The GTN 750 and GTN 650 were announced and available for shipping March 23 when Garmin unveiled them at the Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA) Convention. Also announced at that time were the GTN 635, GTN 625, and GTN 725. As of July 1st these GTN models are now available for purchase and shipping. So what is the difference between the different GTN models? Basically, the GTN 625 and GTN 725 are GPS only, while the GTN 635 is a GPS/COM. The GTN 650 and GTN 750 are GPS/NAV/COM. For a more detailed list of the differences I’ve included a comparison chart from the GTN mini-site. The GTN 625 is priced at $9,595, the GTN 635 at $10,495, and the GTN 725 at $15,000. Now the full line of GTN models are available in a price range for your budget, so to start your panel upgrade visit a Garmin Aviation Dealer near you.
Maps API applications are accessed on desktop and mobile devices of many shapes and sizes with each application having unique goals for conveying information effectively and for facilitating user interactions.
In this session, we wanted to address some common usability problems that many maps developers run into and to suggest possible solutions that could correct the behaviour. We hoped developers would utilize and build upon these suggestions as they encounter problems in their own projects.
Here is an overview of what was discussed in the talk:
Why is usability important and why you should care.
What are the differences between mobile and desktop and how do they relate to map applications.
Techniques for changing the way data is represented on the map and how can change the experience.
Ideas for improving user interaction with the map.
Techniques for storing geospatial data.
Why incorporating sharing into your application improves usage and user happiness.
How changing the appearance of the map can dramatically change the user’s understanding and interpretation of the data.
Justin O’Beirne joined us onstage to talk about map styling and how even the most subtle changes to the map can drastically change the user’s experience. Below is an example of what can be achieved by using styled maps. The two maps are at the same location and have the same data points but the map on the left has had a custom style applied.
By removing the map labels and decreasing the saturation and lightness we are able to emphasise the importance of the data, make it more visually appealing and build a application that is truly our own. If you would like to play more with map styling check out the styled map wizard.
Mobile vs Desktop: I don’t do much with mobile maps so it was interesting to have the differences between mobile and desktop discussed, I liked the idea that users on the desktop are ‘planning’
Rendering Speed: Fast response is an integral part of the UX (user experience), I haven’t really thought about this before except for very slow rendering maps so the discussion at 21 mins in was useful.
Emphasising: Justin’s points about how to use the GMaps API to demphasise uneeded map elements (30mins onwards) were smart and well made. I liked his examples of both good and bad maps.
White roads for routes I especially liked Justin’s point about making roads white for route focussed maps (36 mins), he’s right that it emphasises the route well.
Stuff I didn’t:
Placemark Clustering: At 14.29 Jez and Luke promote the idea that a placemark clustering visualisation is better than not clustering points. Strictly they’re correct as it is a way of tackling the ‘too many points’ problem but I think placemark clustering is flawed and not as good as other techniques. It should be said that this is my opinion – it may be that the clustering they show is actually a very effective technique, the proof would be a user test (which I will have a student looking at later this summer). My point is you shouldn’t promote an unproven technique.
Walk the Walk: It would have been good if the heat map Jez and Luke presented at at 14.58 had heeded Justin’s smart advice and faded the background so the mix of colors stood out. To be fair, I guess it wouldn’t have been straight forward to do this as it was a fusion tables map visualisation rather than a straight instance of the maps API but it can’t be that difficult.
Missing Topics: So they covered a lot of topics but there’s a of UX things that IMHO are relevant to developers that I discussed but which failed to get a mention: Layer control, Icon design (although they did point out that you should choose useful icons rather than just use the default markers), use of color, balloon design, map copy/micro-copy and introductions.