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  1. Default Exactly what I want!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sedenquist View Post
    We've been getting some good ideas WRT to new features. So here is a thread for you to post your ideas as well.

    The first one:

    GKS writes:

    "I'd like to be able to enter a route, and then be able to enter how many miles I think I could drive in a given day. I'd love to then get a list of possible overnight locations."
    This is exactly what I was going to ask if there was a way of doing this. I doubt that it'd be difficult to program the wizard to do that if it can find attractions within 100 miles of a destination, it should be able to find cities within x number of miles from a starting point. I found this website because I did a google search for road mapping websites in hopes that I could find a map that would map a route, then took the mileage I enter, calculate it along my route, and tell me approximately where I could be looking for a place to stop for the night. Some days I want to travel 1200 km, some days I want to travel 400 km before stopping for the night. But it's difficult to use the little mileage key on the bottom corner of the map to calculate that distance when it's on my computer screen. I need this info so I can research hotels in the area to make sure I don't end up in a bug-infested no-tell motel. Some chains, even though they are nation-wide chains, fall into the no-tell motel category in some locations and if you don't know the area, you can't know unless you do research ahead of time.

    Please, please, please -- make this happen!

  2. #2
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    Default It's really a difficult programming challenge

    Thanks for the post and the suggestion...

    There are way too many variables to create a mapping program that would meet your criteria:
    "...then took the mileage I enter, calculate it along my route, and tell me approximately where I could be looking for a place to stop for the night...
    But we'll add this to the "wish list" and see what we could do.

    I never or rarely identify specific motels on a road trip. It's rare when I start a day's trip that I even know what city I'm going to be spending the night in. I usually know the region, maybe even a range of cities/towns plus/minus 50 miles. As a general rule, I use one of the national chain affinity programs -- I prefer Holiday Inn Express, because the beds are nearly always comfortable, web access works, breakfast is fine and the affinity program has a built-in discount rate structure. Other chains work the same way. There are motel chains I avoid, at all costs, and I also like staying at specialty B&B and inns. And for those special places, I do the research and book ahead but for those places it's always about the amenities -- they are almost always more expensive than the chain motel places.

    Research is an important and vital part of road trip planning -- but for me the best aspect of the planning is to find those places that I might not find when I arrive on scene. I should say that in that the 17 years that I've been a professional roadtripper, I've only had two nights of bed bugs adventures... that's two more than I'd prefer... and in both examples I should have "listened" to my inner brain when I checked in. Actually, I checked into one motel -- knowing that it was a distinct possibility -- but I wanted the experience that that motel offered. It was fun -- even with the "gift" of the bed bugs.

    Mark

  3. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sedenquist View Post
    Thanks for the post and the suggestion...

    There are way too many variables to create a mapping program that would meet your criteria: But we'll add this to the "wish list" and see what we could do.
    <sigh> That's a shame. :( I'm not trying to be a pain -- but I honestly don't understand how it is too difficult to make this happen since you already have something kind of similar in the RoadTrip Attractions application. That application looks 50 or 100 miles away from your route for an attraction, right? The 50 or 100 miles is too limiting. Basically I just want to enter my own number from a starting point on my route (ie 600 miles), and it tells me where 600 miles is on my route from that starting point. Then I look for nearby lodging. Other than having 2 set mileages instead of a user-entered mileage, how is that different than what I'm asking for?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sedenquist View Post
    I never or rarely identify specific motels on a road trip. It's rare when I start a day's trip that I even know what city I'm going to be spending the night in. I usually know the region, maybe even a range of cities/towns plus/minus 50 miles. As a general rule, I use one of the national chain affinity programs -- I prefer Holiday Inn Express, because the beds are nearly always comfortable, web access works, breakfast is fine and the affinity program has a built-in discount rate structure. Other chains work the same way. There are motel chains I avoid, at all costs, and I also like staying at specialty B&B and inns. And for those special places, I do the research and book ahead but for those places it's always about the amenities -- they are almost always more expensive than the chain motel places.

    Research is an important and vital part of road trip planning -- but for me the best aspect of the planning is to find those places that I might not find when I arrive on scene. I should say that in that the 17 years that I've been a professional roadtripper, I've only had two nights of bed bugs adventures... that's two more than I'd prefer... and in both examples I should have "listened" to my inner brain when I checked in. Actually, I checked into one motel -- knowing that it was a distinct possibility -- but I wanted the experience that that motel offered. It was fun -- even with the "gift" of the bed bugs.

    Mark
    I wish I could travel by the seat of my pants like that. But when I Great American Road Trip, I already know what I want to see along the way (OT -- it's funny that you call this site GART since that is what I've been calling my road trips since 2006!). I just don't know how far a day's drive is. My road trips are 6 weeks long and take me 12000 to 15000 km through as many as 29 states, I do not live for the adventure of quirky experiences, and it's just too difficult to budget for a trip like that without planning out stops. I guess it's back to the good old fashioned non-technology paper maps for me. I was just looking for something to make my planning job a little easier (it is a huge job to plan a trip like that). Again, not trying to be a pain, just disappointed that there's no technology in this day and age that can do a simple mileage calculation for me along a mapped route.

  4. #4
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    Exclamation Parts of that work RIGHT NOW

    Just about every mapping program I know, including RTA's will give you a mileage number for any personally chosen route. Point A to Point B. When you save your route, it's listed in the information box underneath keywords.

    If you make a Map (Route + Custom Places or the RTA Library Attractions) the mileage is displayed in bold below the map graphic.

