Hy SnagaDance, great to have you here, and thanks for fixing some spelling etc. I notice you're interest on the Project Plants project, can you give me a litte overview of your ideas or what you want to fix, thanks.--Doneve (talk) 08:25, 4 February 2013 (PST)
Ok, I'll try and explain my idea a little bit. It has to do with my regular work and that is GIS which is, in short, working with digital maps and the information that is connected to the objects that make up the map. Using GIS it would be possible for me to create a digital master map of the Battletech universe showing all planets, their names, colour indications of owners, boundaries of states etc.
Now in a GIS, information about objects (in this case the points representing planet locations) is kept in a connected table. So imagine an Excel table where each line is a planet and the columns describe information about this planet. So you could have columns with a certain year as header (3025, 3028, 3050 3065 etc.) and in each of these columns there would be the owner of that world at that moment in time. The name of the planets would also be in a seperate column. So you could look up a line with a corresponding planet name and then see the occupation history of that planet through time, or the type of sun, or distance to jump point, basically if you make a column containing a certain type of information it would become part of the information about that planet.
Visually it's possible to change the appearance of the map based on the column you're refering to. So I could make it that for the column '3025' all entries with the name 'Federated Suns' would be coloured yellow, CC Liao green etc. etc. Pick a different column and it would change the map to look like that period in time.
Now this would be done using professional GIS software. But there are free readers (think like Adobe Reader for Pdf's) and also Open Source GIS (for the enthousiast/crazy) to look at these maps, print them etc. It would have functionality like information tips when hovering over objects, information that gets shown when clicking on a planet, and this information can even contain a url linking to Sarna.net's corresponding planetary information.
So basically it would give users a full planetary map (scrollable and zoomable) with connected information and links back to Sarna. Also, using the master map and the professional GIS software I could create custom maps for the site. Want to have a map on the page of each planet showing the other planets in a 30 LY box? No problem. Maps showing the phases of Operation Rat or Operation Revival in time-steps? It's all possible (and fairly easy if you know what you're doing).
I had already begun a pilot project but rather soon I encountered my biggest hurdle, accurate combined data. Using a table I found on Sarna or Solaris7 (can't remember which atm), that contained the planetary XY-coördinates and their names, I've been able to generate a map of the Battletech universe with all planets named. This was a largely automatic process, X and Y values became points on the map, planet names became one of the columns in the attached table. But stuff like planetary ownership at different moments was not available in the table, so this was not automatically generated. Meaning this is a step that would need to be done by hand. I've actually started this process using the Planets page here on Sarna and going through the planets alphabetically but this is horribly slow (soo many planets). It also made me encounter planets from later sourcebooks that simply weren't in the original table which had to be added by hand. Also I found XY values that were not always matching. So far for the pilot.
In order to make something like this possible (if there's even interest in something like this) I'd need an up to date table with accurate XY values and corresponding planets. Ideally it would also contain other info about the planets (mainly ownership at different times). And the only place I could think of that might have this information is Sarna. I'd love to get to work on this and make it available to the users of Sarna and help enrich pages with custom maps.
So, I hope this wasn't a tl;dr, but do you (or anyone else reading this) think this is a worthwhile endeavour? And if the data I'd need to make this happen even exists?
- Wow, a big project, ok at first i take you to the member list of the Planet overhaul project, as second, i can give you a link from Volt, he extrapolated some xy coordinates in a spreadsheet, if something is unclear please set up a talk on his talk page, here is the link (Coordinates+Distance.xlsx), oh and please take a look on our existing BattleTechWiki:Project Planets/Planet Overhaul/Faction Map Gallery and BattleTechWiki:Project Planets, some support from you is welcome, sorry for raw writing, greetings from germany.--Doneve (talk) 07:51, 5 February 2013 (PST)
- Your writing is ok, I can understand what you mean and that's what it's all about of course, and some greeting from the Netherlands back to you neighbour! Thanks for making me a Project Planets member and that link to those faction maps is really good, even if that xlsx document doesn't have ownership information I could use those to help me add that data at a reasonable pace. I haven't been able to look at that xlsx because the link seems to have expired. But I'll go contact Volt himself and ask him for it directly. Thanks for the help! --SnagaDance (talk) 04:57, 6 February 2013 (PST)
- Hey SnagaDance, Doneve sent you the link above. The file you would be looking for is Systems by Era.xlsx. However, I did not incorporate the large nebulas from ISP3 in this file. You might also be able to get help from Blacknova at the Ourbattletech.com forums, he uses my coordinates to make PDF maps from arcGIS. Unfortunately the maps currently posted were made with my obsolete data (pre-ISP3). Still waiting for him to upload new maps, as I've made a lot of changes in the coordinates and faction ownership by era(year). I also have invasion waves (Andurien Secession, Operation Revival, Operation Bulldog, etc) in the XLSX but I still have so many blanks because of the absence of Handbook: House Kurita, and some unavailable data here and there. The data on faction ownerships are primarily based on the maps from Oystein, the rest from various sourcebooks, and some are "assumed" or interpolated. You might notice some inconsistencies here and there, and that's because of inconsistencies in the various published material over the years where a recent map does not show a system but older fiction explicitly states that that system exists during that era. If you have any questions with the file feel free to leave a message-Volt (talk) 01:32, 8 February 2013 (PST)