Pima County Geographic Information Systems
Autodesk MapGuide Wish List
Wishes that are good version 6.5 "service pack" candidates
- (High priority)
Optionally show available layers grayed out like MapGuide Author does.
Users need to know what's available.
When they see a grayed out layer name, they should be able to view its
properties so then will know what scale(s) it's viewable at.
Expand options when the user right-clicks on a layer in the index on the left, including:
- (High priority) Display layer information including the scale(s) it's available at.
- (Medium priority) Change layer priority in viewer.
- (Medium priority) Go to a URL the author has associated with the layer.
We would use this to link to a display of metadata or a description of the layer.
- (Lower priority) Turn labels on and off with the default set by Author.
Zoom Goto wishes:
- Change "Location" to "Value" in Zoom Goto dialog. Better yet, make it programmable
in the MWF.
While technically correct, "Location" doesn't make sense in many cases, such as
when entering someone's name.
While you are zooming in to a geographic location, the context of the dialog box
ought to be from the point of view of the attribute database that is being searched and
not the resulting map view. Zoom Goto takes tabular information and displays
That's why the dialog labels would be more meaningful in the tabular domain.
- Allow horizontal scrolling in zoom goto "Location" dialog box returned from a zoom goto request.
Enable the "Copy as URL" right mouse click function to use a base URL address specified by MapGuide Author.
That is, append the URL parameters to to an Author-specified URL machine name and path.
Now the URL is always to the MWF when the author might prefer to have the URL specify the HTML (or CFM) that
encloses the MWF.
Without this, API controls and surrounding frames are lost when Copy as URL is used to save or send a map.
Add ability to zoom to a user-specified latitude and longitude in either degrees/minutes/seconds or decimal degrees format.
(Added and submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org 08/29/2000. We have since added this function through the API.)
Give the user the option of displaying the mouse position latitude and longitude in degrees/minutes/seconds in addition
to the existing decimal degrees format. (Added and submitted to email@example.com 08/29/2000)
Allow the help button to optionally go to a URL we specify where
the author could provide map-specific help as well as a link to the online MapGuide viewer help.
- (Medium priority) Add the ability to specify a specific selection color rather than inverting
the color of the selected object. The changing colors confuse users and cause mis-interpretation with theming colors.
- Zoom Goto wishes:
- (Medium priority) Make the default zoom width programmable in Author for each zoom goto category.
As it is now, users are confused as the Zoom Goto width units change from miles to feet, depending on the scale.
Also, if they take the default width, it's the full width of the current display and their Zoom Goto does essentially
nothing, except perhaps a slight shift of the center position.
- (Medium priority) Add a way to show more information about how the user should use Zoom Goto's.
Maybe this could be a URL associated with each Zoom Goto.
- (Lower priority) More space for longer descriptions of Zoom Goto categories.
- (Lower priority) Be able to change the display order of Zoom Goto's.
- Report wishes:
- (Lower priority) Be able to change the display order of Reports.
- (Lower priority) Add a way to show more information about how the user should use Reports.
Maybe this could be a URL associated with each report.
MapGuide SDF Loader
Now the /name value is used for both map tips and feature labels.
Provide two options, one for map tips and one for labels so they can be different.
One related problem now is that if you use \n in the name to have multiple-line map tips, then if you use labels,
the \n isn't interpreted and it's all strung out with the \n's on one line. This also affects the viewer.
Add an SDF Loader option to dump the X,Y coordinates and key value.
This would simplify implementing Zoom Gotos.
Wishes not likely to be 6.5 "service pack" candidates
These wishes may deal with
inherent architectural issues or are big changes.
As such, they aren't likely candidates.
Some are nice but not important (strategically or otherwise).
- Give end user more control over the map.
- Allow the user to change
many things that can only be done in MapGuide Author now.
Specifically, change layer priority, change layer colors and transparency,
and turn labels on and off. Without this, we end up having multiple copies of the
same layer with different attributes: filled/transparent, with labels and without labels, etc.
It's getting out of hand. (Modified 5/13/1999)
- Let the user have a profile to control and customize the map display.
This needs to include data layers they never want to see or to change the "visible" attribute.
- Give the user the option of showing the available layers sorted alphabetically by name as
well as by priority. They get hard to find when there are lots of them.
This is our biggest user complaint.
Support overlapping polygon layers. This includes some way to support map tips, single-click drill-down selections,
and double-clicking for polygons where all of the polygon is "under" one or more other polygons.
Overlapping polygons are inherent in some types of GIS data.
- Add capability for end user to save the current view data in a format such as DWG or SHP.
This would give incredible power to end users and compete with ArcExplorer which
allows similar saves.
- Display attribute data (yellow map tip) until mouse is out of the displayed map feature area, not just until mouse is moved.
This could be done either by having the map tip follow the mouse, or by not changing the displayed map tip until mouse movement stops.
- Users would like the bookmark feature to remember visible layers
as well as the extents of the view. (Added 12/4/1998)
- Be able to specify a popup target window that is different than the report target window.
The ReportTarget URL parameter receives pages from View Reports as well as GetPointAndSendToURL (and possibly other)
popup actions. I'm not sure if this is a bug or a feature, but it would be nice to control popup targets separately
from report targets. The DefaultTarget parameter says it is just for OpenURL and OpenMap popup actions. (Added 12/16/1998)
- Users want to be able to print a map including the contents of the currently displayed map tip (a.k.a. yellow flyout).
This is important to them because it frequently defines the primary subject of the map they are printing.
This might be done with a keyboard hot key. (Added 3/15/1999)
- When the "Max Return" value for Zoom Goto is exceeded the viewer should display something like
"List truncated". This way the user will know that the list is truncated and it does not include all the values from their search. Without this feature,
a user can be led to believe certain objects don't exist, when they really are in the data. (Added 9/24/1999)
- Enable a way for the "Copy as URL" function to optionally include the currently visible layers.
