Topic: More about maps

NBN maps are used by a number of wildlife websites, either as direct links (UK Ladybirds http://www.ladybird-survey.org/species_ … 455+59604) or EasyMaps (our HBRG site www.hbrg.org.uk).

When G5 was introduced, no allowance was made for the use (encouraged by NBN) of these facilities as there was no redirect of the URL calls to the new addresses.  As a result, all these websites were seriously devalued until website code could be edited – often by volunteers with even less in the way of resources than NBN – and the NBN team were able to deliver the seamless transition for EasyMaps that had been promised during the development of G5.  (In passing, please be aware that all these websites are also affected by the chronically bad performance of G5 we have seen over the past 9 months or so.)

Clearly, there is a danger that we will see a repeat of that extremely unsatisfactory episode if ALS ever replaces G5.
Two major requirements follow from this.

First, before any removal of G5 in favour of ALS there should be in place a seamless system of redirects so that existing URLs will still show the relevant maps.  Webmasters who were not asked about the implications of ALS should not again be expected to rewrite their code.  How that is done is up to the IT team, but it should be possible for existing URLs can surely be parsed for TVKs and other parameters when they are called, and the new URL synthesised and passed on.  Or you retain a parallel system at least for maps, so that the existing URLs will still produce the desired results.

Second, and far more important, the ALS maps must be redesigned so that such calls are even possible. The file attached shows a screenshot of a web page with links to a G5 gridmap, and the ALS maps at http://records.als.scot/occurrences/sea … ab_mapView (grid and interactive). Nothing more needs to be said on that problem – a picture is worth a thousand words. And there really are three maps!

So please:

a)    design and implement a system to retain access to maps by existing URLs;

b)    if there is to be no parallel system access ing the existing G5 mapping routines, redesign the current ALS map formats so that once the URL problem is solved, the maps they point to are actually worth looking at.


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Re: More about maps

Thank you for raising this issue Murdo.
We also use EasyMaps to produce UK wide maps and more local maps. The latter are not very "pretty" but they work, so I was hoping that ultimately we would be able to link into a more sophisticated version of the local map. However, initiaaly I'll settle for something that works which preferably does not involve me in a massive rewrite of code.

We currently have a site (http://hebfauna.myspecies.info/) which uses the NHM scratchpad system and I have been encouraging them to incorporate the NBN maps as an option in their mapping system rather than as just an add on.  The NHM system is used by a number of species groups who might be interested in using the NBN maps. So you might like to add this as a footnote to your "to do list"




Re: More about maps

Hi Murdo and Christine

Thank you for your comments about the importance of Easy Maps and the web servicing of maps out of the NBN Gateway and please be assured that we are aware that webmasters have put a lot of effort in to making the mapping work for their implementations.

Murdo - thanks for sending the screenshot of a web page with links to the G5 map and the ALS maps.  The web serviced versions of the ALS maps are certainly not looking acceptable - they do not look like they appear on the Atlas itself nor does the dot map look like the map that can be download from the link you sent.   

At this stage however as we have not yet tested and implemented Atlas web services  (see the note at http://www.als.scot/web-services-puttin … -website/) we can't yet advise on the best way to code maps to a website such that the right result is achieved from the ALS infrastructure. This is an area that is still under development.

Your comments have all been noted and will be referenced by us as we go through the process of developing, testing and implementing web services

Many thanks again,