New chart info display (under construction)

It’s been quiet on this blog for a while, but not for lack of development. I am working on a number of new features for the next release (probably early next year, though specific timeframe may change).

One issue that many users commented on, and which was neglected until now is chart information display. While S57 chart info displayed by PolarView was comprehensive, it was not particularly easy to read.

This is finally changing now. A new chart info display is under development. It will combine most important data in a single screen, while omitting more technical items (such as what scale to show a given object at). An “old style” comprehensive list will continue to be available, selected as a configuration option.

Here is a screen capture of what a new chart information dialog may look like.

New vector chart info

I found that with this display I am constantly surprised by how much information is in S57 vector charts, much of it unnoticed previously.

That said, this is work in progress and I am interested in your feedback. What do you like about it? What would you change or improve? What would be good extensions to this display to consider in the future?

4 Responses to New chart info display (under construction)

  1. That’s an excellent feature, I would definitely appreciate it. I love the “inspector like” panel that updates depending on which object you highlight.

    In fact, I can see one more option that may make excellent sense as well: perhaps you could offer as a hover option a tooltip that displays summary data also? Either after a brief hover period (to prevent annoying popups going randomly) or once the object is clicked and selected? Of course deselecting would clear the tooltip. In practice, I see this being an either/or option: either the inspector is open and the tooltip does not display, or based on a preference, the tooltip becomes enabled.

    As a paying customer, I highly value your blog and the feedback you provide here, please keep it up!

    • polarnavy says:

      Daniel,

      Thank you for the suggestion – it is an interesting idea!

      I started this info display redesign with a somewhat similar approach (except for hovering/tooltip – for various cross-platform UI reasons). The intent was to create a compact “essential” view of information at a given chart location. As work progressed, it became evident that I can’t choose which objects (and which properties of these objects) are “essential” at any point.

      As a human navigator I can say something like – “at this location on a chart I want to know how deep the rock is”. But as a general rule (implemented in software) it can’t really be guessed. User may want to know what the depth of a rock is, or water depth, or meaning of restricted area. And then each object may have a dozen different properties etc.

      So the design has changed to what is pretty much a complete, though much more readable, presentation of information.

      I hope to get some feedback once this new presentation is released and see if it can be improved.

  2. Looks like the next update will be very cool. Have you considered porting polarView to the iPad? I would love not having lug my laptop up to the bridge and provide power for it. I suspect that changing to a touch screen interface might be daunting, however making the product even more portable could bring in a lot more interest.

    • polarnavy says:

      I sure hope this new release will be worth the wait – it’s been longer in the making than any previous ones. It will include a better support of touch-screen operation for laptops and computers with touch screen.

      Tablets are definitely under consideration, though iPad has a number of challenges due to both technical and organizational reasons.

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