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http://www.mapsandlocations.com; finally I have a website.


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#1
ProMapper

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Hi to all you great professionals of Cartotalk.

I have finally got a website, and here I must mention my special thanks to Hans and all the Cartotalkers (can we name ourselves such or Cartoites) whose websites I have been seeing so often and marvelling at such cool designs.

I always thought that one needs a lot of money to build a website but after your suggestions I started looking around the net to find a little inexpensive web hosting companies. I found many charging hundreds of dollars to just a couple of dollars. All my life I have learnt various mapping and GIS software and here I found some web related stuff which I did not have much clue but I just took the plunge and bought a hosting pack with a domain name.

Now the trouble started, how to build a website. I asked some website developers, their charges looked pretty steep to me. Each page with just about 300 words of text and some images, these guys wanted $50. So a 10 page website would cost $500. So started to learn a little about developing a website, downloaded some tools, some templates. Stuff like CSS, it is a beautiful abbreviation for Cascading Style Sheet and so on and so forth. And finally I got a website.

I would be really grateful if you could comment on my efforts by going over to http://www.mapsandlocations.com. Any comments are welcome on design or content or any other suggestions on any aspect technical or asthetic.

Thanks so much.

Anu
http://www.mapsandlocations.com

#2
MostlyHarmless

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I think it looks good. I think they are charging too much...I'd rather fiddle around and learn how to do it myself and make it the way I want rather than pay someone to design it for me. But it looks good, colors are good and easy on the eyes...site is very straightforward

#3
Derek Tonn

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Hi Anu!

A great start to a site! I'm glad Hans talked you into it. B)

Two quick things:

1. Images. Take a look at the attached .zip file. In it are ten images from your home page. They should look the same....only they are 50.5 KB in size (about 75% smaller than the 221 KB of imagery currently required to display that page).

2. Consider changing this code: Just send <a href="______:____@mapsandlocations.com">us an email</a>

...to this:

Just send <script language="javascript"><!--
var contact = "us an email"
var email = "info"
var emailHost = "mapsandlocations"
var extension = ".com"
document.write("<a href=" + "mail" + "to:" + email + "@" + emailHost + extension+ ">" + contact + "</a>")//--></script>


Doing so would help slow the rate of spam-bots harvesting your email address just a bit.

Best of luck in the weeks and months ahead!

Derek

Attached Files


Derek Tonn
Founder and CEO
mapformation, LLC

datonn@mapformation.com
http://www.mapformation.com

#4
ProMapper

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Hi Anu!

A great start to a site! I'm glad Hans talked you into it. B)


Hi Derek

Thanks so much.

Yeah you are right, I will replace the images as they take a bit of time loading, I was wondering why site loads slow. And I will change the email code too. I believe I just need to cut and paste and that's it. I will do it pronto.

Thanks again.

Anu
http://www.mapsandlocations.com

#5
ProMapper

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I think it looks good. I think they are charging too much...I'd rather fiddle around and learn how to do it myself and make it the way I want rather than pay someone to design it for me. But it looks good, colors are good and easy on the eyes...site is very straightforward

Hi NS

Thanks so much for appreciating the effort. There are some relevant issues pointed out by Derek, I will work on that.

Anu
http://www.mapsandlocations.com

#6
ProMapper

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1. Images. Take a look at the attached .zip file. In it are ten images from your home page. They should look the same....only they are 50.5 KB in size (about 75% smaller than the 221 KB of imagery currently required to display that page).


Hi Derek

I have done the changes and added the Javascript you had suggested. I have added some of the highly compressed pics that you had sent.

Now I was trying to compress them using Photoshop CS2 but I just could not get those sizes even with max compression in the JPG save as dialog. Are you using JPG2000 compression and with which software? I do not know if Photoshop CS2 supports JPG2000 compression. It is just fantastic.

I had seen similar compressions with the wavelet technology used in Lizard Tech's MrSID format where compressions of even 30 to 50 times are achievable with a little loss of image data. Please do let me know, I want to compress all the images of the website, it will have double benefit, it will load faster and I will save on bandwidth usage too.

Best..

Anu
http://www.mapsandlocations.com

#7
Derek Tonn

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Anu,

For pic_2, pic_3 and pic_4, you'll want to still use the three .png files I had sent versus the current .jpg files that are displayed. That should save you another 40+ KB every time that home page is viewed...speeding things up even more.

