Some time ago, I started a thread - see http://www.ausphotography.net.au/for...ad.php?t=28826 - called Playing with maps about embedding Google maps into a photographic website. I won't resurect that thread because, for some reason unclear to me, I stupidly put it in the off-topic forum (it belongs here) and I have the off-topic forum blocked (because life is too short).
Time to revisit that theme. I'm still playing with maps, but it gets more complicated as time goes by. Visit my website - http://tannin.net.au - and surf some random images. At lower left (underneath the picture) there is some fine print that (among other things) provides a link to the place where the shot was taken. Follow that link to the maps. Surf around a few random images and see what you think.
? Is the placement of the three small maps appropriate?
? Are the sizes about right?
? Are the zoom levels about right? (Bear in mind that you don't get a lot of choice: the Google Maps API let's you double or halve the scale, you can't do anything in between.)
? Are the little cross-hair markers that indicate the place of interest appropriate? (Actually I have already decided that they need to be just a little more obvious, but only a little.)
(BTW, the you-would-expect-it-to-be-simple matter of placing a marker on the map is non-trivial. It is a horrendously obscure and complicated process unless you want to use the dreadfully intriusive and distracting Google default cartoon-book-style markers. THe reason you rarely see a Google map with any other sort of marker is that it's too bloody difficult to program. Well, the programming isn't that hard, but it is a seriously time-consuming task to wade through the spread-all-over-the-place documentation and figure out the two or three critical bits they forgot to tell you. Once you know how, it's just tedious and annoying. Anyway, it's done now. (And that was another weekend I won't see again.)
? Where should I take this next? There is lots of stuff I could do, but it needs to be thought through properly before I start, as in many cases it would be quite a lot of work. I'm happy to put the work in if the idea is good, but I don't want to spend days coding something up only to decide that it makes too much visual clutter.
? Should I do the link back to the image next? (Instead of having to use the browser back button, which is the current arrangement.) If so, with a thumbnail? If so, what does this do to the layout? Where does everything go?
? What about links to the other photographs in this same location? I already have this, with thumbnails to the first 5, in my management interface.
? Or should they be links to other locations nearby? With thumbnails? (Thumbnails of maps, by the way, are non-trivial coding-wise. But I could do them if I had to.)
Essentially, I want the visitor to be able to sink into an area (e.g. South-east NSW) and absorb a sense of place from it. Maps, pictures, birds, landscapes, text .... it's all part of it. But I'm thrashing ideas for presentation around just now because ... well, because it's time I re-assessed where I am heading with this thing. And, if we are going to be honest, also because it's a way of putting off doing the most urgent task, which is writing a lot more text.
Anyway, wander over to http://tannin.net.au and look at some map pages (there is one attached to almost every image and about 650-odd images on file, but once you have looked at five or six you will have the general idea). If anything happens to cross your mind when you do that, come back here and say so.