just a question
does anyone know of a website where you can put in a starting point and an amount of time/miles and get a map that shows how far away that is...like using a compass to make a circle around a point that shows everything in that distance...does that make sense?
Wouldn't that be cool!
That would be a very cool tool. We have worked on a similar web-based product (but the costs of R&D have put it on a back-burner for a while). No, nothing really works that swell at the moment. We would all love a product where we could load a starting point, indicate we want to drive for say 4 hours (or 4 days...) and have the program show all of the cool things one could drive to in that period. Such a tool would provide routes, events, concerts, golf, etc. and motel booking information and would be personalized based upon each user's profile. It doesn't exist yet.
We have reviewed some of the products that do some of those things, and our <a href = "http://www.roadtripamerica.com/travelplanning/userguidefree.htm">rating sytem</a> is on-line in the Planning RoadTrip Department.
Pilots often have such a tool to work with -- although it is very "manual." FBO's and airport pilot's lounges often have a chart of the United States posted, and attached to the home airport's position on the map is a string attached to a weight and a pulley. There will be a linear mileage scale on the map, or along one side. All you do is grab the string, line it up on the mileage scale to your desired mileage, then stretch it onto the map in whatever direction you have in mind to see how far you can go. Also, you can stretch it along a desired course, even with doglegs (using your fingers to mark waypoints), and see how far that is and whether your fuel will allow non-stop flight or not (we don't always fly straight lines between points, sometimes terrain or restricted airspace, for example, can force non-direct routing). Of course, it is flight miles (think crow), not road miles. There's your bit of useless information for the day -- although if you have the desire or need, this is easily duplicated on your garage wall! :)
Possibly Map point
I think Microsoft Map point and some of the higher end software that include marketing tools may have this capability. I know I've seen it advertised on someone's software. Can't recall which one at the moment.
Another great tool would be if the Road Conditions were also listed all along the route. And if they were updated continuously.
And since this is a wish list, how about an aerial view of each section of the route that's updated continuously!! I guess that's impossible :) :)
Most of that already exists
Near-real-time road condition reporting is available (conditions updated every 15 - 30 minutes) for virtually any name or numbered route in the United States and Canada. Plus web cams can be viewed for many section of nearly every Interstate in the United States.
Plus, it is possible to obtain local weather and road conditions beamed to hand-held PCs and palm pilots for virtually any road in North America. Plus, if one has the right equipment you can view real-time satellite imagery for any section of North America in your vehicle. It is not cheap but it works.
Is there something that shows road conditions on a single route as it crosses statelines? In other words, is there way to view road conditions for a specific route without having to go to different state DOT sites? Sometimes it's tough to know which condition to pay attention or which part of the highway will be on your route. I wish the DOT sites could do an actual route instead of just listing random conditions for each road. For example, Colorado lists many, many I70 conditions and I have no idea which ones apply to my route (other than Denver).
Just need to Drill down a little
The road condition reports are sequential. As it turns out -the Colorado DOT report is one of the easiest to use in this regard. On the top of the page that lists all of the reporting locations (alphabetical) there is a pull-down menu for "reports". One of the reports available is "Denver to Utah on I-70" -- if you select that report you will be a listing all of road conditions from Denver to the Utah State line on I-70. If you were on the road and going eastbound -- you just read from the bottom of the report. This is kept very timely in the winter -- the timestamp of this report when I looked was "Jan 04, 2004 10:56:42 AM" -- about 23 seconds before I requested it. Plus, these reports can be "bookmarked" allowing fast access to any section of roadway you are interested in 24 hours per day.
While is true the each state's DOT only reports on the conditions in their state -- it is easy and quick (2-3 seconds on the web) to obtain matching information from the next state.
Plus, if you are not near a web browser - all of this information is available on the 800 number recorded information telephone lines 24/7.
Using the web sometimes takes a little effort -- drilling down to the specific information you need -- but it is often there and it sure beats watching local news for weather reports.
If you have a scanner --- another technique we use is to monitor school bus radio frequencies -- all bus drivers report on icy conditions as they occur in these areas -- this is the most accurate and efficient reporting service I am aware of. But the web reporting services represent a close second.