Public Lab Research note

MapKnitter UI evaluation 2: Mapping Nottingham's Urban Greening

by molangmuir10 | July 02, 2019 19:58 02 Jul 19:58 | #19955 | #19955

molangmuir10 was awarded the Basic Barnstar by organizers for their work in this research note.

Since my first evaluation post ( I have encountered some different additional user interface experiences...

As with anything, mapknitter gets quicker and easier the more you use it!

I have made a screen recording video to highlight some of my key experiences and issues when using Mapknitter...

Summary of key issues from the video...

  • Not being able to reduce the size of the image beyond a certain point is frustrating and means I have to re-upload the image.
  • It would be more efficient if you could re-place a previously uploaded image.
  • Occasionally, a white blank space appears at the bottom of the screen (I could be doing something without realising?) This reduces the view area so can be annoying. It also means the zoom too for the map disappears.
  • Using the rotate tool can cause the image to skew slightly
  • When zooming out and then in on skew mode the line jogs. It seems like it is moving, although it doesn't actually move the border. This could be misleading/confusing.
  • The blue square came off one corner so it was uncalibrated. This happened a few times.
  • Red outline would appear at random - sometimes when transparency toggled and sometimes not
  • Download and help links did not work -- how can I download my map?

As well as the screen recording here are some general points from using mapknitter...

  • Sometimes it is hard to move the photo to the EXACT point on which you want it. If you could click the photo and use arrow keys to move the selected photo this could help with the accuracy. At the moment pressing the arrow keys moves the whole map. This is also a good feature. Keep this but add a way of clicking on the photo which selects it so you can then use arrow keys to move accurately.

  • It would be good to have a photo cropper -- some of my images had one bit that was off/blurred but the rest of the image useable. I know this can be done by cropping the original file and reuploading, but it would be much quicker if you could do this in situ.

  • It would be nice to have a save button. Feels scary closing the window without knowing what's happened!

  • I also was thinking if it were possible to make an off-line extension? Particularly for remote research areas or 'on-the-go'.

  • Uploading map through to Publiclab's page was straightforward


@organizers awards a barnstar to molangmuir10 for their awesome contribution!

Reply to this comment...

Hi @molangmuir10 - thanks for all this, we're addressing some immediately, while other suggestions we are incorporating into our planning for future releases. Super helpful.

Re: offline, it's a really good suggestion. Actually a lot of the basic UI of MapKnitter would work offline. The biggest challenge at this point is the ability to export the whole combined map as a single image. I think it's possible to do offline but the bigger the map, the greater the challenge. Can you tell us a bit more about what would be good interim solutions, such as, would it be useful to be able to download individual distorted images even if the "combined map" isn't available in "offline mode"?

Would an SVG image (or even a PDF) of the combined images work, because for various reasons it'd be easier to generate then a combined JPG?


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I think it's possible to do offline but the bigger the map, the greater the challenge

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