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Beta maps


team tisri
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I think it's great that we can see caches overlaid on OpenStreetMap maps. The number of times I ended up with two tabs open so I could see cache locations in one, while using OSM maps to figure out where the paths went to get at the caches was getting silly.

 

Next up, it would be nice to have my finds shown as smileys on the beta maps... but all in good time :blink:

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I think the Beta maps are great and I'm sure the more I play with them the more feedback I'll be able to give. The only thing I have noticed so far is that Premium Member Only caches don't seem to appear on the map even though I'm still logged in. They appear in the original map format but not the Beta. Has anyone else noticed this?

 

A great advance though and I'm sure it will only improve further with time!

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Frankly, they're useless eye-candy without finds marked. Another half-arsed initiative IMHO.

 

I've had a play and I think they look pretty good. If you click through the pop-up you get when first visiting the Beta maps it says that they're planning to introduce the ability to filter by cache types in the future so hopefully that will include displaying found caches too. Even without that at the moment they're useful for checking out areas where you haven't visited to see whether it's worth a day trip.

 

I wonder if the recent Garmin site gave GC.com a bit of a kick up the @rse and they decided to get something out of the door PDQ and work on the bells and whistles next.

 

Another positive change IMHO, it makes me :D

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Frankly, they're useless eye-candy without finds marked. Another half-arsed initiative IMHO.

 

Think of the Map as exactly how it describes it's self "Beta", which tells you that there is more to come. Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither could the maps be completely revamped in one go. In the last few days Groundspeak have installed New Hardware, Installed New Forum Software (transferring over to the new code, 9 years of forum posts) Added Stats, Ratings and New "Beta" Map.

 

So I'd highly disagree with you, personally I think they have done brilliantly!

 

I wonder if the recent Garmin site gave GC.com a bit of a kick up the @rse and they decided to get something out of the door PDQ and work on the bells and whistles next.

 

What Groundspeak have done in the last seven days, took more than a couple of weeks of development and planning. Better to role out in stages and get things right from the get go. Than role out a product which is buggy, and not very usable at all. And have to play catch up.

 

Deci

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Sorry Dave, nothing personal, but I disagree. It's half-arsed. They've rolled out an untested, buggy, incomplete feature, again IMHO. What the heck use is a map where you can't see which caches you've found. How hard is it when you own the DB???

Edited by rutson
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What Groundspeak have done in the last seven days, took more than a couple of weeks of development and planning.

 

I realise that, but I also expect Groundspeak have known (or at least had an inkling) of what was coming along from Garmin for more than a few weeks. It just seems a bit of a co-incidence that there have been some major changes in a fairly short space of time. I'm not complaining if there is a bit of cause and effect here, I expressed a hope that this would be the case in another thread (perhaps on another forum) discussing the new kid on the block a couple of weeks ago.

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Can someone give a clue please? Where are these Wonderful / useless new maps? If only I could find them I could make up my own mind.

 

Click to open the map as you usually would (I go in through a cache page and click on Geocaching.com Google Map) and at the top, just above the map you should see "View the new maps beta!"

 

Click that.......

 

Edited to add - or click this link and navigate yourself to wherever

Edited by keehotee
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I realise that, but I also expect Groundspeak have known (or at least had an inkling) of what was coming along from Garmin for more than a few weeks. It just seems a bit of a co-incidence that there have been some major changes in a fairly short space of time.

My guess is that Groundspeak were unaware that Garmin were going to do this until the Chirp appeared, and that the new features had been in preparation for quite some time. (I know that the maps have, because I saw a sneak preview in September.)

 

Maybe the Garmin launch advanced the release date of the rating feature, but the code seems to work and not just to have been rushed out to meet a deadline. It was ambitious to release maps (albeit keeping the old ones for now), ratings, and stats, all in one go, but this seems to have been one of the most bug-free code rollouts in a while.

 

I hope that what has been done with the new maps (having a Beta version of a new way of doing a site feature, while allowing people to use the one they're familiar with while the bugs get ironed out) will be possible for other stuff in the future, provided that there aren't technical constraints or marketing issues. Maps are read-only, so having a second way to get a window on the data which is still in Beta is a good example of where this is a vaid approach.

