Thursday, September 29, 2016

Looking for Beer in DC? Try the Good Beer Map.

Here's my review of The Good Beer Map, from the good folks at DC Beer.com. I love beer! I love DC! I love maps! I am generally fond of DC Beer.com--we certainly have a lot of common interests! So how come I don't love DC Beer.com's Good Beer Map?

The Good Beer Map covers DC and a little bit of Northern Virginia. It uses BatchGeo maps and geospatial data to show various venues where thirsty searchers can find good beer. The data can also be read in Google Maps, which is nice if you navigate using an Android phone, or if you, like me, navigate with an Apple phone but use Google Maps anyway because Apple's Maps just really don't get the job done.

There are six color-coded categories to identify venues by type.

Bar/Restaurant
Beer Store
DCBeer Favorites
Brewery
Brewpub
Homebrew Shop

I guess The Good Beer Map is better than nothing, but there are a few reasons why it's not getting tons of views, certainly not from me.

  1. It's simply not comprehensive. Within the area of interest, there are probably three times more venues than those shown. Even though BatchGeo supports multiple users changing data, there is no attempt to crowd-source the data. Why not?
  2. Anyone who lives in or near DC would be interested in Maryland venues as well. If I am willing to drive to Leesburg, I am probably willing to drive to Ellicot City.
  3. You can't simply hover over a venue and see the name of it. You have to click the icon and then a third of the screen fills up with more data than you want if you're already familiar with the region.
  4. There is no mention of venues that are coming soon, or of those that have recently departed.  It would be easy enough to track that information and store it in layers.
  5. You cannot click, say, Brewpubs on the legend and have only Brewpubs displayed on the map. Such a feature would reduce a lot of clutter when you are on a mission.
  6. I am somewhat interested in those venues DCBeer has "favorited," but I can't tell which of the light blue DC Beer favorites is a bar and which is a brewery. Why not just circle the color coded icons?
  7. I find the lack of linked details disturbing. Once I bother to click on the icon and a third of my screen is consumed by boilerplate, I would like to see some links to Twitter or Facebook feeds so I can see menus and tap lists and calendars of events.     

I try not to raise an issue without also bringing a suggestion. My suggestions are embedded in the constructive criticism above. In addition, I recommend the organizational structure I've touted elsewhere on the pages of PhilosFX. I would like to see beer venues of all types within 100 miles of the Capitol Building.

See for yourself HERE, and if you disagree with my review, let me know in the comments.