Location Finder 5

Location Finder

Location Finder

What Problem Does This Solve?

User wants to find the geographic location from other geographic data, such as street addresses, points of interest or postal codes.

When to Use This Pattern

Use the location finder to provide a means to zoom to a point or area of interest that matters to the user of the application and serves as the starting point for further input or analysis.

What’s the Solution?

Provide an input field that allows users to type their search. Auto-complete functionality is a great way to provide potential search results as the user is typing and to prevent typos. After selecting the desired result the map should zoom and center the map around its coordinates and show an extent that provides enough context to validate that the location is indeed the desired result. Adding a marker or outlining the area with a polygon feature helps to show the exact location and allows the user to invoke further actions. Opening an info window is a common practice as well.

Why Use This Pattern?

Locating your current location or an area of interest is typically the first task a user performs before doing any sort of spatial analysis. It is a good practice for a map application to offer a location finder to quickly and easily zoom the map to a meaningful extent.

Special Considerations

During search the most common location associated with an unqualified name should be listed first; for example, if “Rome” or “Paris” was specified, “Rome, Italy” or “Paris, Ile-de-France, France” will be listed, rather than a less commonly known place.
If the search returns exactly one result the application may treat this finding as the desired result and automatically center around it. Another school of thought is that explicit user action is preferred and the application should wait for the user to click the result.
The marker symbol on the map will be removed and placed in a new location after invoking a new search, in any other case (e.g. zooming, panning) the marker should remain on the map. It is a common practice to offer a means to clear the search which will also remove the marker.


5 thoughts on “Location Finder

  1. Pingback: Happy 5th Anniversary | Michael Gaigg: Über UI/UX Design

  2. Reply Adam Polyak Jul 25,2017 8:26 pm

    “After selecting the desired result the map should zoom and center the map around its coordinates and show an extent that provides enough context to validate that the location is indeed the desired result.”

    It might be a strange question… I also know that the answer probably will be “it depends”…
    Anyways, my problem is how to specify the enough context. Recently we developed a search where a map zooms to the location when I hover over an item in the list on its left.
    I feel like that the zoom we set is too much but other say it is okay. Whenever I search the context isn’t enough for me even tho I know my city very well. The locations are usually next to well known places but it is not easily recognisable with this set up. I would set the zoom level a bit smaller but it would be nice to pair some best practises next to this decision.

    Is there a rule or best practise for that? Should you consider always a well known place to be displayed in the context of the location to become easily recognisable? Is there any research you may know? Haven’t found anything in this topic, just your page.

    P.s: unbelievably awesome page !!! Keep on going with the work you do, it is super helpful πŸ™‚

  3. Reply Map UI Patterns Jul 25,2017 10:43 pm

    Hi Adam, yeah, it depends πŸ˜‰ Well, it depends on what you are trying to accomplish really, why do you need to zoom? Is it to find tourist attractions? A specific property? A city in the US? And what do you anticipate users to do next? Interact with that feature? Or within that area? All these questions may lead you to a more informed decision about the ‘correct’ zoom level.

    I’m not aware of a research based answer but very generically speaking for point features we zoom out 2 scale levels (map.getMaxZoom() – 2) or a fraction for a polygon extent * 1.2

    Beyond that, adding clear labels, commonly known points of interest, parks, major streets/highways may help. If you find that users continue being disoriented consider adding an overview map http://www.designingmapinterfaces.com/patterns/overview-map/

    Let me know how it goes…

  4. Reply Map UI Patterns Jul 25,2017 10:44 pm

    Thanks for the encouragement to continue writing btw πŸ™‚ Much appreciated!

  5. Pingback: Spatial Filter ← Map UI Patterns

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