For many years Maps are one of the most popular ways to interact with the environment. In my view, thinking in terms of a map is something that makes people clearer understand the situation. I think, integration of maps in computer systems was very slow until two fundamental events happened – 1/ popularization of GPS and location devices, 2/ combination of search and map. Today, I hardly can imaging our computer interfaces without a map option.
I’ve been thinking about possible implementation of Maps in Product Lifecycle Management. Actually, my first thoughts was –Why do we need it? PLM Is not GPS – we don’t need to map directions etc .. However, second thinking was different. I see map–based user interface can be very powerful from many aspects:
1. We are working in a global environment. Connection between people is very important. I think, people feel better connected when they see themselves on the map. So, by integrating map services in collaboration you can improve communication.
2. Activity of manufacturing companies is also very GEO oriented. To be able to project various data on the map can create a very interesting user experience. Sometime, you can see trends that you can hardly see without the map user interface. For example, by projecting reported problem in your product onto the map, you can discover country/GEO based problems in your product design or maintenance. Actually, I can see many additional cases.
Playing around a map topic, I found an interesting service – Maker. Maker allows you to create interactive maps with embedding a lot of additional data. I found it as a pretty cool service. Actually, this service is featuring in a very good way a potential in Map based user experience.
Of, course Maker is not the only one. And I’m not getting to analyze all use cases Google Map has today. However, I want to share this with you and ask – do you see use cases for Map–based user experience in your Product Lifecycle Management implementations? Does it make sense? Can it improve user adoption? Collaboration?
Please, let me know what do you think?