A Happy New Year to you all, let's hope this one finally sees some improvement so that we can finally start to travel around the country to enjoy the outdoors without so much faff and worry.
You may remember that I wrote here some months ago now about the new mapping software we were working on to replace the current GPS Mapping app and an early release has been running on maps.the-hug.net for some time now.
This is a complete rewrite to use the Leaflet mapping library in preference to OpenLayers which previous iterations of the software have used. Leaflet provides a much more stable, and more lightweight, foundation for the app. The aim in writing it was to produce a new app which looked similar to the old one - to make it easier to move over to using it - while adding new functionality.
Although it's still in beta you can currently find it here https://www.walklakes.co.uk/maps2 and I invite you to give it a go as we've just put a new version online which includes layers, now renamed "overlays", like OS bench marks and water levels at gauging stations around Britain.
You should find it very similar to the old app but there are some significant changes:
As part of this change you now select the map tiles being displayed by putting your mouse over the new "layers" icon in the top left corner of each map. We are currently offering you:
WayMaps - our own British Isles mapping, which we continue to update and improve.
Ordnance Survey - these are now sourced directly from OS rather than Bing so it's correctly oriented with north being straight up. We're also now getting two levels of zoom (8 and 9) at 1:25K rather than one as well as two levels (6 and 7) at 1:50K. As before these tiles are only available to users who are logged on.
NLS Historic OS - these tiles are based on Ordnance Survey maps from 1919-1947 and are provided to us by the National Library of Scotland map service. These tiles are only available to supporters and can be interesting when you're researching a route you're intending to walk, especially to see where roads and railway lines used to run. Be warned that the register is sometimes less than perfect so don't plan your route directly on these tiles, instead use "2 maps" mode and put WayMaps or OS on one map and this on the other.
OpenStreetMap - this is OpenStreetMap's own tile server. Probably not that useful in general as our WayMaps has most of their relevant geodata on it but you might want to refer to it occasionally.
Bing aerial photography - only available to users who are logged on.
ESRI aerial photography - only available to users who are logged on.
The top bar functionality has changed slightly in other ways too so for example:
clicking on the WalkLakes icon top left takes you to the site home page rather than hiding the top bar. This seems more intuitive for new users however we've retained the ability to hide the top bar and you now click on the icon in the top right hand corner to do that.
We've removed the "track mode/route mode" button and replaced it with a more intuitive pair of radio buttons for editing track2 or route.
There also a host of smaller changes. For example:
When viewing WayMaps tiles then for zoom 7 to 9 the grid squares are numbered on the left and along the top (in the same style as OS's blue numbers every 10km, but drawn dynamically so they're always in view).
Talking of zoom levels the level number is now displayed top right between the '+' and '-' zoom buttons rather than in the top bar as in 2 map mode one map may sometimes be in a different zoom level to the other.
When displaying a track then if you've turned on direction arrows these are rendered rather more elegantly.
Printing has been improved (and we've also fixed a bug where printing didn't work at all on Apple Macs, iPads, or iPhone).
So what's still missing? Well the main thing is the ability to load your old tracks and routes and also the ability to update your log book automagically when you upload a track GPX ... but that's all coming very soon now and we're intending to turn off the old app and make the new app the default one later this month.
Then we're back to looking at more things we can add.
The labelling of rivers and streams is inconsistent in WayMaps - see the attached.
Herrings Stream (at the bottom) uses a larger font and appears in all zoom levels (7-9)
Mill Stream (toward the top) uses a smaller font and disappears when you go to zoom level 7.
My feeling is that the Mill Stream behaviour is better - the large font really dominates the display when you go to level 7.
(FWIW this is in Firefox on a Linux system)
Thanks the pointing that out. Herrings Stream is a quirk imported from OS OpenData. Fixed in the next release.
After a while since looking at this, the immediate issue seems fixed - the Herrings Stream labelling works as expected. However this is definitely not a unique issue and I can find many more examples which are still not fixed - e.g. Croasdale Beck near Ennerdale (snapshots at zoom levels 7 & 8). A more generic fix seems in order (or someone is going to have to go over the entire UK with a fine toothed comb).
Even odder is what happens to the labelling of Morland Beck in the next two snapshots. This seems to be related to the fact that the name overlaps the heavier grid line on a multiple of 10 (again at zoom levels 7 & 8).
