Alps Mapping KK released an online electronic map on which users can magnify selected parts of the map, as if using a fish-eye lens, without interrupting the continuity of roads and rail tracks.
The free service “Fish-Eye” was launched March 24, 2008, on “ALPSLAB,” an experimental Website for next-generation map services (Fish-Eye’s Website).
Alps Mapping created the Fish-Eye in cooperation with Naohisa Takahashi and Yoshiaki Katayama’s Office at Nagoya Institute of Technology. The company developed a technology to reproduce the situation where a user focuses on the area surrounding the destination while seeing a wider area on the map. The service is targeted at devices with small screens and narrow display ranges like mobile phones.
The Fish-Eye assumes that the scale ratios of the focused area (focus) and the surrounding area (context) are constant and displays the two areas minimizing the space curvature. To reduce the curvature between the areas, Alps Mapping used a technology to insert an area called “Gray” between the focus and the context.
The company solved the problem that the detailed part and its surrounding part are disconnected by using the technology to magnify part of a map or the technology to display two maps with different scale ratios on a split screen.
There has been a technology to gradually change the map scale in accordance with the distance from the center like a simple fish-eye lens. However, it has been difficult to determine exact locations due to the curvature, Alps Mapping said.
The company plans to conduct more evaluation tests and to advance the joint research to have the Fish-Eye adopted by, for example, mobile phones.