If you are reading this then there is a good chance that you will have noticed that GoGeo has had a make-over. This was long overdue and the GoGeo team think the new look makes it easier to find resources across the site. The makeover goes far beyond just the cosmetic layer, the inner-workings of the site have been ripped out and a new search engine has been implemented.
Many of the changes to the front-end are pretty obvious. Gone is the big map which took up quite a lot of room and the three colour navigation aid (how many of you realised that the colours had a significance?) and in comes a couple of dynamic panels. We are using the term “dynamic panel” to describe an area where content is controlled by where the user’s mouse is positioned. This allows us to fit lots of useful information on the home page without having to cram it in. One of the main criticisms of the previous design was that it was “too busy” which made it hard to find things. We now effectively have 5 separate homepages depending on which panel is active. Hopefully the new design looks crisp, clean and uncluttered.
Users can view content from the different sections of GoGeo by moving the mouse over the section headings. For example hovering over the Discover Data heading reveals the simple search boxes and provides links to the Advanced Search and International Gateway. The other 4 panels provide access to the Web Resources, Learn about Metadata, Create Metadata and Contribute Data.
The right-hand side of the home page contains a blue panel which provides direct access to current News Items, Upcoming Events and displays live tweets from a selection notable members of the GI community. You can find out more about GoGeo’s social media policy in the help pages. The help pages have also been re-designed adding a search function to make it easier to find specific help items. More information will be added to the help pages in the next couple of weeks including some Frequently Asked Questions.
I suppose GoGeo could be likened to a duck swimming, smooth and calm on the surface but lots of furious action going on unseen in the background. GoGeo aggregates metadata from a number of metadata catalogues making it easier to find resources for teaching and research. The metadata search is now powered by GeoNetwork , an open-source solution that is also powers the Scottish Metadata Discovery Service and the UK location programs Metadata Editor tool. Parts of the GeoNetwork, such as the searching, have been customised to meet the needs of our users. GeoNetwork seems to be optimised for national datasets and many of the datasets held in GoGeo cover smaller areas which are not always ranked appropriately in the searchs. We hope to continue to improve the look and feel of the GeoNetwork search interface and it is nice to be part of a larger development community.
If you have any comments or feedback on the GoGeo re-design, we would love to hear them. You can submit feedback through the Contact Us form. One last thing, we have also changed the name from Go-Geo! to GoGeo, but you might have already noticed.