Do We Need Maps in 3D?

The basic idea of a map is that it uses a series of symbols combined to represent the land we live in.

Google Mobile Maps 5.0 for Android will have 3D interaction.

(more infor on the Google Mobile Blog)

Granted a street map does not provide height elements in the way contours are provided on an OS Explorer or Landranger map, but contours provide more than height information. They provide us with information on gradient and land shape and formation and these are key to route planning.

In New York, as an example, you can rarely tell how tall a building is when standing next to it, so the height will only be useful when at a distance. So this helps with orientation rather planned direction and with an inbuilt compass a simpler tool is already provided in this application.

Map makers have to weigh up the complexity and volume of data they provide with the ease at which this data can be transformed into usable information in the brain.

My questions are

  1. If you can read a street map, how much additional information with the 3D elements provide and will they hinder your map reading.
  2. If you can’t read a street map how much easier is it to navigate with the building superimposed? Is learning to read a map easier when there are fewer items requiring your attention?

Let me know what you think.

Adobe Contribute and Google Analytics Code Don’t play Nice

The standard Google Analytics code contains auto-detection for HTTP/HTTPS. Unfortunately Adobe contribute enforces a level of XHTML compliance that exceeds the level built into the Analytics code causing corruption of the HTML, leaving “)); at the bottom of a page after it has been edited.

The solution to this is to remove the auto-detection and document.write. Read the Analytics Help Forum Archive for more details.

Google Drops Support for IE6 – Hurrah!

Happiness is a web developer reading that Google is dropping support for IE6.

That is me this afternoon as I received the news from Google that they will be phasing out support for Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 as well as other older browsers that are not supported by their own manufacturers.

Google will start with their Docs suite and move on to Google Main and Google Calendar. By showing Apps users the message that they should upgrade their browser the number of users on outdated software should certainly fall.

In my opinion, this can only be a good thing; for internet users, for website owners, for web designer/developers, for all.

Keyterms and Metatags

This month Matt Cutts talked about how Google doesn’t use the keyword meta tag in web search.

After watching this video someone came to me and was quite surprised “Did you know that google doesn’t use the meta tag in its search algorithm?”

Well… Yes, I did know. This is not latest news. Google haven’t used key terms for a while.

But that doesn’t mean that they are not useful and that identifying them is not a key stage in your website design and SEO. I work with my clients to get a good understanding of their potential visitors through a few techniques that include identifying how they think and what they will query when they sit in front of a search engine.

These terms are then used within copy and the code. These will also make up a basis for AdWord terms.

So just because Google isn’t using the keyword meta tag, don’t dismiss the process of identifying your key terms.

Drupal Google Analytics Module

Not sure about how to put Google Analytics into a Drupal installation? Go take a look at Brian Stevenson’s videos on installing the Google-Analytics module. They’re Awesome!

Installing & Configuring the Google Analytics Module for Drupal 6.x

Configuring User Segmentation in the Google Analytics Module for Drupal 6.x

Advanced Tracking in the Google Analytics Module for Drupal 6.x

Advanced JavaScript Tweaks in the Google Analytics Module for Drupal 6.x

The Drupal module for Google Analytics can be found at