    On the Google public maps, the mileage can be viewed in a linear way, by running the cursor along the route. (I'm an expert Google map maker, and I can tell you, that this is more difficult than it sounds...)

    The 50 or 100 miles is too limiting.
    Oh, you are using the Map Wizard! The Map Wizard is limited in many ways, you might try the Map Center -- which was created for custom mappers like you. There are a good deal more tools and flexibility there -- and you can create custom routes that go exactly where you want them to go!

    Without getting into a technical discussion about how these maps calculate routes, we'd have to re-design the entire software application to show you where 600 miles from any given point would take you... But I agree it might be a very useful tool. I'll see what we can do.
    Then I look for nearby lodging.
    We are actually going to be adding overlay tools that will allow members to choose what sorts of vendor services they want to be displayed on their maps. The first ones will be motel chains. That may be as soon as three weeks.

    I should tell you that we do have a rudimentary tool that does exactly (well nearly) what you want it to do. Its the LINE DRAWN TOOL. You access it from the Map Center Page. Unfortunately, at the moment it doesn't follow roads, but you can make it bob and weave in approximatization of your planned route and by hovering your cursor over any section it will show you the linear total of mileage.

    So, if you used this tool, you could figure out where 600 miles was, then use the radius tool to look for attractions within 1 to 100 miles of any spot you chose.

    At this point, the programmers are trying to get the custom map printing applications working, but perhaps at some point in the next month or two, we can use the Line Drawn Tool to work on the Calculated Route program.

    Mark

  5. #5
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    Default Some tips on using the Hand-Drawn Route

    We developed the Hand-Drawn Route Tool for those instances where there are no roads that the automatic route program can follow. Mostly this was done for off-highway locations, but it will work for any road/route in North America.

    To get started: Go to the Map Center Page, scroll down and look for: "Create a Hand-drawn Route" just below that is the button that reads: "Draw New Route".

    Since this was written for what was intended to be short distances, scroll into the map so you can see local roads.

    1. click on "Draw New Route".
    2. It will prompt you to click a spot on your map. (make it where you want to start)
    3. Draw the line with your cursor, clicking (which makes dots) where you want the route to bend.
    4. When you reach the end of your route click "Stop Drawing Route"

    To see the mileage, hover your cursor over each of the dots (you'll need to scroll in enough to see them) and the cumulative mileage will appear.

    It's not fully automatic -- but it might be helpful to you.

    And we'll work on adding something like this to the automatically-generated maps later.

    Mark

  6. Default

    Thank you for your reply Mark -I didn't realize that was using the wrong mapping device. I will check out the Map Center and give the Line Drawing Tool a go and see if that will help me out. I sat down today with 4 AAA maps of the various regions of the USA spread out over the table and highlighters, calculator, pencil and pen, to try to calculate my mileage using those itty bitty numbers in between miniscule dots, then converting mileage to km so I have an idea of distance. (KM in Canada so I'm unfamiliar with miles) It's not impossible, and I did it for all our other road trips, but I'm getting lazy and want a computer to help me more and more. ;) I appreciate that there's a chance that a "smarter" tool could be coming in the future. Our Great America Road Trip is not until September, so perhaps it'll be in time before we leave and I can fine-tune my plans a bit more.

  7. #7
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    Default Both have their benefits

    Quote Originally Posted by This Dixie Pixie View Post
    Thank you for your reply Mark -I didn't realize that was using the wrong mapping device.
    The Map Wizard uses the same basic program, but it is a stripped-down version of the Map Center. Anyone can use the Map Wizard without registering unless they want to save a map. Registered members have many more trip planning tools.

    We've not employed a mile to km conversion tool -- but that's something we ought to do. We've already done much more complicated math conversions in the RTA Fuel Cost Calculator tool -- have you looked at that?

    Mark

  8. #8
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    Default

    For now, there is a whole lot easier way to do what you are talking about than using paper map, ruler, and calculator.

    Just use regular Google Maps and the "drag and drop" feature to do the work. Put in your starting and ending locations, and then add in "additional stops. To start, just guess what cities might be the appropriate distance apart, and see what the actual distance is. If they are too far or too short, grab the marker and move it to another point, see what the new distance is, and just play with it until you've got what you want.

    For example, if you wanted to find a place to stop between chicago and denver, you could type in those cities, click additional destination and add a "point B" at Omaha. You'd find that Omaha is about 450 miles from Chicago and then another 550 to Denver. But if you want to see what your other options are, you could drag "b" over to Lincoln, or Grand Island, or even slide it down to somewhere like Kansas City to see how taking I-70 would compare.

  9. #9
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    Default RTA's Drag and Drop is still pending

    We hope to have the RTA version of the "Drag and Drop" tool operational by mid to late May...

    But, yes that would work now.

    Mark

  10. #10
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    Default Breaking New! "Cone of Destination Possibilities"

    In today's design meeting, we looked at some ways to accomplish this. Such a tool would be very helpful to the RTA Moderators as well, so.... in the near future... we'll be introducing a trip planning tool that I'm calling the "Cone of Destination Possibilities" (no -- that's not the real name...).

    It will function like a "round ruler" -- that will highlight a circle or cone in a fixed radius from a given point and the map planner can use it to see what cities/locations/attractions are within a specified distance (for example 500 miles -- or one day's journey) and the map maker can then click on the visibility circle button and see approximately where 500 miles would be on the saved route. Or on any spot in North America. Exactly like using a compass, a pencil and a paper map, but it will be electronic and you can make dozens of new circles if you're thinking about changing your planned journey.

    Mark

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