What do these buttons do?

Pop quiz!

If you saw these three buttons on the Cesium UI, would you know what they do? Would you click them?


They would probably be about half that size, but tell me what you think.


Hmmm let me think …

3d View
2.5d view

2d view

Whats the prize :wink:


Oh and …

I would know what they do because I have seen Cesium. I think they may confuse people that are not used to it, but then that’s where tooltips can help


Thanks. The prize is likely to be a pull request into Cesium… :slight_smile:


Sounds like an excellent prize to me :slight_smile:


  • Change view from Earth to Saturn

  • Create wormhole

  • Email developers using a fancy envelope

And yes, I’d totally click to see those things happen!

(I’m not feeling confident about winning that prize)

It took everything I had not to give snarky replies when Ed first sent this out, but I’m happy to see the rest of the Cesium community didn’t let me down!

Apologies, I’ll try to be more constructive. I think those icons present quite a satellite centric view of Cesium, whereas Cesium can be useful for a lot of other activities. Did you consider something along the lines of the attached hastily chopped together alternative. I guess it’s now implying earth which might not always be the case.


Chris, I was joking, I’m glad people had some fun with their responses. The Cesium team (at least most of us) have a very good sense of humor (and snark and sarcasm). (I, myself, often get accused of a little to much snark and sarcasm).

That being said, I think your concern that the icons are a bit satellite-centric is a good point. Perhaps we can try Ed’s icons without the orbit/ground tracks, or maybe ones similar to yours with landmasses. I definitely like the black/white style of the new icons. Your thoughts Ed?

Taking a cue from Chris’ suggestion, I created 3 new icons in the style of Ed’s but with continents instead of a satellite orbit. What do you guys think?

Kids are sick, didn’t get a chance to reply until now. Matt, those icons look really good. My concerns about using the Earth continents in general are:

a) They’re Earth-centric, as Chris mentioned, and we do plan to take Cesium to Mars and other central bodies.

b) Typically they add a lot of size to an SVG, percentage-wise (but in absolute terms it might not matter).

c) The 2D and Columbus View icons start to look a lot like “Tilt down” and “Tilt up” icons of a nav widget, particularly if you remove the Earth continents.

I’m OK switching to Earth-centric icons, if the consensus is they will be less foreign to non-space users. But I think space is the only place where Columbus View really shines. Down on the surface in Columbus view, looking up at the sky, the whole geo belt is a short line segment near the zenith visible from anywhere, even the poles, never touching the horizon. If you confine your view to just the local vicinity, then removing the Earth’s curvature makes less of a difference but introduces a very subtle distortion. I don’t see a good use case for Columbus View in terrestrial-bound visualization. That led me to put an orbit on its icon, to show its strength, and my next design put orbits on all three.

Anyone else with opinions on space-centric vs. Earth-centric?


I agree the file sizes are bigger, I was going to look into simplified geometry for the continents, which would help that considerably. I probably won’t bother doing that until we decide what we really want.

A similar argument to your tilt argument is that the 3D icon is easily confused with the yet to be developer central body picker we’ll have one day. In fact, I just checked and Google Earth uses an icon of Saturn as their central body picker icon; so that could lead to confusion with users already used to Google Earth. I have to admit, the more I look at the 3D icon, the more worried I am it looks like Saturn.

Personally, I don’t care if the icons themselves are satellite-centric or not. What matters to me is that users “get” the icons easily; particularly users who do not predominantly work in space. I’m not sure that will happen with the satellite-centric ones.

Okay, I just had a new idea. What about we take the orbit out of the icons but instead shade them slightly to imitate sunlight, this way it provides the sense of depth that the orbits originally gave? Here’s a quick example simply using linear gradients, be we could do a nicer job if we decided we like this way. When these are actually used in-app with the new toolbar, they look pretty good.

I think I like those. If you’re ready, add them to the branch, and I’ll try them (and everyone else is welcome to try them too. Most of us AGIers are fairly space-centric folks).


An alternative to shading could be to use grid lines which might be more readable on some displays. i.e. Adapt this sort of thing to the other views.

Nice idea, I like it. I guess we’ll try both.

Chris, we ended up going to grid-lined versions of the icons. Thanks for the recommendation. Everything is in the below pull request, which will hopefully be in master soon and definitely in b15 releasing on the 1st.


Thanks again to everyone that provided feedback.