Bigger Smaller Maps

By request, I've replaced the Large/Small checkbox on the Mobile Map page with a drop-down containing four size choices, for mobile devices with bigger screens. Ω


Minor Poster tweaks

Per request, I've added the ability to specify style options (and other parameters) from the post.htm demo page. As a convenience for web authors, the Poster API now handles options passed in as POST parameters, not just GET parameters. Ω


Minor Updates - Uisilrao, Theron, Delphi, Kaa G!'kul

Some minor updates, hopefully nothing breaks:

  • Ley Sector has IL (Imperial - Luriana Cultural) and IU (Imperial - Ursa Cultural) allegiances - map to "Im" for the purposes of rendering for map consistency (cultural regions are not generally called out on my map)
  • Coordinates API now takes sector[/hex] OR sx/sy[/hx/hy] and returns (World-space) x/y in addition to sx/sy/hx/hy
  • API docs now validate as HTML 4.0 Transitional
  • Added Universe API for fetching high level data about the universe - list of known sectors


Here There Be Dragons

"Right now, our map of the Milky Way still has large areas marked 'Here there be dragons.' Ten years from now, those areas will be filled in," said Mark Reid, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. - Universe Today

A realistic rendering of a two-armed Milky Way is to be had at Astronomy Picture of the Day in lovely mouse-over format, or the originals at the Spitzer Space Telescope site.

Somewhere on the TODO list is to make the map look something like this in Candy style when you zoom out all the way.



JumpMap and Credits tweaks

Three slight tweaks:


Coordinate Systems

Thanks to API users, I realized my documentation of coordinate systems used by the site and various APIs was horrible.

Please take a peek at the new Coordinate Systems documentation and let me know if it makes any more sense. Ω


The Equinox is Nigh: Candy and Eggs

Wayne Peters dropped me an updated background image for the Candy Style rendering. The old image was a JPEG, and since you always see it zoomed in the artifacts were noticeable. The new image is a PNG and so no more artifacts. The tiles themselves are still JPEG, but you don't notice the compression. (example)

Also... it's that time of the year again. My wife has broken out her pysanky-making tools again and chickens are looking nervous. While decorating some she glanced at some of my Traveller maps laying about (I finally picked up copies of the Judges Guild sectors), and said "you should do a map egg - you design it, I'll do all the work". So here it is:



Border Generation

I've written up a paper and demo page on the updates to the allygen algorithms by J. Greely I used to generate most of the borders that weren't previously documented.
The modified allygen code I used isn't terribly pretty, but is available on request. I'd like to clean it up before publishing it. The demo version is reimplemented in JavaScript and is much easier to read. I encourage you to check out the source.

Would a full blown web app that lets you copy/paste .SEC files and interactively generate border descriptors (useful for sec2pdf ) be useful for anyone? Ω


Bug Fix: Opera/Safari Searching

David Somers reported an issue with searching on Opera and Safari - odd, since I tested those browsers!

It turned out that search worked, but the options panel didn't reconfigure to make more room for the search results, so on small screens the results would be hidden. I think this dated back from the browser compatibility work from a while back... and I just assumed those browsers were buggy. Oops - turned out to be a subtle JavaScript issue - comparing an uninitialized parameter against null instead of undefined. It only worked because IE and Firefox apparently would report that state as === null and === undefined, even though null !== undefined. Weird.

Anyway, fixed. Ω


Beta: Overlay Rectangle

On request, I've added a follow-on to the You Are Here feature in Beta for iframe:

Overlay Rectangle:
  • Specify ox, oy, ow and oh as the x, y, width and height of an overlay box in map coordinates.
  • This is rendered as a translucent overlay on top of the map. The appearance is hard-coded.
  • This is supported for IFRAME only. There is no option for the user to move or remove the overlay.
  • The details of this API are subject to change without warning.
Atlas of the Imperium coverage area:

Spinward Marches:
http://www.travellermap.com/iframe.htm?ox=-112.104&oy=80&ow=27.776&oh=40 Ω


Afachtiabr (Far Frontiers)

Courtesy of James Kundert (a.k.a. GypsyComet), the coreward half of Far Frontiers, a.k.a. Afachtiabr, is now filled in. This is based on his work originally published in The Traveller Chronicle, rounding out Dale Kemper's rimward half originally developed for FASA.

Also, I improved the rendering of asteroids at high scales. I played with a few algorithms for "random, but not actually random" positioning. Ω

Jump Maps, You Are Here, and More

I was out of town for several days with my computer but no Internet connection and evenings to myself, so I did a fair bit of work on the site. A lot of the work went into fielding requested features.

