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Archive for September, 2010

How to Create a Rich Object

by | September 10, 2010 | In How To No Comments

Unlike a regular object, a Rich Object isn’t just a specific region in space and time. A Rich Object is more useful for storytelling. It allows the creator to configure the viewport in a specific way to show the reader a particular configuration of maps and objects. Its real power emerges in narrative mode.

To understand the difference, let’s go through the features of a regular object. It has:

  • A defined region on the map
  • A specific timespan
  • A title
  • Descriptive text, images, video, etc.

To this, a rich object adds:

  • A specific view in the viewport (center point and zoom level in 2D mode; tilt, pan, etc. in 3D mode).
  • One or two historic maps, whose transparency can be set
  • A specific base map (such as a satellite map or a blank map); you may also set it to open in Earth mode
  • A set of objects or collections that are turned on
  • The ability to set which object has a bubble on over it, and the state (minimized or maximized) of that bubble

Creating a rich object uses the same interface as creating a regular object; it just requires using more features. It can be any of the basic types of objects (point, line, polygon) or even a KML link. This tutorial will cover features common to creating all rich objects. Here’s how to do it.

First, without clicking the Add Media Button, use the Map List to select the maps you would like to have on in the background. You can change which maps you have on later, but you can’t change their transparency. As usual with HyperCities, you may select up to two maps. The maps will always show up with the last one you selected on top.

Once the map is on, set the transparency using the transparency slider, or leave it totally opaque.

Now, using the Collection List, you may also select the objects you want to turn on with your rich object. You have the option to change this later.

Now, click on the Add Media button as you would regularly to create a normal object. Once you draw the shape you would like to have, the Add Media panel will pop up. Fill in the fields as you would normally; if you’re creating a KML network link, paste the URL into the appropriate field.

In addition to the regular options, you will see the options “Select Base Map” and “Select Other Items” here (hover over the buttons if you’re unsure which is which). You can see both of these in the picture below. The “Select Base Map” button allows you to delete or add more map to your object; however, you can no longer set the transparency of the maps you choose from this point. This has to be done in the Map List.

The “Select Other Items” button lets you select more items you want to turn on with your rich object. You can also uncheck items that you have chosen earlier.

If you would like to have an object show up with its info bubble open, click on the object. You may also expand the info bubble.

Also, adjust the viewport as you would like your reader to see it, as you would normally with Google Maps or Google Earth. The view will be preserved exactly as you leave it. You may also choose whether the object will be viewed on Satellite, Map, Hybrid, Terrain, Earth, or even on a completely blank map; do this using the map type selector in the upper-right hand corner of the map (it says “Earth” in the picture below).

Once you’re finished making these adjustments, select one or more collections to put your new Rich Object inside, and click the “Save” button. When you click “Save”, the entire state of the object at that point — maps, viewport, objects, etc. — will be saved.

To view the rich object you have created, view the collection where it was saved in “Narrative Mode.” Each object should open the view exactly as you left it.

To edit the object, edit it as you would a regular object (find it in a collection, check it on, and click the edit button). The viewport will adjust to reflect the way you left it. Please note that any adjustments you make to the viewport will be saved at the moment you click “Save.”