In late 2016 I was working for POWER Engineers in Meridian, as part of the visualization services team, when my boss approached me with plans for a major reworking of an old Flash program the team had put together for the Federal group. The concept of using Flash instead of developing a printable document had represented a leap forward from the traditional engineering practices the team was used to serving, and they wanted to retain the advantages of a digital product over a printed book. But Flash, and the application, were both showing their age. It was time for a new version of the site plan, and the client was ready to invest in upgraded technology to reflect the updated plan content.

At some point I’d like to publish a demo or a video of the program in action, but that will require permission from the copyright holder. In the mean time, have a look at some of the screenshots illustrating how the app works.

The main view. By default it shows the state of the project at the start date of the plan range.
The bar at the bottom supports filters. These, along with all the images, videos, etc., are determined by the data set provided; the application just parses and displays.
Possibly the most elaborate part of the application: the interactive blueprint viewer. We layered SVGs with custom attributes, which the application crawled to create the menu on the left. Labeled overlays provide custom-styled tooltips offering item names and additional information.
Some points in the blueprint have connected media. Here I’ve clicked on a manhole marker, and I can view photos of the actual site.

After the corporate wheels ground away for a few months, the deal was landed, and I was assigned as lead developer as planned. The final product combined a huge collection of images, video, and site plan data including an elaborate layered blueprint view. And the best part? Since I chose to build components rather than individual views, decoupling the data set from the end product, the result was a viewer with a document collection rather than a single-use program.

One supervisor joked with me that I was making myself obsolete by creating a data-driven product. While he was probably right (once the program was done, anyone could create a data set and repurpose it to fit a new client’s needs), The opportunity to make something that the firm could reuse endlessly was too good to pass up. There are plenty of aspects of MasterPlan that I wouldn’t change if I had to do the project over again, and that one is at the top of the list.

Image sources

  • mainscreen: Owned by the author
  • filterbar: Owned by the author
  • blueprintview: Owned by the author
  • photoview: Owned by the author

Over to you...