What's New:
  • Added JumpMap API - generate a Jump-N map for any location

Jump-3 Map for Regina

  • Keyboard scrolling is now enabled in IFRAMEs
    • You will want to specify SCROLLING="no" in the IFRAME tag on your site
  • Asteroids are now rendered as semi-random clusters of ellipses at high scales
  • Add MapOptions.ForceHexes (add 8192 to always draw hexagonal parsecs, not squares)
[UPDATE 2008-02-03] Fixed use of ForceHexes for the main page and IFRAME - it was being masked out. Should work now.
  • Tweak min scales for features to support 24 & 48 pixels/parsec more nicely
  • Lots of API documentation cleanup
  • iframe.htm now takes "You Are Here" parameters (yah_sx, sah_sy, yah_hx, yah_hy) that define a sector/hex pair to put a marker on - example. There can be only one such marker, and there is no UI (or finalized script API) to set, move, or clear it.
  • Combat client-side memory bloat by:
    • Clearing tile cache after following a non-animated link
    • Request metadata with a time threshold, to avoid hundreds of aborted HTTP requests
  • Fix candy background tiling for legend (caused by a floating point underflow issue in GDI+)
Plus lots of (hopefully) invisible internal changes. Ω



Here's my "To Do" list for the site. Many of these are probably incomprehensible, but I thought I'd share anyway
  • FEATURE: Support custom data for sector.htm LBB generator
  • LOC: Detect language setting "Accept-Language:", serve Japanese version (it turns out a lot of the site traffic is from Japan. Go figure!)
  • IMPL/FEATURE: Style object that's data only
    • Cache object for brushes, etc
    • Allow passing in via parameters (options and scale are presets)
    • Scale is just a seed - use next-highest scale
  • FEATURE: Search by regex on (UWP, PBG, ...)
  • BUG: Terra should look like Earth in Candy style
  • BUG: iframe doesn't show if "Disable script debugging" is unchecked (WTF?) - IE bug? Maybe cookies can't be loaded or something?
  • IMPL/PERF: Add more condensed route storage (perf, size)
  • QUALITY: Investigate DrawClosedCurve for candy borders
  • FEATURE: Style options - hexes at every level
  • QUALITY: Up the JPEG quality for Candy a bit
  • DATA: Incorporate Theron sector from BeRKA (?)
  • DATA: Incorporate Uistilao sector from BeRKA (?)
  • DATA: Use Kaa'G!kul data from HIWG (?)
  • DATA: Incorporate MWM's new T5 data
  • IMPL: Reconsider JavaScript class/object style
    • Use Class.prototype.func = function() ... rather than this.func, and other extern logic
    • Verify that inline functions for event handlers aren't leaking memory
  • FEATURE: Support different data sets (Judge's Guild, etc)
What else should I have on the list? Ω

Traveller Wikia Links

Thomas Jones-Low over at the Traveller Wikia has started a project to update the structured data elements of the wiki (which are rendered using "infoboxes" in mediawiki parlance) so that they generate IFRAMEs pulling from the map site, where appropriate. w00t! Ω

Data Overview, Gushemege Routes, Keyboard Controls

It's time for another look at the map's data/metadata coverage - the last one was back in 2006. Here is a dotmap render at 2 pixels/parsec showing all parsec-level borders and all routes:

  • The rendering and encoding pipeline doesn't guarantee a single pixel per world, or even uniform brightness, so the dotmap should not be analyzed too closely - just gauge data density (i.e. "this is a rift" or "there's no data for this sector")
  • This does not include Chtierabl or the Zhodani Core Route which, let's face it, is just a long, mostly straight line.
I've also made two additions:
  • Routes for Gushemege were added based on Traveller 1248 Sourcebook 2: Bearers of the Flame (download sector map in PDF format). I figure the Fourth Imperium xboat routes are probably pretty close to the Third Imperium xboat routes at least within the sector, since the backstory is that Usdiki Pocket fared pretty well. The edges of the sector - outside the 1248 4I borders - have sparse routes.
  • You can now use the I, J, K and L keys to scroll the map as well as + and - to zoom in and out. This only applies to the main map page, not IFRAME embedded versions.


What's Missing?

Apart from dorking around with experiments, the actual content of the site is reasonably stable. So I was pondering... what's missing? What are the gaps in the data that we should endeavor to fill in? Let me throw that question out to the readers.

Off the top of my head:
  • Borders in K'kree space
  • Borders in Hiver space
  • Coreward half of Far Frontiers (I have an email out to James Kundert)
  • Routes in Ilelish, Zarushagar, Gushemege, Delphi, Alpha Crucis
What else?

This is a subtly different question than "what should I do next?" - I'll post an updated roadmap soon for comments. Ω


Blogger Template Updated

I kinda accidentally updated the blogger template for the actual blog site, and had to frantically edit it back into the classic TRAVELLER style (Optima/Univers, black-on-white). Let me know if anything isn't readable.

