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Home > Archive > SSW Standards > Better Software Suggestions > SSW Microsoft Virtual Earth Suggestions

Strategic Suggestions
  1. Make contact information for Microsoft personal available
  2. Microsoft Supporting the application
  3. Monetisation Strategy - this was a good suggestion from Dr. Neil
  4. Clear Published Pricing/Licensing System
  5. Clear Roadmap on features going forward
  6. Public Site pushing the technology to business customers
  7. Virtual Earth Developer Certifications
  8. Improving the entire Microsoft Platform for GIS support
Technical Suggestions
  1. Data & Utilities Suggestions
  2. Map Manipulation Suggestions
  3. Suggestions for General Usability Improvements
  4. Suggestions for Improved Map Points
  5. Suggestions for Improved Layer Support
  6. Suggestions for Improved Marker Popups
  7. Map Cruncher Suggestions

Strategic Suggestions


  1. Make contact information for Microsoft personal available for:

    • Business Development - people who can help win large proposals
    • Technical Team - with separate people for each aspect of virtual earth
      • Eg. Projection specialist
      • Map data specialist
      • Integration with other platform specialists
    • Licensing Team
  2. Microsoft Supporting the application

    • The Virtual Earth team should clearly identify what functionality is fully supported by Microsoft. ( I like the Microsoft Ajax team approach to this ).
      • Partners & Clients have a duty of care to know what functionality is supported.
    • Support for previous versions
      • New URL for every major and minor version.
      • how long will each be supported?
    • Proper Testing - Everyone's v3 website crashed when v4 of VE was released.
  3. Monetisation Strategy - this was a good suggestion from Dr. Neil

    • Microsoft should make an advertising monetisation system, with a revenue-share model with developers/publishers. This will encourage more entry-level implementations, which can then drive the community and lead to larger VE sales.
  4. Clear Published Pricing/Licensing System

    • Microsoft should look to Amazon's web services, which are leading the field in this area.
  5. Clear Roadmap on features going forward

    • The situation where Microsoft kept the v4 feature set secret, is pretty immature. Businesses need a clear roadmap of future Virtual Earth features, so they can make informed decisions on adopting the technology, and planning for future releases.
  6. Public Site pushing the technology to business customers

    • Suggested solutions/Case studies for different verticals
    • Partner directory
  7. Virtual Earth Developer Certifications

    • 40% programming with VE technology
    • 40% Application Architecture & Best Practices
    • 20% Mapping/GIS concepts ( although Dr. Neil believes this knowledge will become commodity as improved mapping functionality is integrated into the platform)
  8. Improving the entire Microsoft Platform for GIS support

    • by adding spatial extensions to Microsft SQL Server to support the handling of spatial data and complex queries.

Technical Suggestions


  1. Data & Utilities Suggestions

    • There should be public methods for geocoding and reverse-geocoding. The geocoding should be of high quality. even if we have to pay for it.
    • The Find Location/ Find address method should have a callback, so we know when the location has been found.
    • The Find Location method tends to have problems with area codes. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't.
    • Error information should optionally catchable in a callback, rather than being displayed automatically on screen.
    • There should be more data available for Points of Interest, with the ability load & switch on and off layers with the appropriate data
      • Eg. Cinemas, Utilities, Landmarks, Railways [Michael Kring]
    • There should be optional dynamically downloadable javascript libraries for calculations such as:
      • Conversion between different coordinate systems (eg. Mercator to/from Long/Lat)
      • Distance between points
      • Distance to nearest features
        • Eg distance to nearest road, nearest junction
  2. Map Manipulation Suggestions

    • Resizing of the map needs to work correctly in all browsers. At 100%, the scalebar often does not show. Working examples should be made for maps scaled to 100% of the page that work in all browsers.
    • There should be documentation on how to add extra zoom level information - eg. To allow the user to zoom in and see floor plans of a house Ability to record user actions into the browser history.
    • Dynamic loading of map components as needed to cut down the size of the footprint.
      • Java script size impact
      • DOM footprint (eg. For dashboards)
      • There could be a variety of different map dashboards and map rendering styles that are selected & downloaded on demand
    • There should be multiple rendering styles.. eg. Without roads, without railways...
  3. Suggestions for General Usability Improvements

    • The cursors need to be improved. Eg. When you click the map, and drag the map there should be appropriate cursors, rather than the current hand.
    • 90% of non-technical users find the default dashboard too hard to use and understand. There should be a clear labelling of the zoom control. The slider should also be improved (look at Microsoft Ajax examples)
  4. Suggestions for Improved Map Points

    • Z-index of map points
      • There needs to be a way of specifying the z-index ordering of points
      • There should also be a bring to front, send to back methods
    • The map should correctly support transparent png images for both overlays and pins. (in all browsers)
    • There should be a method to change the icon of a pin (rather than requiring us to delete and add the pin)
  5. Suggestions for Improved Layer Support

    • Layers should have improved methods to control the z-index of the layers
    • Layers should have improved transparency support
    • There should be ways to add animated imagery to layers. Eg. Adding animated isobars for a weathermap
    • We should be able to add individual markers to layers, rather than just using Live Collections and GeoRSS feeds
  6. Suggestions for Improved Marker Popups

    • There should be public methods for showing and hiding the ero popup for a particular marker (using pinID)
    • Currently asynchronously loading data to place in a popup requires a hack. Please make a public interface for this
    • There should be support for opening multiple ero popups at the same time if desired. (and support for deleting them again)
    • Options to display the popup as a new copy, or using the existing popup
    • Methods for deleting ero popups (probably based on pinID)
  7. Map Cruncher Suggestions

    • Should provide an API

Acknowledgements

Tim Kremer