Future Plans

DSmaps is currently in alpha, with only a modicum of error handling and just the bare minimum functionality. Here’s a rough outline, in no particular order, of what I’m going to add over the coming weeks and months:

  • Copyright acknowledgement – the app needs to overlay some text along the bottom of the map acknowledging the rightful owner of whatever set of map tiles is being displayed.
  • Scale, zoom level indicator, centre point, etc. – as described, just useful stuff to be overlaid on the map (though I’ve tried out the centre point and it looks a bit naff – herself reckons it looks like it’s denoting the location of a church!).
  • Proper UI on lower screen – adding many of the features described below will necessitate this anyway.
  • Automatic pre-fetch – have the app automatically pre-fetch the tiles that are adjacent to the current viewing area so that panning does not result in a download.
  • Manual pre-fetch for offline viewing – allow the user to designate a certain area to be available for offline viewing by pre-fetching all the tiles within (down to a specified zoom level). This would obviously need to work in a responsible way, e.g. it would need to advise the user of roughly how much image data will be downloaded, how long it will take, etc. And it would most likely want to stop them doing something stupid like starting from a view of the World and fetching right down to maximum zoom level.
  • Sounds – will make the thing a bit more interesting to use and some feedback that a button was properly pressed, etc.
  • Navigation by stylus – I’m not convinced about this one and would like some suggestions. I don’t see the point in doing it just because I can. I think the app will look best when it displays lists, buttons, menus, dialogs, etc. on the bottom screen and the map proper on the top screen. But the problem then is that the top screen isn’t a touchscreen. One idea is to put a thumbnail map (one or two zoom levels out) somewhere on the bottom screen showing the wider context of where you are, and allow the stylus to be used on this. This would slow the app up however as it would have to fetch tiles for the thumnnail map too (being at a different zoom level).
  • Better Wi-Fi management – allow configuration of an access point from within DSmaps, without having to go into another application, such as the Nintendo WFC Settings in Mario Kart. Also, it would be nice to allow automatic binding to any public access points that don’t require a WEP key.
  • Cache control – at the moment, the cache directives coming back from the keyhole server are ignored so map tiles remain valid forever. That said, they always seem to say “this is good for a year” so perhaps this isn’t such a big deal.
  • Bookmarks/Favourites – allow users to save favourite locations. Does anyone know if somebody has a trademark on the word ‘placemark’?
  • Portrait orientation – allow the app to be rotated to the portrait screen orientation, as used by Brain Training (Brain Age in the US).
  • Dual screen mode – provide a viewing mode in which the map would span both screens. And I suppose this would also answer the ‘what can I do with the stylus?’ question.
  • Geocoding – just like Google Maps and numerous other popular mapping applications, allow the user to type a location in plain English and have DSmaps jump to that location (or ask the user to choose between alternatives if the location is ambiguous).
  • Automatic location determination – initially, this would just use one of the many web services that return a rough location in the World based on IP address. The holy grail however would be to have something like iPod Touch, where it works out exact location by getting the SSIDs of local Wi-Fi access points, and passing them to a web service that returns geographic coordinates. That would be very cool.
  • Localisation – so that we can have DSmaps as Gaeilge 🙂

Please let me know what you think I should prioritise, what I’ve missed, etc. I’ll then update this page in situ without necessarily acknowledging each comment.

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18 Responses to Future Plans

  1. Pas says:

    I second the offline map downloading and other stuff ! It is a neat project. Why don’t you polish it so it will look VERY good and then enter it into the Neocompo ?

    My vote would be yours for sure.

    Thanks for this, I really have waited for a homebrew like this !

  2. Starstremr says:

    Dude this is bad azzz I like the way you got it so far thumbs up keep up the good work… Do you plan on having it giving driving directions ? from one location to another ?

  3. alexsolex says:

    Hi

    I like it very very much !

    I would love to use stylus on map to pan or even zoom in (just put 2 overlay icons on corners for example).
    Top screen could be use for something different … don’t really know what.
    The best ever, would be to be able to switch the map from touch screen to top screen and “vice versa”

    I have a future plan for you. Would it be possible to not block the keys while downloading ? I mean, you may need to zoom several time because you know you are too far, or you could want to pan some times before beeing on the place you want. So, downloading process would have to be each time a key is pressed, cancelling the previous one.