No changes to the map or the RSS feed. Ω


LBB Generator

I played a bit more with the sector.htm page - adding a title page, tweaks to the layout, and so forth. The page code is also slightly more interesting to peruse - to make it easier to modify I wrote a JavaScript Template mechanism that defines the transform using XSLT-like constructs (if, foreach) embedded in the HTML as attributes (jt_if, jt_foreach) itself, and JSONT-like expression embedding sequences ({$.index}, {$.title}), and operates over a JavaScript data construct. The expression language is JavaScript itself and "$" is set to the current object as the parse descends. Check the page source for details.

It ended up working pretty well, once I sorted out some cross-browser issues (IE doesn't have a convenient mechanism for enumerating explicitly specified attributes, alas). Tested in Firefox 2, IE7, Opera 9 and Safari 3 on Windows XP. Ω


Yiklerzdanzh Routes

Browsing through the HIWG CD I came across a bitmap of the Yiklerzdanzh sector including routes, so I added those.

There's no distinction between Zhodani "xboat" routes and others... some were easy to interpret (the Meichntid Ibl and Talpaku Communality have obvious self contained networks) but the long chain of routes into the L and O subsectors is a bit odd. I'm interpreting the routes as a continuation of the Zhodani routes into unincorporated territory to bolster the Consulate's influence in the area. Oddly, it avoids the Consulate outcropping that seeps into the Vanguard Reaches.

If anyone has more data on this I'd be glad to clarify. Ω


Border Cleanup

A minor bit of cleanup:
  • Found and fixed a bug with candy-style border rendering along sector boundaries. Most notable in the Vargr Extents
  • Regenerated borders for Khoellighz, Windhorn, Mendan, Vland, Lishun, Antares, and tweaks in a few other sectors to make edges line up
Since I was playing around in a Win98 virtual machine I also made the map function in IE5. Search and the data display show mangled results, but I know the cause (it's using a newish feature of Javascript) so it's fixable; at least now you can still explore the map. Anyone care?

I have reports that dragging is no longer working in IE6 on WinXP since an update circa Jan 1st, but I can't reproduce the problem. Can anyone else? If so, tracking down the problem should be easy. Ω


Updated Data

A sharp eyed user noticed that the following worlds were missing:
Some digging revealed that in some cases the data I had which was indicated as being sourced from the GEnie upload was, in fact, post-processed and had lost some data. I wrote some tools to look for other inconsistencies and found one more Dark Nebula world that had gone missing.

After some soul searching, I decided to pull in updates to the data which had been made by a project led by Robert Eaglestone and Jim Fetters on the COTI board in 2005/2006 which analyzed the parts of the Atlas of the Imperium containing Imperial worlds as a run-up to scrubbed data for T5. This resulted in updated data for:
  • Alpha Crucis
  • Antares
  • Core
  • Corridor
  • Dagudashaag
  • Daibei
  • Delphi
  • Diaspora
  • Fornast
  • Gushemege
  • Ilelish
  • Lishun
  • Magyar
  • Massilia
  • Old Expanses
  • Reaver's Deep
  • Verge
  • Vland
  • Zarushagar
(Empty Quarter was also updated, but I kept the Stellar Reaches CT version.)

In theory, this process deleted 5 worlds but added 12. Let me know if you notice any new AotI inconsistencies.

[Update 2008-01-09]
The changes are:

No, I can't count - that's +9 -4, not +12 -5. The difference is the Empty Quarter (+3 -1) that I didn't incorporate. Ω


Research Stations and Subsector Pages

A few quick additions:
  • Research Station glyphs are now rendered (example). This is based on having "Rs" or "RsX" trade codes where X is some transliteration of a Greek letter (A, B, G, D, E, Z, H, T). There are very few of these in the dataset I have (Spinward Marches is missing them, for example) so they're spotty at best. If just "Rs" is specified, Gamma (Γ) is used (it's the first Greek letter that is distinctly non-Latin, it is used in the classic Spinward Marches poster for the map key, and it kinda looks like an "r")
  • Base codes beyond N, S, W, A, B get a little more special treatment than previously (they got a generic diamond). Depots are called out with boxes, Zhodani, Vargr, Aslan, Hiver and K'kree codes are distinguished slightly. You can tell a Clan base, Tlaukhu base, or both apart... but not from a Vargr Corsair base. You'll still have to look at the allegiance.
  • I did a quick experiment to play with the APIs: you can now pull up http://www.travellermap.com/subsector.htm?sector=Spinward+Marches&subsector=C and get a LBB-style page of the specified subsector.


Mobile fixes

Mobile-related changes:
  • Fixed searching in Mobile page - I'd accidentally broken it when doing some code cleanup
  • Made Enter key in search box work on the Mobile page from within Firefox
  • Added Mobile link to main page
  • Added tooltips to Mobile page
  • Slightly changed how you scroll (was a factor of 0.5 of the width/height, now it's 0.4)
Also, fixed a data error causing Hicongengiso to not appear, and fixed the IFRAME API docs Ω