Worldmaps Update & EOY Changes

Hi folks!  I wanted to take the opportunity and outline a few changes for Worldmaps – both changes in the service, the backend, and new features.

image First up: Stumbler.  A link to Stumbler was added to the nav menu at the top of the page.  If you haven’t played around with Stumbler, check it out.  It maps users in near real time to websites.

One of the biggest changes is the update to the new Bing Maps Silverlight control.  This doesn’t change much from the end-user point of view, but a few new features have been added so the UI in Stumbler is a bit cleaner around pushpins and effects.  In addition, there’s a new setting in the settings dialog to choose whether or not to scroll the map automatically.  Normally you zoom around the map automatically, but now you can turn that off to stay focused on a certain area.

image The other big new feature is multiple/extensible leaderboards.  The way it worked until now was there a single leaderboard for all users.  This “master leaderboard” is still there, but having sub leaderboards is a lot more interesting.  I defined a few leaderboards like “Tech Blogs” and “Personal Sites,” but will add more over time (leave feedback on new leaderboards!).  On the leaderboard page, the default view is the all-up leaderboard, while each leaderboard is displayed on the left nav. 

To pick a leaderboard, log in to your account and edit your maps.  In the detail section, you’ll see a drop down that allows youimage to select a leaderboard (see image to the right).  I should also point out that the sub-boards are sorted based on hits per day, not total hits. 

The other big change to outline is the end-of-year change.  At the end of the year, the individual hit data is reset.  This means all the red dots on the map will be wiped clean and start over again.  Data will be archived and available in some fashion, but this hasn’t been implemented yet.  Additionally, next year (2010) the main leaderboard will be sorted based on average hits per day. 

Now to address the biggest architectural change:  if you’ve created an account on Worldmaps but haven’t gotten an email yet with the approval, fear not.  Unfortunately the volume is such that with limited infrastructure, there’s not much more that can be done.  This will soon change.  Worldmaps has been moved to Windows Azure, Microsoft’s cloud computing platform.  This should give Worldmaps a nice bump in scalability (limited really only by funds).  So stay tuned in early 2010 for more info.

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