Evaluating event layout software is complicated. Sometime extensive use is required because you can only identify weaknesses by using , trying, experimenting, and ultimately hitting a wall. But then it is too late..... Here are 5 criteria to evaluate an outdoor event mapping system BEFORE you invest too much time using it:
- Does the system provide underlying maps that allow zoomnig in and out ?
- Is the map to-scale ?
- Sometimes you want to color items on your plan in order to identify them on the map. As your plans change,and we all know they will, you might want to change some of the items’ colors. Does the system allow you to easily do this, or does it require you to delete items and then recreate them in a different color?
- Outdoor event usually include tents that have certain functions. For example a tent might sell beer, food, or provide first aid. If you want to keep track of this on your plan, does the system let you create a tent, then let you describe its functionality such as beer, food, or first aid, or does it force you to create the tent and its functionality as separate unrelated items on your map? Will your layout be encumbered by all these tent-characteristics that have nothing to do with the spatial layout but still appear on the map itself? Will moving a tent around on your layout involve having to individually move around all the related items?
- In general, is the user interface sophisticated enough to include functions that will not just let you drag and drop objects, but will also let you efficiently filter and manipulate objects? Can you filter your map to only see the tents, or only the stages? Can you rotate, group or align objects ? Ultimately you will probably have to go through several versions of your layout. You want to be able to do this efficiently and quickly.