We are trying to create a locations search for the business so customers can locate it in maps on the company site. How it works is:

  1. The user types the name of the city in search they want to see locations for
  2. It zooms in to that city and lists all the available locations within the viewable area

As cities/suburbs come in all shapes and sizes we can't zoom out to the boundary so there is a predefined zoom level we have to agree to.

As you can see in the diagram there will be some locations left out of view. My argument with them is if the user types London for example in the result list we should list those that are outside the viewable area, even though we aren't zooming out to fit all locations within view. But they dismiss this and say this is a locations "MAP" search so the user has to move the map around to get it to appear in the results list.

My considerations are:

  1. Search is respected, the location IS in London we must list it
  2. If the user is searching on a slow 3G phone, they don't have time to zoom out to increase the viewable area, just let them select the location on the list to reveal Phone Number or Operating Hours.

enter image description here

  • Would it be possible to zoom out to include all the locations for the particular city? If the user types in London and all your locations are in the center of London, you don't need to figure out how big London is - you just need the zoom level to encompass all the locations. Mar 15, 2019 at 14:53
  • @MaciejStachowski We can't, we want to load at a zoom level that is recognizable to the user. For example. They will say "Oh yes there is the train station" Or "there is the monument" or "city park" etc...
    – Apoc
    Mar 16, 2019 at 13:06
  • How do you prepare data for your search result? I mean a source of data and technology to obtain it - is it your custom database and query or any kind of publicly available API? I'm going to the point that your question is based on a kind of technological problem. Otherwise there are obvious user expectations of getting map search results.
    – Serg
    Mar 18, 2019 at 16:14

2 Answers 2


It's not a good idea to include all the results of London in the view area by zooming out. The reason being:- Imagine London 4 and London 5 are spread apart. So when you zoom out to accommodate this, your London 1 and London 2 get pretty much close to each other making it crowded and useless. Now imagine this when there are a lot of London in the city area; So you jam all of them in order to accommodate the rather less useful far away London 4 and London 5.

If the way you have shown now (4 and 5 only appears on the list) is not enough for client or requirement reasons, I would strongly suggest the following method:

enter image description here

Here, The we can avoid the user from fixing his decision on London 1,2 or 3 as he gets a notion of continuity that there are more items in the result.

  • If locations start to clump when zoomed out. We have a function that groups them and creates a circle marker ( 5 ) to say there is 5 locations here for example. When they click on it it will zoom in to that view-able area showing the 5 location markers. That solution with the arrows could work. Although I feel there's too many clicks involved, they have to click West, East, South, North to see the others. It's still trying to pan around even though cue is given on where to look. What if at the result list there is a Load More button which will zoom out to include the other locations?
    – Apoc
    Mar 16, 2019 at 13:32

You're faced with the problem of displaying only part of a data set and need to know how best to inform your users what it is that they're seeing and how they can either expand or narrow their view as need be.

I would suggest looking at how video games deal with this problem. Off to the side, there will be a PIP (picture in picture) and a red box that shows the viewable area. You need to give indicators outside the red box that there are interesting things to explore.

I've worked on similar problems to this. The issue included dealing with suburbs and what to exclude. For instance, searching for a city - say London - and there is a legal definition of where London begins and the suburbs begins. However, doing this could mean excluding locations across a street.

Added to that, there was a problem we called "psychological divides." Meaning that one location could be closer than another but the closer one was across a river and in another state. (I'm in the US.)

We ended up providing the users with a series of choices from a map to a table of results. Variations got very time consuming to design and costly to build.

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