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Can someone give a clue please? Where are these Wonderful / useless new maps? If only I could find them I could make up my own mind.

 

Click to open the map as you usually would (I go in through a cache page and click on Geocaching.com Google Map) and at the top, just above the map you should see "View the new maps beta!"

 

Click that.......

 

Edited to add - or click this link and navigate yourself to wherever

 

Thanks for that. Iwas looking for something that sais Open Street Map and the only one I could find was the bottom one on the list which only shows one cache. I suppose I was naive to suppose that GS wouldn't hide Open street Map unde a heading of Google maps.

 

Thanks

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So far, So good. . . . but, how long should it take for a newly published cache to show up on the new map? Two caches published on 12/20/2010 do not show on the new map yet. They were visible on the older maps almost immediately.

 

If they're your caches, I don't think they do show up... at least mine don't. I opened up one of my cache pages and the cache was there, on the map... change to Beta and it disappeared... Ho hum.... it was a rubbish cache anyway :(

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Frankly, they're useless eye-candy without finds marked. Another half-arsed initiative IMHO.

 

I agree it's a shame they didn't put that feature in right from the start. They have the database of which caches I've found, they've clearly got code in place to determine what type of cache each one is, and so it can't be difficult to link the two together to create a new cache type called "Found cache". Much as I like the new maps even without the feature I really struggle to see how it would have added any more than a few lines of SQL to the query that produces the results.

 

I'm not sure that "useless" is a helpful description. The new feature could be better, and probably should have been better even in a beta release, but let's see how quickly it's updated.

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They have the database of which caches I've found, they've clearly got code in place to determine what type of cache each one is, and so it can't be difficult to link the two together to create a new cache type called "Found cache". Much as I like the new maps even without the feature I really struggle to see how it would have added any more than a few lines of SQL to the query that produces the results.

 

the problem is that the beta maps aren't downloading each cache one by one and then add the overlay to the maps, but rather download precompiled bitmap tiles (it's PNG format) and overlay those onto the maps you've selected. that's why it's as fast as it is. without any additional logics, displaying the found caches for each user would require them to precompile the same bitmap tiles for each individual user and store them on their servers. that would be a lot of bitmaps.

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O booger, they don't work on my work PC, time they moved on from IE6 I think.

 

You're not only using IE, but IE6 by choice. My word!

So who said anything about choice? The only choice I have is whether or not to use it for work or not :). IE6 is the least of my troubles on their network as the security software blocks so much including sites I need for work, at least Groundspeak haven't been blocked yet. As for them using IE6 it is apparently for security reasons.

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Think of the Map as exactly how it describes it's self "Beta", which tells you that there is more to come.
Actually that's not what a 'beta' release means at all. When you develop, you test the bits as you go along. When the development is feature complete for that release you do an in house alpha test of the complete thing and fix any bugs you find. When you can't find any more bugs yourself you release it as a beta release, usually to a restricted group of users who are committed to testing it in a systematical and structured way and feeding back the results. When you've fixed the bugs the beta testers find you issue a general release.

 

It's perfectly OK to intentionally release features in incremental stages, but that's not what beta means.

 

Rgds, Andy

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It's perfectly OK to intentionally release features in incremental stages, but that's not what beta means.

That's how it works for shrink-wrap-style software products, but I'm not sure if its meaningful for Web sites. In any case, Groundspeak is in good company here: GMail was "Beta" for about four years, and OpenCaching.com "Beta" is anything but feature-complete. :)

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They have the database of which caches I've found, they've clearly got code in place to determine what type of cache each one is, and so it can't be difficult to link the two together to create a new cache type called "Found cache". Much as I like the new maps even without the feature I really struggle to see how it would have added any more than a few lines of SQL to the query that produces the results.

 

the problem is that the beta maps aren't downloading each cache one by one and then add the overlay to the maps, but rather download precompiled bitmap tiles (it's PNG format) and overlay those onto the maps you've selected. that's why it's as fast as it is. without any additional logics, displaying the found caches for each user would require them to precompile the same bitmap tiles for each individual user and store them on their servers. that would be a lot of bitmaps.

