16 October 2016

Opening a New Map

Out with the old
Intel is everything in wormhole space. Our daily routine revolves around scanning for routes. Presenting the chains we find as accessible maps is a massive requirement for us. In the beginning we used ASCII maps in the bulletin board. Then almost exactly three years ago we started using EVE W-Space for creating our chain maps. Unfortunately this requires the in-game browser to track each pilot's current position. On Tuesday the in-game browser was retired from the client and EVE W-Space lost a massive part of functionality.

Thankfully I had been preparing for this by trying other pieces of mapping software. I prefer to host the code myself so that ruled out Siggy from the get-go. The first option to try was the other well-known mapping project of Tripwire. It installed easy enough and I got it up and running with no problems at all. When I started using it I just didn't gel with the interface. With three years of EVE W-Space mapping left to right, I didn't like the top-down mapping in Tripwire. Everything also felt small, again likely caused by the emphasis on larger nodes for each system mapped in EVE W-Space. After one evening spent mapping with Tripwire I was done and looking for another option.

In with the new
One night on comms someone suggested a newer project called Pathfinder. I had a quick read of their website and agreed to give it a go. Once again, installation was trivial and I had the software mapping for me in no time. Right from the off I had the same complaint as with Tripwire regarding the size of the node bubbles. Unlike Tripwire though, Pathfinder has free placement of each system. You can click and drag the system type indicator (C1, C2, H, etc.) and move the bubble where ever you want. This means we could continue to work with left-to-right mapping.

Another nice feature is the page loads in system kills within the last 24 hours. This gives you an instant idea if there may be people lurking around to shoot at (or die to). One final feature I quite like is the route planner will use the mapped connections to calculate the fastest route somewhere, using wormholes if required. It is rather nice seeing the distance to Jita is eight jumps while I'm sat in a random nullsec watching nobody do anything.

If you are in the market for a new mapping tool and want to host it yourself I can thoroughly recommend Pathfinder. Or, if you're not as paranoid as me you can always use their hosted version.