Friday - February 11, 2005
Have you seen the new Google maps yet?
I find the delivery mechanism and the user interface very interesting.
If you can operate a virtual microscopy viewer of my design, you will be very familiar using Google maps. The map data similar to digital microscope slide data is immense and is delivered in tiles, the user can scroll around the map by clicking and dragging with the mouse. The user can also center the view with a double click of the mouse, my viewers use a single click because I have found that some of our users have problems with a double click. Zoom is controlled with a slide bar on the left, thus also acting as an indicator of the current zoom level. There is currently no thumbnail or concurrent overview of the image as you navigate, but I guess they will eventually have that as well.
Interesting that they chose to deliver all this with the built in scripting engine of the browsers. On the positive side, they don't rely on any plugin to be present on the users system, like a Java VM or Flash, but on the negative side they become very specific to certain browsers. For instance this doesn't work on the Safari web browser on the Mac yet.