 

If that's how they are producing it then I agree it does make it harder. Although even then since PNGs are small and an overlay PNG would consist of little more than a bunch of smiling faces it doesn't seem such a big deal. For everyone with many thousands of finds there are multiple people with just a few dozen finds. The new site can calculate my statistics on demand, so why not a new PNG?

 

I'd still rather have something that tells me what I need to know than leaves me guessing. When I've cached out an area and a few new ones get published it's not much use to me to show everything. Just for good measure a few caches aren't showing on the map at all so something is obviously broken there.

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Just for good measure a few caches aren't showing on the map at all so something is obviously broken there.

 

It looks like the PM-only ones may be missing (either that, or I *really* need new glasses)?

 

If so, then does that mean that there's going to be some sort of differentiation between PMO and everyone-welcome ones on the map? Would be really useful sometimes . . . eg when you're planning to be out with someone who's only just thinking about getting into the sport and want to make sure they have a nice time.

 

In other words, you're looking for something that looks like the right sort of walk on the map, that you haven't found yet and that *isn't* PM-only so that your newbie will be able to log it too.

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It looks like the PM-only ones may be missing (either that, or I *really* need new glasses)?

 

It's not only PM caches that are missing, e.g. the whole of the Giants Causeway Coastal Walk Series is missing, and they're not PM. I expect this is a bug, and is why it's still in Beta.

 

As for everyone bemoaning what is missing (in their opinion) on the new maps, lets not lose sight of the fact that

 

  • The maps have been released in a preview mode, in order to let everyone have a look, test out the code, and give feedback
  • The frog has already said that they will add many of the features people think are missing in due course
  • The original maps are all still there, and are still the primary source of mapping on the site
  • If the frog adds the 'missing' features then these maps will be a huge leap forward over the old ones

 

Personally I'm very optimistic about them

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Just for good measure a few caches aren't showing on the map at all so something is obviously broken there.

 

It looks like the PM-only ones may be missing (either that, or I *really* need new glasses)?

 

If so, then does that mean that there's going to be some sort of differentiation between PMO and everyone-welcome ones on the map? Would be really useful sometimes . . . eg when you're planning to be out with someone who's only just thinking about getting into the sport and want to make sure they have a nice time.

 

In other words, you're looking for something that looks like the right sort of walk on the map, that you haven't found yet and that *isn't* PM-only so that your newbie will be able to log it too.

 

I got the impression (although I could be wrong) that some PMO caches are shown and others are not. I didn't notice many caches missing but the ones I did, didn't seem to have any specific pattern to them.

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Until the new Beta has at least the functionality of the original maps, then there seems little point in using them.

With the originals, at least you could filter out finds and your own caches. I would have thought that the Beta should be able to do that, along with the other original features - filtering by cache type for instance as standard.

Another feature should be that bringing up a bookmark/favourite in your browser for the map would enable you to pre-select the area and zoom level you want. I can do this but I had to cut and paste the info I wanted into the default browser url from the original. Otherwise, you are forever having to zoom out from the west coast US and shift across the Atlantic to the UK.

 

But do the PTB read these comments or do they have to go into the feedback forum only for anyone to read them at Groundspeak HQ?

 

One good thing though is that I can still use the original maps. Unlike this new forum which still needs amending IMHO despite the many comments repeating the same issues both here and in the main US forums. If using the IP board settings is the only way to see what you want, its hardly an improvement. I refer to the grey on grey typeface what nobody AFAIK feels is useful.

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I still find the new maps useful to show me caches against the OSM maps so I can see the trails that lead to them. That's the kind of thing that can make a big difference to the time it takes to zero in on the cache, especially where parks with walls around them are concerned.

 

I agree it's something of a drag to have to figure out for yourself which ones you've already done, especially in an area where you've found most of what's been placed. Perhaps our New Year gift from Groundspeak will be a "hide my finds" feature?

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I just tested it at work on their IE7 computers.

No :)'s is good for me. I've already found it so don't want to see it again.

BUT....it showed at least one cache that I had already found. :blink:

And if you return to the original map it isn't the original map at all.

Just the usual map of Jeremy World.

Half finished is a more polite way of putting it.

But I do agree with Rutson's viewpoint.

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