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Geocaching HQ

Release Notes - September 14, 2016

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Release Notes - September 14, 2016

 

Earlier this summer, our mapping provider ended support for the method we used to provide two mapping options on Geocaching.com. Since then, our engineers and developers have worked to set up our own self-hosted maps. We’re excited to say that the new maps are now live on Geocaching.com!

 

One of the great advantages of this new set-up is that we now have the capability to customize the look and feel of maps. For example, since it’s often important to identify trails while geocaching, our maps have a greater focus on trails.

 

This example shows an area with trails when viewed with the new Geocaching maps:

 

1c18a01f-1e49-42d1-8d84-ba0c54b32a57.jpg

 

While this example shows the same area when viewed with Google Maps (available to Premium Members):

 

2715eaee-6619-478a-a385-05ad7201beff.jpg

 

As always, if you don’t like look of the Geocache Map, you can choose a different mapping option by going to View Geocache Map and tapping the tile icon in the upper right corner of the map. Premium Members who wish to switch from Google Maps to Geocaching Maps (or other map styles) should first click the Set Map Preferences button, select Leaflet, and then tap the tile icon in the upper right corner of the map.

 

c206be40-b156-43e9-9fd7-c1656c2f9d5e.jpg

 

(Other maps, such as the small map on the cache details page, cannot be changed.)

 

Thanks for your patience during this process! Not only is this a nice improvement for the website, but it’s also a critical step toward supporting offline maps in the Geocaching® app. As we mentioned in the Geocaching Blog last week, that’s one of the important features that our Mobile Team is currently working on.

 

Ben H from HQ’s Product Team will monitor this thread and answer questions when possible.

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Thank you for the update. I like the maps so far.

 

Are there plans to add political boundaries? There are other ways for me to see city/county boundary lines, but that would eventually be something helpful to have in the new maps.

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Thank you for the update. I like the maps so far.

 

Are there plans to add political boundaries? There are other ways for me to see city/county boundary lines, but that would eventually be something helpful to have in the new maps.

 

Thanks for the feedback! Can you explain just a bit which political boundaries you'd like to see (just cities? something more?) and why that is important for you?

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As always, if you don’t like look of the Geocache Map, you can choose a different mapping option by going to View Geocache Map and tapping the tile icon in the upper right corner of the map. Premium Members who wish to switch from Google Maps to Geocaching Maps (or other map styles) should first click the Set Map Preferences button, select Leaflet, and then tap the tile icon in the upper right corner of the map.

 

Is it true that there is no way (at least for basic members) to make the system remember that one prefers another map than leaflet? For example openstreet map which is way better. I still have to change the setting every single time I look at the map.

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Cool, thanks for the update.

 

Could you reconsider the choice of yellow for trails? On a white background (no landcover like forest mapped), yellow trails are almost invisible. EDIT: Y'know, I think the main reason OpenCycleMap is so popular is simply the bold blue color of the trails, at least the bike trails. I know that's the main reason I like those maps. Hint hint.

 

I see it's based on OSM data that's a few months old. Will that be getting fresher over time, or is that expected to be the normal pace?

 

Also, while you're working in the area, maybe it's time for an update to the Google-vs-OSM chooser: Leaflet (just the brand of plumbing, a misnomer) to "OSM and more", OpenCycle is actually OpenCycleMap, MyTopo isn't offered (or wanted), and all listed advantages of Google are also advantages on the other side.

 

Anyway, thanks. OSM rocks!

Edited by Viajero Perdido
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Really cool to have the trails marked on the maps, but I second the comment that the yellow color is very hard to see, until zoomed in all the way.

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Thank you for the update. I like the maps so far.

 

Are there plans to add political boundaries? There are other ways for me to see city/county boundary lines, but that would eventually be something helpful to have in the new maps.

Thanks for the feedback! Can you explain just a bit which political boundaries you'd like to see (just cities? something more?) and why that is important for you?

