Saturday, September 02, 2006

Back from holidays with some improvements

During my summer holidays I've been adding some new functionality to Wikiloc. Here's the most relevant improvements:

  • Geocoding. You can find tracks and waypoints within a radius from an address or a known place worldwide. I've used the geocoding capabilities of the Google Maps API.

  • Driving directions. You can get driving directions to the start of tracks or points of interest (using Google Maps routing). That way you can get a detailed guide to arrive by car to the start of routes or points of interest and start your hike/ride from there.
  • Support for very detailed GPS tracks. From now on tracks with many points draw fast and without freezing your browser. Wikiloc serves some tracks of near 5000 points; and this is not a limit at all. So you can adjust the settings of your GPS receiver to record tracks at its highest accuracy :-)
  • Performance improvements:

    The response times drawing pages are better since now data is pulled from the server on demand when you first access it. For example, the content displayed on the information windows that pop up when you click on a location on the map are populated this way.

    In-browser geometry caching. When you fetch a track by clicking on the eye icon, the geometry is displayed and stored in a local cache. Later on if you turn it off/on again it won't need to be fetched from the server again.

  • Your data is safer. I'm running daily backups instead of weekly.
  • Many little fixer uppers that are not worth mentioning here but I hope will make your Wikiloc experience better.

What I have in my 'to do' list:

  • Improve the search / zoom behavior. Including a kind of auto-search-on-pan-or-zoom feature.
  • Add a “questions to the author” message thread for each location (to start conversations like 'hey, is this walking trail cyclable?', 'are there bears in the zone?')
  • Show news and important messages on the home page. I'm thinking in pulling the RSS feed from this weblog.
  • Weekly/monthly *optional* Email alerts to authors with statistics of their locations (number of views/downloads/ratings/comments).
  • The Wikiloc's Forum

Thanks to all of you that have contacted me suggesting some of those changes. Hope you'll keep sending me your feedback!

No comments: