't
>  show up in the editor or in the data that i get from the XMLRPC edge.
>  but i still see them on the 'view map' at OSM?

I was confused by this too.

> - i reckon even a low-quality satellite basemap would be useful in the
>  editor, just for context / reference. i found myself occasionally
>  dumping and reloading tracks into mapserver w/ landsat to be able to get 
> a
>  sense of where i was on the basemap.

I think image hosting/tracing (old maps, aerial photos, landsat etc) is 
pretty high on the agenda.  Not sure if there's a firm date for the next 
coding day yet, but I was hoping to have a crack at it then...

> that central line on the river
> is distracting, is it better to have a shape there?

Shapes for bodies of water sounds sensible - how accurate are the free 
sources of this kind of info?

Not sure about shapes for other things yet though.

> - i'd like to send editorial questions like that to a forum, like a
>  wiki meta discussion keyed to a bounding box, or an ad-hoc mailing
>  list of everyone who's registered their focus on a point inside a
>  bounding box.

Sorry, losing track a bit here.  Editorial questions?  You mean questions 
like the ones you've been answering for yourself with low-quality satellite 
basemaps?  Sounds sensible.

> for the Mumbai Free Map we are looking at a simple hack using
> OpenGuides to add a wiki page for each feature and i suppose a little
> RDF index to tell mapserver what's annotated. i have heard only the
> vaguest things about geoannotation in MediaWiki; no 'solution' yet?

I was about to ask if you knew of any good spatially indexed wikis.  If you 
don't, I suggest we chalk it up as yet-another-blue-sky feature.  I don't 
think a location-based discussion forum is small feature :)

Another plea to add your feature requests to the wiki (or bugzilla, if it's 
working, Steve?).
It's easier than searching the list archives. (Or put a big TODO in the 
subject, that way search might work...)


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