Tribal DDB creates unique web-based application that can visually display unlimited airline routings. The software developed for Flightmaps, allows travel consultants to easily plan long-haul, multi-stop travel itineraries. The rich, Flash MX 2004 based, application is currently being rolled out across all STA Travel UK stores.

Tribal’s challenge was to build tools and features that allow users to intelligently navigate the maps to find the information they wanted, whilst keeping the interface as simple as possible.

Chris Jenkins, Head of Interaction Design at Tribal DDB, explains, “Technically, the tools we developed are absolutely on the cutting edge of what can be achieved right now using Flash MX. Programmed using Actionscript 2 and Flash 7, the algorithm we created runs live in the browser: sorting, joining and untangling the routes to give the clearest possible display in a fraction of the time it would take to draw by hand.

“Combined with the sheer quantity of data involved, Flightmaps gave our developers a real challenge in building a powerful, responsive product that was on the one hand a website, and on the other, a real software application.”

By displaying all possible flight routes visually on a map of the world, Flightmaps software greatly simplifies the incredible complexity of route maps that cannot be achieved using traditional means. Previously, travel consultants had to memorise huge amounts of airline route information or call the airlines direct.
Tribal developed three key pieces of software: an algorithm that could draw the routes in the most aesthetically pleasing and legible fashion; a sophisticated search feature that allows users to find places on the maps even when they aren’t sure how to spell them; and a tool called ‘lensing’ that allows users to interrogate areas of the map that they are interested in by simply drawing boxes over it.

“The software that Tribal developed will radically change the nature of our business,” explains Julian Ruffle, Director at Flightmaps. He continues, “In making this route information available in one place, the previously complicated process of planning long-haul trips has been drastically simplified. Not only will this make the role of travel consultants easier, but it will ensure that customers are offered the optimum range of routes and stop-over locations at all times.”

Flightmaps was established in 2002. In 2003, the company licensed the first version of the Flightmaps software to STA Travel UK. Flightmaps is a subscription-based service.

Flightmaps will be demonstrating how this innovative software works at the Travel Technology Show at London Olympia on 1st and 2nd February, stand 181.

Editor’s notes

About Tribal DDB
Tribal DDB is a top ten international digital marketing agency, with a strong reputation for strategic thinking and excellent creative work. Tribal DDB delivers the full spectrum of digital services from online marketing, media buying and planning and strategic direction through to web design and programming.

Tribal DDB clients include: Volkswagen, Harvey Nichols, Guardian, Nationwide, Camelot, BT Yahoo!, Philips and TUI.

Anna Vickerstaff
immediate future Ltd.
0845 408 2031

Published on: 12:00AM on 27th January 2005