Scholz Week 4 Website Assignment

Scholz Website Week 4 Screenshot - Click to open full page in new tab

Scholz Website Week 4 Screenshot - Click image to open website in new tab

This week I implemented toggles and toggles and toggles…. and Google places. Previous weeks’ layers were remade or retrofitted to make the toggleboggling all-inclusive.

Progress made this week includes…

  • Fixes to problems with last week’s map:
  1. Narrowed bus route selection to a few routes near the area of concern. This isn’t really a fix, since it makes the map all but useless for people who live near other lines… but it keeps the focus on the proposed stops and brings the page more in line with the consensus understanding of the assignment
  2. No more freezing of bus routes on the map. Testing of last week’s map showed that a route or bus could freeze on the map if the link to show it was clicked twice in quick succession (likely due to the delay in fetching data from the Metro API). Since the links were replaced by checkboxes, this problem is resolved.
  3. Converted more formatting to CSS. Some HTML coding exists throughout for convenience, until I get better accustomed to doing small things like centering, bolding, underlining, etc. through CSS.
  4. Added source data for Google Earth, which was previously uncredited for the KMZ files.
  5. Restarted code from scratch to eliminate some of the poor formatting and vestigial bits of code from failed efforts in previous weeks. Added a lot more comments within the code because Kristen said it was too hard to follow.
  • Added functionality
  1. Added some of the most important Google places to the map.
  2. Added toggles for every layer of the map (except the base google map layer, obviously).
  3. Color-coded the bus route displays. Did so dynamically such that an input color would alter the color of the stop icons, bus icons, and infowindow text. Probably took more effort than it was worth.
  4. Improved the information available in the infowindows. Google Place infowindows fetch not only names, but exact addresses, phone numbers, Google ratings, and links to website (if available) or Google Place page. Bus stop and bus infowindows are much more infowindormative.
  5. Allow user to select which demographic layer to display.
  • Possible improvements
  1. Functionality with checkboxes could be improved with more understanding of how they work. For example, the map currently allows the user to show multiple demographic overlays at once. I would much prefer that if one layer is checked, all other layers are automatically unchecked, so that the layers don’t stack. Similarly, options to check or uncheck all boxes in a given section would be useful. A button to return all checkboxes and the map bounds to the original level would be handy as well, so one does not have to refresh the entire page.
  2. Better CSS skills could be used to maintain the page. Getting everything aligned was mostly done through guess and check of pixel dimensions, whereas I’m sure there is a way to do so with % values instead. One problem with the map as formatted is that scaling the page decreases the size of the divs, but does not decrease the size of the checkboxes. Thus they begin to overflow the divs. I got the page to look pretty on my computer at standard zoom and was happy with that, but would like to design it to scale better.
  3. Toggleable overlays are nice to use, but slow down the website a lot. I am not sure if it is the computational load or the dynamic method of plotting the overlays, but they disappear temporarily on my crappy computer whenever the map bounds are changed via zoom or pan. This could be considered an unintentional benefit, as it allows the user to see through the overlay when moving around to find something, then returns the overlay once they’ve found it. Really though, it annoys me and I want it to stop.
  4. Legends/descriptions for each overlay would be very handy. Maybe there is a way to call a legend from the arcGIS server and have it display beneath the overlay title when its box is checked. In the interim, the overlays are mostly self-explanatory, and I am too lazy to create the legends/descriptions from scratch.

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