Monday, September 17, 2007

Yahoo! MapMixer - Maybe not so wow! after all!

In a previous post on MapMixer, I had written about how throughly amazed I was by this new online tool. After working with it a little more - I have to take that wow a couple of notches lower. Like I said previously - Microsoft's MapCruncher can truly crunch maps that are complex and havent been drawn to scale. It allows you to add many tie points which is then used to warp the overlay image to the actual map data. With Yahoo MapMixer.... you have basic two tie point match. Which doesnt allow for warping of the image - just scaling. So if your image is not to scale then tough luck trying to get it to overlay properly. (Especially as an online app - its pretty hard to get the overlay correct - especially if the connection is a little slow). So once you use the two tie point match method, it brings you to the main map - after which you are pretty much on your own.... and it gets very hard to get any fine tuning in the overlay (Unless I am missing some nifty key strokes to get more tie points in). MapMixer is a great way forward - once it does more of what MapCruncher can do - it will be a killer app. (Basically allowing for more tie points - thereby allowing for much more complex transformations on the input imagery - would be all that this app needs to be come a killer app)

1 comment:

David said...

Hey Raj - I am one of the original developers of Yahoo MapMixer and appreciated your comments here. We debated quite a bit about multi-tie points, but to simulate what they have in MapCruncher would take significant processing and is definitely not something that can be done in a smooth client-side AJAX app.

There are some tools for moving around the image and rotating on the last page of uploading, but they don't allow any more tie points.

Basically, our thought was that let's give the user two tie points to get them started and 90% there, and then let them adjust and fine-tune on the final page. It came down to the 80/20 rule - if 80% of maps are to scale, then we didn't want to spend 80% of the work accounting for the non-scaled maps.

You can ping me at david at davidyang dot net to talk more and I will download MapCruncher now to experiment (I had used the Google Earth overlay feature quite a bit as inspiration but surprisingly never found MapCruncher) :)