  4. newbie2356 says:

    hey, I got a good use for the stylus and it may be a bit difficult to do but here goes:

    what if you have the map screen on the bottom screen, then you use the stylus to “draw” your path of where you are to where you want to go (or use it in conjunction with that auto drawer that they have on the official site), then after that it will download the zoom levels of that path,

    also, another idea would be to make it like zelda phantom hour glass, and be able to draw notes and is separate from the red line of your trip

    P.S. every now and then, when i try to download, it can’t find an access point (even though i know its there), and one more thing that message when it can’t find an access point is a bit anoying, maybe you could isolate that message and move it somewhere else on the screen

  5. nanou says:

    If you want the map to exist generally on the top screen, you can always use the convention of switching screens when R/L or maybe X is pressed. Then using it for panning would be easy. Or you could keep the map on the top screen and just use the bottom for panning. You don’t really need to see where on the map the stylus is for basic panning.

    Something I’d like to see is the ability to draw on the map to define the zoom level (for faster zooming.) Between pen down and pen up, just ensure all points are on the screen at the new zoom level… or something to that effect.

    For the manual pre-fetch, it might be best to let the user set an ‘offline cache size’ or whatever and have the app intelligently control the amount of detail for each stored location based on the total available space vs # of locations. This is the feature I’d use most and easily brings up the usefulness by an order of magnitude.

    PS. You’ve got some great ideas, I hope to see this app mature.

  6. CyBerBot says:

    I like it sounds relly good you should think about integrating it into ds orgnize!!

  7. tester says:

    This is a very promising project. Even in it´s early stage it has a lot of potential!

    To make this a really useful tool it´s necessary to cache a bigger part of a map, so you can consul the map even when there´s no open WLan nearby. But I´ve need you plan this in the future. I´m looking forward to it!

  8. Mgamerz says:

    To Cyberbot:
    DSOrganize has died, Dragonminded gave up on the project, and by the way he talks (Like he was ever nice when he talked <_<) he’s never going to pick it up again or provide support.
    I like the auto download and the level download. I’d love to just download my whole area at once. Then I could have maps anytime! (I take my DS everywhere; You never know when you might need communications!)

  9. xnamkcor says:

    I also second the offline mode idea. Also, I would like to be able to input the address as text and search for it.

  10. Vinícius Ferrão says:

    I would like to suggest a precache feature.

    For example, I live in Rio de Janeiro/Brasil and will be really useful a precache of my state map, with EVERYTHING. Since the real advantage of this homebrew is to find yourself in the streets hehe, and not at home with my access point.

  11. mUshr00m says:

    Dude this is excellent functionality 2 thumbs up you should develop it and work on it

  12. Anthony says:

    I think this is a great piece of software…

    Regarding the wi-fi side, how about putting a signal strength icon on the screen? When I’m walking round the house, it sometimes hangs when I go out of range from my access point

  13. Furegato says:

    I really like your homebrew. I saved me of some traffic jams already … I could see some interesting routes from my DS … I just moved to a Big city … If I could do the Manual pre-Fetch I would be very … very … very happy with you little but very useful homebrew …
    Keep the good work on it man… I really enjoy you little program…

  14. Wizard says:

    Hi, I really appreciate your ideas and the whole project, your’e working on. I just learned about the main abilities of your software and I’m very curious about your future efforts. Without having used DSmaps yet (as I said, learned about its existence a few minutes ago) my favorite of your future plans is clearly the manual pre-fetch for offline viewing. That will give me the freedom of using it everywhere, regardless of WiFi-Hotspots.

    Good Luck

    Michael

  15. Phil says:

    Future plans look really interesting! Im especially excited for offline features and the locator function. Keep up the good work! Please keep updating this awesome program. This is one of the most useful apps.

  16. Mike says:

    Hi, the homebrew works great but I do believe there is a need for a manual offline mode so that you can view all maps in your cache without worrying you’ll get stuck waiting for a connection for just the one portion that you forgot to cache beforehand. Plus, there are bound to be people out there who will build a collection of maps in their cache for their city/town and its only a matter of time before people start sharing cache “map packs”. Keep up the good work, this program can only get better!

  17. godrik says:

    Hi,
    I haven’t seen anything about licensing of DSmaps, neither source code. I would like to help improving the software. I have already written code for NintendoDS (you can find a basic game i wrote at http://godrik.mandragor.org/~godrik/QixDS-website/ ). So if you want some help, you can contact me at: @mandragor.org

  18. Omega says:

    A sugestion as to stylus map browsing: I would think it would be a good idea to have such a feature as it could potentially allow for faster navigation, however for the reasons you said it seems impractical…well not actually, just impractical in the sense most people would expect, nither thumb nailing, nor having the botom screen be the map veiw make sense…however a swap button could work out quite nicely(press [x] to swap screens, sorta deal) this way the menu would be fully touched but then at the user’s discression the map could be used with touch aswell, maybe at a later time you could then add services like POI or driving directions…altho both of those to me always seemed rather intensive so i dont know if they could be done on DS.. well thanx for giving this an eye over…

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