Monday, January 14, 2013

Updates to RouteFinder

On the BWCA/Quetico interactive map, I created what I call the RouteFinder. This is a tool that you can use to find the shortest distance between any two or more campsites, portages, and/or entry points in the Boundary Waters. (I am working on adding the Quetico at the moment.) This is a really unique tool, and I invite you to try it out. The RouteFinder has been on the website for awhile, but today I added some updates.

Example of Using the BWCA RouteFinder
Example of Using the BWCA RouteFinder

Updates to the RouteFinder:
  • Ability to download a GPX file to upload to a GPS
    • The link will appear on the summary screen after the route is done calculating.
    • The GPX file will contain the route and the nearby campsites and entry points.
    • You can also view the GPX file in programs such as Garmin's MapSource. (I only tested the file with MapSource, so it may or may not work with other programs.)
  • Adding a location to the RouteFinder from the popup window on the map
    • Previously, you could add a location to your route only by right-clicking on the location. For touchscreen or one-button-mouse users, this made it virtually unusable. I added a link to the popup window so anyone should be able to use the RouteFinder.
  • Saving your default settings
    • You can change the settings (paddling speed, portaging trips, calculation accuracy, etc.) for the RouteFinder on the settings tab.
    • Previously, you had to change the settings whenever you visited the site (some standard defaults always appeared). Now you can change the settings, press the Save Settings button, and the applicable settings will always be loaded when you visit the site.
    • To change back to the original defaults, press the  Reset Settings button. This will delete the saved settings. This won't change the settings immediately - the original default settings will be loaded the next time you reload the page.
  • Ability to save a route
    • This was a requested feature. After calculating a route, you can now save the route (locations and settings) if you are registered and signed in.
    • To save a route, calculate the route with the desired settings. On the summary screen, press the Save Route button. Type a description in the box that pops up and press OK. The screen will flash briefly, and then a message will pop up saying that the route was saved.
    • To load a saved route, go to the To/From tab. On the right is a drop down list with your saved routes (this only appears if you are signed in). Changing the selection in the drop down box will change the locations and settings but will not calculate the route. To calculate a saved route, select the route you want to load and press Load Route.
    • For now, you cannot delete a route after saving it. I will create a tool in My MNC in the near future to be able to manage your saved routes.
  •  View printed maps covering the route
    • This tab shows which Fisher, McKenzie, and Voyageur maps cover the route. (This is a feature that I personally wanted for a long time, but I didn't have the time to put it in.)
    • Click on the map name to see the area the map covers. If you click on the red square, some maps have a link to purchase it on Amazon.
    • To make the red square disappear, click on the Hide Maps button.
    • Please keep in mind - The map boundaries shown are approximate representations of the actual area the maps cover. I put in all of the boundaries manually, so there will be mistakes.
If you have any comments or suggestions, please feel free to contact me. I would love to hear how you are using the map and the website, what features you would like to see, and how it has helped you.

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