Possible to show grid bearings in "Your Route"?

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By Lancashire Lad on 30/03/17 at 7:57pm


I was musing as to whether it might be possible for the grid bearing to be indicated on a Walk-Lakes "Your Route" leg between two points?

i.e. in the following (basic for use here) example, route length, ascent, etc. are shown for the Great Gable to Bow Fell "route-line" in question - but might it be possible to also show the grid bearing for that direct "point to point" line?

I wouldn't envisage using bearings derived in such manner for actual walking directions, (although I can't immediately see any reason why they would be any less accurate than taking an actual compass bearing). I ask because when planning a walk, I often make a note of various bearings from intended viewpoints, in order to look for particular fell tops or other features in the distance.

I think the ability to obtain bearings in this manner could save quite a bit of time when compared to doing so with full sized paper maps and compass, especially when distant objectives would be involved. Since, once the start point (observer's position) has been clicked on, the on screen map can be easily zoomed in-out, and dragged around to the destination location, in order to click on that - no matter how far away that location might be. (i.e. it might actually be located on a different paper map).

I've no idea whether this is something that could be implemented, but if it would be a relatively simple "fix", I think quite a few people would find it useful.

Edited (with additional text in brown, as above) 31/03/17, to further clarify usage intent. Regards, Mike.

By TallPaul on 31/03/17 at 2:38pm

Funnily enough we do have something in the software now which does this. Sort of.

For our own internal purposes as well as showing "Overall ascent" it shows the overall bearing (we use this as a tool when adding labels onto our new WayMaps map tiles). For that purpose 0° is due east, not north, but bearings still increase clockwise so it would be easy enough to change this for the general case. The only other issue is that we would be giving you bearings relative to grid north, not magnetic north, but as I'm sure you know this isn't really a big issue for the next few years.

We're in the middle of a major upgrade of the mapping and the mapping software at the moment, of which more later, but I'll try to remember to include this in the next public release.

By Lancashire Lad on 31/03/17 at 3:17pm

Hi Paul,

Yes, I appreciate that it would show grid bearing and not magnetic bearing - but, as you say, it's not really an issue (in respect of the Lakeland area) at the moment.

I think having this facility would also come in handy on those occasions where you are given directions from others, (or are giving directions to others). Especially so if the on screen bearing were "live", (constantly changing), as the mouse was being moved, until the destination location was clicked on? (I.e. in the same way that the grid reference changes automatically as the mouse is moved around).

In such cases, say if you had been given some information to look on a bearing of "x" degrees, from a given observation point, you would simply be able to click on that point on the map, and then move the mouse around until the bearing was showing "x" degrees, and you would then know the precise direction to look, and hopefully, see your intended point of interest somewhere along that line on the map!

If it would work as I'm thinking, that all sounds "just the job!" - look forward to seeing it.

Best regards, Mike.

By TallPaul on 16/04/17 at 8:22am


I've just pushed the latest version of the mapping to live which includes this change.

By Lancashire Lad on 16/04/17 at 3:12pm

Hi Paul,

That's fantastic! (just tried it as per example below).

The only way that I could imagine improving on this would be if the blue "route-leg / bearing line" were able to be physically seen moving with the mouse cursor, before being fixed to position by clicking the mouse button. (i.e in a similar manner to what happens when using the "measure distance" tool on Bing Maps). And with the "overall bearing" simultaneously changing in value as the cursor is actually moving around.

Bit difficult to explain what I'm envisaging - but hopefully this makes sense: -

Currently, the blue line appears on the map when the second location is clicked on, as a straight line between the two points.

If you need to move (or want to edit) the second point, you left click (over that point) and "drag" it to its new location - but the line doesn't actually move as the cursor is being moved. You don't see any movement of the line until it jumps to the new location - at the point where you release the cursor from dragging.

Consequently you see the "original" overall bearing, and then the "new" overall bearing, but you don't see the in-between bearings changing as the cursor is being moved. - So, if you were wanting a specific bearing (perhaps having been given a specific numeric bearing as part of some directions), you will have to find it by process of trial and error.

I have no idea if the above might be a possibility, and am just thinking of what I'd personally see as the "utopia" situation for this particular feature.

In fact, if it were possible to make the mileage/kilometre distance value as well as the overall bearing value "dynamic" (i.e changing as the cursor is actually moving), again, in a similar manner to how distance values constantly change as the cursor is moved with the Bing Maps "measure distance" tool, - that would be Uber-Utopia! :D :geek:

Don't get me wrong - What you've already implemented is great. It will be very useful for me, and is very much appreciated! I just hope you don't mind me making suggestions for yet more potential tweaks.

Best regards, Mike.

By TallPaul on 16/04/17 at 10:14pm

The problem we have is that the figures for distance, bearing, ascent etc are calculated "server side". So essentially what happens is that every time you move a point, or add a point, your web browser passes back to the server the new route1 and the server does the maths and returns the results to be displayed in the route box. It has to be this way as some data, mainly the height data, is not available to the web browser (it's stored in two vast databases on our server, one for GB, one for Ireland).

So every time you move move or add a point that's a request to the server and, if we did what you're asking for, the poor old server would strain under the weight of requests.

Incidentally this is why, if you are adding points to a route quickly, it doesn't update the figures immediately, instead you get the "waiting" image. The software running in your web browser is designed so that at most it only makes a request every few seconds (five perhaps? I forget now).

Anyway, the bottom line is: sorry, but I don't think we can help you any further on this.

  1. A route describes where you are intending to go, point by point. For more information click here.

By Lancashire Lad on 17/04/17 at 11:32am

Hi Paul,

Thanks very much for the explanation.

It would have been a nice refinement, but - c'est la vie - if it can't be done - it can't be done!

The ability to see or find the overall bearing is the main thing that matters (to me).

So, once again, many thanks for implementing that. - No other mapping site I've seen to date has that facility! ;)

Best regards, Mike.

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