If you ever use our GPS mapping app on its original site maps.the-hug.net you will have seen that we've been running new software on there for a couple of weeks now. Functionally it looks and feels pretty similar to the old software but it's a complete re-write as it now uses Leaflet rather than OpenLayers as the underlying map tile rendering library and it also uses Ordnance Survey's new OS Maps API to serve the OS tiles rather than OpenSpace and so, currently at least, users have access to 1:25K on that site, which we've never had before.
But all this was just a warm up for the main event, which is to produce a version to run on WalkLakes with extra facilities for logged in users and, especially, for supporters and we've just put the first version online. Please note that this is beta test software and some features don't work yet, so the old software remains in place but you can find the new version at https://www.walklakes.co.uk/maps2
So what's new? Here's some highlights:
Map tile layer selection is now via an icon in the top left corner of the map window rather than via radio buttons along the top. Currently we have three map layer options available - OS, WayMaps, and (for the first time) OpenStreetMap - and both Bing and ERSI aerial photography. We hope to add more map layers later.
We're taking OS tiles direct from Ordnance Survey rather than Bing so they're projected to OS grid and hence grid north is always straight up the page. We're also now getting two levels of zoom (8 and 9) at 1:25K as well as two levels (6 and 7) at 1:50K.
When looking at WayMaps tiles the grid lines are labelled along the edge of the map on zooms 7 to 9. This means than when you print the map out it's easier to find grid references.
Talking of zoom levels the level number is now displayed top right between the '+' and '-' zoom buttons.
If you like arrows on your tracks then the new software renders these rather more accurately and elegantly, even coping with changes of colour and width for your track.
The colour selection in settings for both tracks and routes now uses your browser's own colour selector so should be more familiar to you.
And this is the big one ... we've dropped the 'Overlay' option but instead if you're a supporter you can switch to "2 maps" mode (checkbox top right) which splits the window in two and you can then have different map tiles on each side - so probably OS or WayMaps one side and aerial photography the other. Tracks or routes are displayed on both sides and the maps automatically follow each other as you drag them around or zoom in and out. We've been using this on our test system for a while now and we love it. Here's an example of a route up Catbells.
I will be emailing all our supporters about this soon but I thought I'd put this post up now for the keener of you who check the forum.
Please feel free to give the software a go but do bear in mind that this is still in beta so if you do run into any problems can you please let us know? Tell us what you were trying to do and, if relevant, mail us a screen shot.
I should also warn you that the following things are currently missing but we will be putting them in place soon:
offering to update your log book when you upload a GPX track
all the overlays - so no water gauging stations, tops, OS benchmarks, or GeoGraph photos
the ability to reload previously uploaded tracks or routes
the 'View in 3D' option
Once we've got that all done, and any other missing functionality that I've forgotten to mention, then we're then going to be looking at some new features, in particular the ability to add your own annotations to the map as an extra layer which I know several supporters would like to have.
Finally I should just mention that when you first use this app your settings are copied over from the old app but any changes you make using the new app are not copied back into the old app i.e. each app has its own, separate, settings.