GeoLocation meets GeoSpatial: Application Development and Design for the Tablet
Do I own a tablet PC yet? It pains me to admit not. As a geospatial Flex developer the IPad, even though we can now sidestep the silly Apple restrictions, remains a pain. I am waiting for the Android tablet Spring releases. This has not stopped me from closely watching location based application being currently developed. Two in particular caught my attention. Both are weather related apps, but have maps and geo-referenced data at their core. In many ways they are geolocation mash ups. Allowing access to data, video, camera images etc.
My favourite without doubt. The Weather bug app has an interactive map, and right side widget list. The widgets display summary data when docked. Drag or select one and it open over the map, as a move-able pop up. These are rich data widgets containing; web cams, short/long term forecast etc.
A little more complex than the Weather Bug app, the Weather Channel IPad application is a wonderful user experience. With a subdivided main screen, scrolling panel right provides data and additional links. Again access to weather related data is easy. Techcritic (see video below) did not like the base button for opening pages; very ‘old fashioned’. They did not bother me.
I’ve seen these roll page maps on a number of mobile sites; weather channel use them as do ESRI. I remain undecided if I like them. Roll the map up, add a layer then roll it down. Its interesting and new but ….
Though there are many flavours of geospatial maps online. The development community, particularly those working with GIS, will need to think long and hard about tablet application design. This would apply both to Web accessible tablet applications, and installed applications. The two applications above, certainly provide a great user experience. Simple to use, elegant and packed with relevant targeted content.
Roll on the Spring when I can start putting ideas into real applications.