As far as I can tell, the current style draws heavily from the MapBox Outdoors style. While that one was better than the MapQuest OSM style and is a good starting place, there are several changes that would make it even better:

  • As mentioned by Viajero Perdido, the yellow trails don't show up all that well in some places. A more eye-popping colour like red would make the trails easier to see on any background.
  • The style renders country and state boundaries, but adding at least county boundaries (admin_level=6) and ideally also city/town boundaries (admin_level=8) would make it easier to orient yourself on the map and identify caches for challenges.
  • Render highway=steps differently than other paths/footways/trails to better depict the level of accessibility and steepness of an area
  • I noticed some important features that are either necessary or would be nice to be added:
    • One way arrows (oneway=yes) - currently one-way streets aren't depicted as such, which could lead to navigation problems
    • Names for boundary=national_park and leisure=nature_reserve - the areas are rendered, but there's no name so they aren't identifiable
    • Mountain peaks (natural=peak), ideally also with the elevation if present (ele=*)

 

All in all, I think this will be A Good Thing™ for everyone. It gives Groundspeak more control over the map so it can be tailored to the needs of the members, and hosting it themselves means they don't have to worry about licensing costs. Thank you for working on getting this set up.

 

Like Viajero Perdido, I'm also curious about how often it's anticipated that the database will be updated. I'm frequently making updates to the OSM database after caching outings, and I believe many other cachers do too. It would be nice to see these changes be rendered somewhat soon after they're made. It needn't be the minutely updates made by the openstreetmap.org standard rendering, but maybe weekly?

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Thank you for the update. I like the maps so far.

 

Are there plans to add political boundaries? There are other ways for me to see city/county boundary lines, but that would eventually be something helpful to have in the new maps.

 

Thanks for the feedback! Can you explain just a bit which political boundaries you'd like to see (just cities? something more?) and why that is important for you?

County boundaries would be a "nice to have" for roadtripping geocachers who want to "color in counties" during a geocaching roadtrip, and for challenge cache enthusiasts (an All Counties Challenge, or 10 counties in a day, or an unbroken chain of counties, etc.). I plan many of my trips around either coloring in new counties or increasing my find count from X to Y in a particular county.

 

Today, I need to use third-party resources to figure out which caches fit my county objectives. As a player, I would like to see county boundaries so that, when scrolling the Geocaching.com live map, I know when I've crossed a county line.

 

There are also city-based challenges, like "Find 200 caches in City X" or "Find at least one cache in each of the listed 50 cities." Since these types of challenge caches can no longer be published, I'd understand if resources weren't spent on adding in those boundaries. But counties, yeah, they're important. Someday I hope to have a county map that looks as cool as yours does!

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Thank you for the update. I like the maps so far.

 

Are there plans to add political boundaries? There are other ways for me to see city/county boundary lines, but that would eventually be something helpful to have in the new maps.

 

Thanks for the feedback! Can you explain just a bit which political boundaries you'd like to see (just cities? something more?) and why that is important for you?

 

Counties would be helpful. I am a fan of county challenges and use the map search to help plan cache runs. Currently the two best map options I've seen with county boundaries are actually the Esri WorldTopoMap and Esri WorldStreetMap, since both not only shows the county lines, they have labels as well.

 

I also concur that the trails could be made easier to see, though having them on the map in the first place is of course immensely helpful.

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[...]

I also concur that the trails could be made easier to see, though having them on the map in the first place is of course immensely helpful.

 

Just use an other map style. "OpenStreetMap German Style" or "Thunderforest OpenCycleMap" are nicely showing tracks.

 

Hans

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What I don't like about the new maps, is that it doesn't show the difference between A-roads (the normal road that is used a lot) and the B-roads (sideroads that are used less, or go to places no one wants to go). For example, I've made 2 screenshots of my local area. The Google maps perfectly shows the difference:

Google_zps37ml5qx4.jpg

where the Geocache maps thinks that every road that consists of more than dust should look the same:

Geocache_zpszlxlsiqc.jpg

 

One will say that's just something you'll need to get used to, others will advise to use another map lay-out, but maybe there's a possibility to merge that information into the Geocache maps?

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PS, does this mean we can get back the tiny overview map near the top of the cache page?

 

Since it wouldn't cost extra...

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PS, does this mean we can get back the tiny overview map near the top of the cache page?

 

Since it wouldn't cost extra...

Good question. I still find myself unconsciously looking to that part of the page for many caches. I'd love to have it back.

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I really like that the trails are prominent. Can we also show some sort of terrain relief? That really affects how I will attack a group of caches in a mountainous area.

Edited by Team Christiansen
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What I don't like about the new maps, is that it doesn't show the difference between A-roads (the normal road that is used a lot) and the B-roads (sideroads that are used less, or go to places no one wants to go).[...]