Now the URL reflects just the current pan and zoom and not the actual map being viewed.
When we teach MapGuide we always have to explain that if you use "Copy as URL" to send a map to someone else,
they won't see the layers you have turned on (or off).
Implementation may be messy, but a URL parameter with a bit map of all layers should do it.
This particular implementation would not preserve the correct layers if layers are added or deleted from the MWF
after the "Copy as URL". (Added 11/12/1999)
When the size of the map (as set by Map Window Properties in Author) causes polygonal features to be clipped,
the user sees closed polygons with a line along the clip boundary.
This misrepresents the map features which are really larger than what is displayed.
The solution is to omit the line that closes polygons along the clip border.
Polygons extending beyond the map size would appear "open".
This would help alert the user that there are portions of the map feature that are not displayed.
If the polygon is filled (as with color or hatch) then the fill needs to stop at the clip boundary,
but there should be no line at the edge.
This is similar to what is commonly done on paper maps.
(The initial view at
shows the desired effect
which was accomplished by using a line feature class for the polygon boundaries, and a transparent polygon
layer of the same features just to get the polygon labels.
It shouldn't be necessary to go through these hoops or suffer the performance impact of using two layers
to represent one.)
(Added and submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org 07/11/2000)
Change to better buffer defaults: Red, crosshatch, thick border (Added 05/20/2002)
- In order to better handle identical layers that differ only by their /GENERALIZE amount at SDF load time,
have the concept of coupled data layers that share names, visibility, theme settings, and anything else in common.
In addition to simplifying authoring, coupled layers would turn on and off at the same time, so the user wouldn't
be surprised by turning a layer off at one scale, only to have it appear at another scale. (Requires changes in viewer too.)
This concept also applies to raster layers that have different resolutions. There are probably other reasons one might want to have the user see a "single" layer that has different sources depending on the scale.
While I initially thought of some mechanism to couple multiple layers, it may be more appropriate to have a single layer definition that allows specification of multiple sources.
While Author allows attributes to vary by scale, perhaps the concept needs to be expanded to allow the "Setup" tab information
that includes the SDF source to vary by scale as well. (Clarification and expansion added 10/14/1999)
- Add an option to not display the default in the legend when doing a theme classification.
For polygon layers you can remove the label and set the fill to blank, but it still takes up space in the legend.
Workarounds for point and line layers don't work well. (Added 1/15/1999)
Find some way to enable the author to turn layers on and off as he works without changing the default layer visibility settings.
Without this, the author has to be vigilant to be sure that layer visibility is returned to the proper state for all layers before saving.
It's very easy to mess it up.
The solution might require keeping two sets of visibility settings, one for the viewing session (View tab) and one to save to the MWF (Design tab).
Add a way in Author to specify the width of the map legend. (Added 10/4/1999)
Show the entire color palette to select colors for theme values. It is very tedious now to scroll through 256 colors in a small window.
It is also difficult to choose a color when you can't see your choice relative to the others. This problem isn't so bad
to select just one color, but assigning colors to many values is a real chore.
We made the Autodesk MapGuide Ultimate Color Chart to help us deal with this problem.
(Added and submitted to email@example.com 02/10/2000)
Allow themed display of text layers. In our case the map feature is address text and we want to have the text color vary for different types of addresses. (Added and submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org 02/16/2000)
Add translucent to polygon fill style choices in addition to the current None, Solid and Hatch.
This would enable more options for viewing more than one polygonal layer at the same time.
Now, a solid display blocks everything below it.
(Hatch works in some cases, but not all, especially when you have more than one hatched layer.) (Added and submitted to email@example.com 05/24/2000)
MapGuide SDF Loader
- The loader should be able to optionally add X,Y coordinates for use with Zoom Goto.
- The /link feature of the SDF loader needs a way to encode database text strings to URL format, such as
converting blanks to plus signs.
This should perform the same function as the ColdFusion function URLENCODEDFORMAT.
- Load text strings used with /NAME and /LINK from the command line ONCE,
rather than copying the string for each feature.
Each feature would reference the string which is common to the data layer.
The solution to this would probably affect the loader, possibly the server, and the viewer.
Text strings would then be replicated (or better yet, referenced) at viewer time,
rather than SDF loader time, significantly reducing
the storage and transmission of redundant information.
(Our parcel SDF grew by more than 20% just by adding a /LINK URL, resulting in reduced user performance.
We managed to save most of this space and return some of the performance by shortening the URL.
This won't always be possible and we shouldn't have to do it. Besides, why did the SDF need
to store 330,000 copies of "http://gis.pima.gov/maps/detail.cfm?parcel="? One should be sufficient.)
Added 12/21/1998: On second thought, constant text strings for /NAME and /LINK should be specified by Author and
saved in the MWF (and not in the SDF). These strings are essentially like display attributes, not entirely unlike color etc.
This technique has the important added benefit of making text strings available to SQL data layers for /NAME and /LINK
functions in the same manner as the SDF Loader does now.
Today, the SDF Loader text functions are not available to SQL data layers which must add fields to
the database for customized names and the complete URL link.
If these text strings were stored in the MWF, then the same features could be made available to both SDF and SQL
- Provide functions for string and numeric value manipulation at load time.
(We have to run dBASE and/or ARC/INFO to do this now.)
- Add ability to kill individual server requests in the queue that have run rampant, such
as a data layer or image request that is hosing the server. (Added 10/18/1999)
Raster Image Workshop
- Add command line access to the Raster Image Workshop for batch processing images. (Added 10/18/1999)