Neatline: Several Issues

I'm having real trouble getting Neatline to work as advertised; that is, creating a sequential narrative using a map. I have the Simile timeline and Waypoints widgets installed and activated for my exhibit. I have geoserver up and running, and several georectified historical maps being served by geoserver.

My goal, roughly, is to display a series of historical maps that illustrate the development of a city over a 50 year period. I have each map associated with its own record, and have activated the Waypoints and Simile Timeline widgets for those records. On the style tab, I have served the historical maps to these records via geoserver's WMS, and have associated start/end dates and after/before dates for each record.

I have also created several other records that I associate with a static point on one particular map. For instance, on the map from 1850, for which I've created an individual record and associated with a Waypoint, I've placed several static points, each of which is associated with its own individual record. I have NOT associated these with a Waypoint or the Simile Timeline, though I have added after/before dates to make them show up ONLY when in the date range I've established for the 1850 map. Wash, rinse, repeat for the other four historical maps, and the static points I'm overlaying on them.

With that information and my project goals in mind, here are my issues:

1--For whatever reason, my waypoints aren't all showing in the right-hand sidebar (i.e. Waypoints bar, for lack of a better term) at the same time. Thus, users can't see all Waypoints and click through them, thus walking them through the exhibit narrative.
2--For the "static point" records (i.e., those not associated with a Waypoint or on the timeline), I've drawn a point on the map, and set a default focus and zoom level. When I click on the record in the editor (i.e., on the left-hand side of the screen), Neatline zooms in to my default zoom and focus. However, if I click on the point itself, I don't zoom in and focus. Similarly, in the public view, I don't see a way to get to the viewport I've defined as the default.
3--Is there a way to have my timeline and Waypoints move in sync with each other? That is, if I click on the Waypoint that has defined after/before range of 1869/1874, is there a way to move the timeline move foward in concert to 1869?

I hope my questions are clear, and I hope I haven't misunderstood what it is Neatline is capable of doing. I recognize that it's very possible I'm asking the software to do something it's not desgined to do.


I'm sorry you're having trouble figuring this out. Let's see what you can do.

  • The Waypoints won't all show up at once. If you set after-/before-date for an item, the Waypoint for that item will only show when the item itself is showing via the timeline widget.

    One option would be to have an item that displays on the waypoints, and has a start date, but doesn't itself display on the timeline. If the start date is within range of the other items' after-/before-dates, it would cause those to display. If you ordered the waypoints right, it would also give a collapsing or folding effect, and that could provide an overview of the items below it.

  • Clicking on a point doesn't seem to activate the zoom. I need to talk with the person who wrote this, but that may be a bug. Thanks for pointing it out.
  • Yes, you can do this. Coordinating between the widgets is driven by the start-/end-date, not the after-/before-dates (which just control visibility).

Hope this helps,

Hi, Eric. This starts helping me (though now, after upgrading to the newest versions of Omeka and Neatline this morning, I'm not getting any items showing up in the timeline at all--just a blank timeline), but it also leads me to a few new issues.

One of the points on my map--which I've associated with its own record, but NOT the Waypoints widget--is a building that was destroyed on a certain date. I want that point to appear up until the date of its destruction, at which point I want it to disappear. Thus, I've set a BEFORE date, and activated the SIMILE timeline widget for that record. After doing that, the item will not show at all, no matter where I move the timeline. Strangely enough, if I disable the SIMILE timeline widget for the exhibit (not the record), it always shows, even if I click on a Waypoint that has a START date after the BEFORE date on the record in question.

What am I doing wrong here? And similarly, is there a way to use the BEFORE and AFTER fields without using the SIMILE timeline widget?

I guess another way of asking all of this--is there interoperability between the START/END and AFTER/BEFORE dates? Do they affect one another? And are they both only useful in conjunction with the SIMILE timeline widget (i.e., if item x's start/end dates are 1850-1852, and item y's start/end dates are 1854-1856, will item x disappear when I click on item y? Can that be used as a way to iterate/walk through items?)?

About the point with only a before date: SIMILE handles hiding or displaying that date. If you don't have that plugin activated, showing and hiding by date won't work. However, you do need before the after date and the before date. Just having one set won't work.

As for the relationship between after-/before- and start-/end-dates.

They're not exactly related and they don't really affect each other.

After-/before-dates only cause the item to be hidden or displayed on the map, depending on the current date of the SIMILE timeline.

Start-/end-dates cause the item to have a marker (a point or a line) on the SIMILE widget.

So if you have after-/before-dates set, but not start-/end-dates, the item on the map and in the waypoints widget will appear and disappear, but there won't be any marker for the item on the SIMILE widget.

If you have the start-/end-dates set, but not the after-/before-dates, then the item will always appear on the map and in the waypoints widget, and it will have a marker on the SIMILE timeline.

I hope this hasn't confused things more.

That actually clarifies a lot of things. Thanks so much!

Great! I'm glad it was helpful.