Sunday, November 6, 2011

The City of North Vancouver Web Mapping Done Right!

My last post was about what is wrong with the a lot of consumer city web map applications. Today I was looking through some more examples and I stumbled across the City of North Vancouver CityMAP’s page and boy was surprised to see what they are doing.

The first thing that caught my eye is minimizing the use of the term GIS. I hate it when that term is thrown into the face of a consumer who could really care less about GIS. The city is using the term CityMAP and the consumer will thank you.

The city also decided that one map application was not enough so they split it out in to one general mapping application and a few specific mapping applications. I applaud this decision, adding too much to a single map application clutters the functionality and makes it more difficult to use. I always say “The more you add the less they use and the less you add the more they use”. The specific applications focus on a single use case making the user experience very simple, straight forward and simply makes since.

The general application called CityMAP’s removed the GIS from the consumer and control just about everything from a single input box asking the user what they want to do? this is very Google esk giving the consumer a style that they are already comfortable working with. This style has allowed the city to remove that complex toolbox that so many web applications include. The end user is only presented with tools when they need them. Taking the tools off the main user interface and hiding them until they are needed is a great approach in a consumer user experience. I call this hiding the "GIS" and doing so  makes for a comfortable and easy to navigate user experience.

What I like:
  • There is no layer list for the user to interact with. Layers are controlled by what work flow the consumer is in and not some complex list that needs to be toggled on and off. Layer lists are a thing of the past
  • There is no toolbox – Tools are presented to the consumer depending on what work flow they are in. Adding a toolbox when not needed just adds confusion and clutter to the user experience
  • The base data is presented well using zoom levels to turn on more information as you zoom into the map
  • The interface is clean and uncluttered
  • There is a tutorial presented as a choice to the end user as they come into the map.  
  • The aerial’s and map zoom/pan controls are located and look like that of a Bing or Google map leveraging experience that the consumer has already gained by working with these common map controls.
  • The use of multiple mapping applications for more specific functionally thus removing that functionally from the general consumer map
What I don't like:
  • The use of flash. I feel that there was a lot of work done and I would hate to not see it on a tablet devise
I can see that the city has spent a lot of time on their user experience and it shows. This will pay off with greater page views and less front counter traffic allowing the city to focus on what really counts. The GIS department has done a fantastic job.

I give this user experience a 9 out of 10

Happy Mapping !

If you enjoyed the post, please share it:
The City of North Vancouver Web Mapping Done Right! A Post - @SkipCody #GEOSPATIAL #MAP #GIS

No comments:

Post a Comment