The integration of network topology with Orion's mapping component is definitely high on our roadmap. Can you describe the types of maps you'd want to create using topology (e.g. single switch with connected devices, router with subnets, entire topology, etc.)?
Sure Chris. I have been using Orion since it almost the inception with three different companies and we have always used it for somewhere between router with subnets to entire topology. Rarely would we do a single switch unless it was significant enough to monitor on its own. I suspect that may be different in a scenario where the end user is monitoring more than network devices (servers, etc) or may have a smaller network footprint. We have ours broken down geographically using the world map to drill down to each country and location for the local network with devices which will be numerous switches, routers, firewalls, etc. Only now are we integrating some servers - highly critical servers that will go on our maps but this is only one area and a very specific need. It has the need for us to be able to drop applications from APM on the maps as well which I was told is forthcoming in the next release. This is a huge deal to us for this specific need and could potentially expand our usage of APM in our network.
Having said the above, I also know that in the time I have used Map Maker, I have maybe one time used its map making features other than dropping a jpg background and devices, interfaces on that background. The tools just arent that easy to use. Maybe it isnt that they arent easy but they are cumbersome and when as most people do have all of our network diagrams in Visio, it is hard not to go with that. The problem I see with Visio/JPGs in the current form is the static nature of the maps. When a change is made you have to mod the Visio, reimport the jpg, etc. I am working a pretty involved map right now (which brought this up in my mind) and I am going to have to start from scratch I think. I have to rescale this from being a single map to a map insert on the APM page so I can get Application status on one view for our Operations. This gets difficult sizing wise. (brings up some thoughts on the web interface's ability to be customized as well).
I surely don't have the knowledge of what it takes but here would be something ideal or nice to see. Use Lansurveyor (of course), scan a network/seed router, list of networks, build the map, ALLOW me to exclude devices by type, ip, etc (i dont want end hosts on here, just network devices), or only scan for devices in Orion already and associate the device in Orion with the device on the map if possible. Once your done allow me to manipulate devices on the map including links, etc.
Another thing I worked on at two of the places I worked but finally scrapped because the map was too complex was a L2 Data Center map of our core. Basically a map or our core switches and all uplinks to every switch in the Data Center. I used java mouse over so you could mouse over a link and pop the bandwidth graph for that link dynamically. It is a nice feature that would be nicer if I didnt have to build it on my own.
Hope I didnt rambe too much and I hope I gave you some useful information.