Sorry to be a bit of a nit-picker - your work is really appreciated - but sometimes things grate!
(BTW: I'm really impressed by the software you are using to edit posts - some of the best I've come across).
Croasdale Beck near Ennerdale, etc. You are going to find some duplicated names with different font sizes. This is a problem with my historical data gathering trying to do The Right Thing when it finds a name already in the table, but with differing classification, size hinting, or even close spelling mistakes. It did the best I could at the time but for a while I've thought I need another little program to go round and find these, and other, inconsistencies. But it would be a manual process to review each as some names are legitimately different size - a river which gets larger down stream would be expected to have a lbigger font size.
Morland Beck. This one can definitely be blamed on mapnik - the software I use to render the map from the database. The tiles I generate have an extra border round them to try and fix labels that are placed near to, or cross, a tile boundary. It mostly works, except for occasional instances where mapnik decides to do stuff like this, and I don't know why. Looking up and down that grid line other similar labels are fine. One of these days I'll see if I can build mapnik myself again and add some debug.
Sorry to be a bit of a nit-picker - your work is really appreciated - but sometimes things grate
No problem, if you point them out I might be able to fix them! Can't promise quick fixes mind, but they do go on the to-do list.
[...] So what's still missing? Well the main thing is the ability to load your old tracks and routes and also the ability to update your log book automagically when you upload a track1 GPX ... but that's all coming very soon now [...]
I'm pleased to tell you that I've just uploaded a new version of the software to https://www.walklakes.co.uk/maps2 which has all these facilities.
It's very fresh and definitely beta test quality at the moment but it should now have all the functionality we had before, plus the new features discussed above. Do let me know what you think of it.
A superb addition to the website, Paul.
For its ability to show two maps side by side, one of my favourite mapping websites to date has been "WheresThePath".
But this update to WalkLakes mapping, with the ability to include our own uploaded tracks & routes etc. takes the concept that step further.
I appreciate that you say this new version is still in beta stage testing, (I haven't yet managed to find anything that doesn't work!), but would it be possible to have a link directly to this version on the toolbar of the previous version which opens up by default when clicking on "GPS Mapping" from the site's homepage?
The only way I've found to get to this new version presently, is to come back to this forum topic and click on the https://www.walklakes.co.uk/maps2 link you have provided here.
On the subject of looking for more things to add: - When one creates a route on the mapping, the route length (shown within the drop down "your route" box) is given in miles and kilometres, and the ascent/descent is given in metres only.
Would it be possible, (for "us oldies" who still prefer statute to metric), to also show that ascent/descent in feet?
I can easily access the new maps by bookmarking the page or slightly harder but still quicker than going back to the post, adding the 2 in the https address.
One quirk I've noticed is that on the OS maps the scale bar often differs from the other maps when 2 are showing, ie when I've got the whole of Cumbria onscreen I have the longer 10km on top & shorter 5 miles below, but on waymaps I have an even shorter 5km on top & the short 5 miles below, I feel it would be better if they both used the same method of short vs long, especially when the numbers are the same although I realise that things alter as one zooms.
Yup, I always likes 'WheresThePath'. Bill was one of the early players in OS online mapping. Before me I think.
As for a link we'll be going live this week (I'm just tying up some loose ends on another feature we're adding (of which more later but we're please with it thus far), plus a bug fix for uploading ludicrously large routes (we had someone try to load one with over 2500 route1 points this week!) but in the meantime SheepFarmer is on the money: bookmark the page.
Ascent/descent in feet? Yeah you make a valid point. I still prefer distances in miles (Beth's more of a kilometre girl I think) but we both think of ascent in metres, but could certainly add feet. Bit worried about space mind you, I think it might need a second line for four digit ascent/descents. Anyway, I'll give it a go. If I can't fit it I'll put it on a flag in settings. Might take a while to do fully though: that's not the only place where heights are show - see also the height profile.
Ascent/descent can now be viewed in "feet" - there's a new setting to enable this.
Thanks Paul - just tried it - perfect!
As for quickly getting to the new mapping - I obviously wasn't thinking straight! - Of course, just bookmark that page!
But things have moved on apace, and I see that the new mapping is now the default setting - great stuff !!!!