Related to .jpg and compression, there are actually TWO kinds of compression:

- universal (what everybody uses...and what is built into Photoshop and just about every other program out there)
- custom zonal (allows you to apply different compression rates to different zones or quadrants of an image)

Custom zonal compression will get you a LOT of additional savings in many cases, with the added benefit of lengthening the life on an image's ability to be edited (since the higher the universal compression rate, the quicker that image turns to mud when you want to go in and tweak things). Also, removing "excess" colors (colors that will not be discernible to the human eye on-screen) and eliminating progressive downloads saves you file size as well. It's not simply a matter of bumping up your compression rates...although that's what 99.9% of people out there do. It's about choosing the optimal file format for the graphic, then stripping off excess colors/information/data to have it become a flying tin-can...without sacrificing image quality on-screen. ;)

The .jpgs I sent you are just regular, standard .jpgs (not JPG2000). They just have all the extra "stuff" removed that programs like Photoshop do a moderate to poor job of handling. My program of choice for .jpg imagery is xat.com Image Optimizer. Not free, but it has saved me gigabytes/month in bandwidth on the web sites I build/maintain. I also publish a TON of optimization content at the following sites:

- GraphicsOptimization
- GraphicsOptimization blog

Hope that helps!

Derek
Derek Tonn
Founder and CEO
mapformation, LLC

datonn@mapformation.com
http://www.mapformation.com

#8
ProMapper

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Anu,

For pic_2, pic_3 and pic_4, you'll want to still use the three .png files I had sent versus the current .jpg files that are displayed. That should save you another 40+ KB every time that home page is viewed...speeding things up even more.


Yes, you are right there, 40+KB adds up.

Related to .jpg and compression, there are actually TWO kinds of compression:

- universal (what everybody uses...and what is built into Photoshop and just about every other program out there)
- custom zonal (allows you to apply different compression rates to different zones or quadrants of an image)

It sure is an interesting field and did not know one could do zonal compression. It sure is a pretty neat, simple and so very effective technique to keep fine details in good legibilty. I will read your blogs and see how can I implement compression. Thanks so much.

Anu
http://www.mapsandlocations.com

#9
ProMapper

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My program of choice for .jpg imagery is xat.com Image Optimizer. Not free, but it has saved me gigabytes/month in bandwidth on the web sites I build/maintain. I also publish a TON of optimization content at the following sites:

- GraphicsOptimization
- GraphicsOptimization blog

Wow, I just downloaded a trial version of Image Optimizer. It is a fully functional software for 30 days and it took me a couple of minutes to run it in batch mode for three image folders for my site. At 40 percent optimization, it has brought the sum total of image files to just about 1 MB from 3.3 MBs. Amazing, I did not do any of the zonal compression. I will learn more refinements from your blog too.

And for the time being I have just FTPed these images to my site. Now the site has become more responsive. Great! Thanks a ton for your advice and this amazing software.

Anu
http://www.mapsandlocations.com

#10
Hans van der Maarel

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Hi Anu,

Website looks pretty good. One thing though, the heading "our products" seems to imply a portfolio, but instead it's information on previous projects you've done. Since your portfolio is aways accessible, you may want to change the "our products" heading to "projects".

I do find it's a bit confusing sometimes to have them seperate... I have the same setup on my current website and am not really too hapy with it. I think succesfully completed projects, even if they didn't yield pretty maps, are just as much part of your portfolio.
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
Red Geographics
Email: hans@redgeographics.com / Twitter: @redgeographics

#11
ProMapper

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Website looks pretty good. One thing though, the heading "our products" seems to imply a portfolio, but instead it's information on previous projects you've done. Since your portfolio is aways accessible, you may want to change the "our products" heading to "projects".

Hi Hans

Welcome back home.

You are right, these are basically the projects that I have done in the past. I will amend that.

And thanks for appreciating the site. It was a great learning experience making this site. Thanks so much for making me do it.

Anu
http://www.mapsandlocations.com

#12
eli

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in your pricing section "their" should be "there"

(*insipid* GIS products? that made me giggle...)

#13
ProMapper

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in your pricing section "their" should be "there"

(*insipid* GIS products? that made me giggle...)

Thanks, it should be 'there'.

I believe many cartographers would term GIS maps as wee bit straight jacketted or insipid in comparison to Illustrator maps where one can control each and every shade and may be add a certain penache to the overall cartography. And over the years even I have found maps should be evolved in GIS but then final design and cartographic enhancements be done in Illustrator. So here I should change it from "insipid GIS products" to "bland GIS exports". GIS products are not insipid, they sure are highly evolved and it sure would make any one giggle if not a big guffaw.

Anu
http://www.mapsandlocations.com




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