 

Use an other style. The Geocaching style is just not usable. Use this:

 

ff554710940b0861d2567807ce49e563.png

 

By the way: The choosen map styles should be sticky. It's not rocket science to set an appropriate cookie, isn't it?

 

Happy Coding

Hans

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Please implement the OSM derivative: OpenTopoMap. It has nicely hill shading:

 

ea2212f356818512ded37fa8aa91b56e.png

 

Hans

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Good to see a change from Google as the default, but I agree that the chosen map style should be set and remembered as a preference.

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Please implement the OSM derivative: OpenTopoMap. It has nicely hill shading:

Unfortunately, OpenTopoMap is having difficulties right now. Not being updated.

 

Thunderforest Landscape is a decent substitute, IMHO.

 

~~~

 

The new map doesn't seem to render access=no trails/roads, eg no trespassing areas, any differently. It would be useful.

Edited by Viajero Perdido
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[...]

Unfortunately, OpenTopoMap is having difficulties right now. Not being updated.

[...]

 

There were issues some days ago. All went fine. OpenTopoMaps are loading properly again.

 

Hans

Edited by HHL
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[...]

I also concur that the trails could be made easier to see, though having them on the map in the first place is of course immensely helpful.

 

Just use an other map style. "OpenStreetMap German Style" or "Thunderforest OpenCycleMap" are nicely showing tracks.

 

Hans

 

Hans, thanks. I have at one time dabbled with each of the maps, so I know what options are out there.

 

Since I was asked for specific feedback on the new default geocaching map, I provided it in order to help improve that product. If these are to be the offline maps available for all in the new app, it behooves us to help Groundspeak make these specific maps as helpful as possible, not just refer folks to other products available online.

 

To the extent that these other maps have features you'd like to see in the default maps, by all means, add your two cents.

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[...] not just refer folks to other products available online.

 

To the extent that these other maps have features you'd like to see in the default maps, by all means, add your two cents.

 

Actually I didn't point to an other product - I point to a map style, built-in in the Groundspeak map.

 

Hans

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Thank you for the update. I like the maps so far.

 

Are there plans to add political boundaries? There are other ways for me to see city/county boundary lines, but that would eventually be something helpful to have in the new maps.

 

Thanks for the feedback! Can you explain just a bit which political boundaries you'd like to see (just cities? something more?) and why that is important for you?

 

Liiiiike, near this one?

Edited by TeamRabbitRun
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Please implement the OSM derivative: OpenTopoMap. It has nicely hill shading:

Looks good in general, but I see that it doesn't render at all for my area once you zoom in to an acceptable level.

Edited by BlackRose67
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[...] not just refer folks to other products available online.

 

To the extent that these other maps have features you'd like to see in the default maps, by all means, add your two cents.

 

Actually I didn't point to an other product - I point to a map style, built-in in the Groundspeak map.

 

Hans

 

Let's not split hairs. There is a map on geocaching.com that has many different map sources available, yes. But we're specifically talking about the new first option for a map source, the Geocaching map, which they hope to make available as an offline product in the phone app. Therefore, rather than saying "You can use this other map source to get what you want," we should be letting Groundspeak know, "I see this feature in (other map) and would like for you to add it to your proprietary map."

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Would be great to see ski routes on the "Geocaching" map. The names of the runs (Google) probably aren't critical, but seeing at least the lifts would be helpful because then it's obvious that the cache in in a ski area.

 

Geocaching proprietary map:

gc-mapski-gs.png

 

Google map (shows both lifts and runs):

gc-mapski-google.png

 

OpenStreetMap Default (shows lifts, but not runs):

gc-mapski-osm.png

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An still the website doesn't remeber which map I chose. It's annoying to change the map every time OR to use a "foreign" script (grease monkey) to do this job.

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An still the website doesn't remeber which map I chose. It's annoying to change the map every time OR to use a "foreign" script (grease monkey) to do this job.

I agree - cookies would be nice for this.

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I don't know if style suggestions are desired or not, but I just realized there's another important piece of information missing from the new style: parking. Neither parking nodes (ie. single points) nor areas are rendered, which makes it hard to tell whether there's anywhere to park at a trailhead. It would be a great addition to have these rendered.

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Is this release the reason why the forest east of Oslo has turned into water?

I just posted a topic regarding this issue: Forest turned into water

Edited by Jon-
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