Mapcial – Update 4

It’s all about Events

Lot’s of little ‘useability’ improvements today, including:

  • Remember your last map position and zoom level when exiting
  • Satellite mode
  • Don’t autofollow if you’ve got an info-bubble showing
  • GPS tracking improvements and to those who read the Javadocs, don’t believe Google when they say it’s ‘best practice’ to have a 60 second delay between GPS readings. It’s useless for navigating…
  • Close an info-bubble by touching anywhere on the header. My fingers are small but it was even driving me nuts trying to press the small close icon

But the main thing today was Events. The back-end for events had already been done and we’ve spent some time Google’ing for good public maps. Now, dear reader, you have the ability to choose some pre-selected public maps you want to see on your Android device. Not that the maps are that good, Google doesn’t publicise the maps at all. See below for info on how to find public maps.

This is Mapcial’s strongest selling point; the ability to read any Google Maps public route from it’s URL. Not only that, it it almost render perfect showing virtually identical information. Imagine having a route of the Manx-TT with each bike carrying phones running Mapcial allowing you to see to the minute where the riders are. Now that is awesome.

Here’s a nice picture of the event selection dialog:

 

 

The ‘Pro’ version of Mapcial will allow users to add maps to this list, and decide whether they are public or private. Private maps can only be selected if you know the name of the map. (Or maybe the event’s admin name, hmm….)

Performance

Most of what Mapcial does is sourced from the web, either directly from the map data, or from the configuration data on Mapcial’s Google App Engine server. This does mean that there is some lag between starting the app and it becoming useable.

Over Wi-Fi for 7 routes with 235 placemarks takes about 5 seconds. Over 3G it takes around 8 seconds. Not too bad, but could be improved. This was helped by the MapView client caching map tiles so from a user-perspective it was ready within ‘a second’.

Eye candy

Here are some more pictures, the left one shows a zoomed out view with seven events selected and the right one shows an event in satellite mode.

 

 

Finding Maps

Google maps is great. It allows you to create routes, Points of Interest, custom icons and annotate everything. Google, however, don’t make it easy to find public maps. There is no Map App store to see them all. I resorted to some adavanced searching to find map files that could be used with Mapcial. Here’s the search phrase you need to use:

inurl:kml site:maps.google.com

You can add more words to narrow the search down.

Beta download

The Mapcial and Walk2012 versions are functionally identical, with Walk2012 having some additional branding and icon changes. You can now pick up either version from a link on the original annoucement post.

Feel free to leave comments. Did I mention it’s nearly beta, less buggy and even more awesome? 😛

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