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Why oh why is there no scale on the map?

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This has come up numerous times in the past in other threads, but after being caught out by it yet again I thought it really deserves a thread of its own.


Last weekend I was visiting Wauchope on the New South Wales mid north coast, attending a non-caching event, but with half an hour or so free I saw there was an AL in the town and decided to attempt it. Opening it in the app, it looked at first glance that it would be a few hundred metres end to end so I parked in Hastings Street, intending to walk to the eastern-most location and make my way back.




It was only when I started walking that I realised it was actually about 1.2km end to end, so a 2.4km return walk. At that point I returned to my car and drove down to the eastern-most location, only to find there was a boating regatta happening there and the waypoint was in the middle of the marshalling area. Just as well I hadn't kept walking!


Surely I can't be the only one who gets repeatedly stymied by these intermediate-distance ALs where it's not clear whether they're best done on foot or by car. It's even worse when I arrive by public transport and then have to decide whether to spend half the day walking or just give up and go and do something else. The median completion time that's displayed is of no use because you can't tell which way those completers did it. In the case of the Wauchope AL (and yes, it's the only one there), the median completion time shows as 0-30 minutes so I guess no-one else was silly enough to attempt it on foot.


Maybe it's uncool for phone maps to have scales on them, but I'll say it again: a map with a scale is a tool, a map without one is just an illustration.

Edited by barefootjeff
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Based on the open-source credits, it appears the app uses the react-native-maps library to render the map view. The <MapView> component supplied by the library does provide a simple toggle to enable a scale, but only when Apple Maps is being used as the provider (ie. only on iPhones):




So, at least in theory, they could very easily enable a scale (for iPhone users only) with one line of code.


FWIW: note the third column there, where it says "true". That column indicates the default value for the toggle. So, with it being "true", it means that the map library will, unless specifically disabled, choose to display the scale. Yet, on my iPhone, the scale does not appear. So, because it is not adopting the stated default, I am led to believe that the "showsScale" toggle has intentionally been set to "false" by the developers of the app.


I have no idea why this would be done. Perhaps the app breaks on Android if this option is true, and so they are forced to set it to false. Or, perhaps they do not want the apps to have different functionality so keep the option that works for both. Maybe enabling the option breaks on iPhone, too. Who knows.

Edited by Hügh
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The extremely low maximum zoom, along with this feature, represent decisions made in the app development in which the user experience was intentionally  downgraded in favor of something else.  Maybe some bandwidth thing?  It does not make sense to me.

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7 hours ago, fizzymagic said:

user experience was intentionally downgraded


I'm going to guess, "intentionally simplified", as seems to be the case with Groundspeak's caching app too.


I use a complicated app for caching; it takes a while to learn, and I can't imagine pushing that on someone who's trying the game for the first time and wants to see quick results to decide whether it's worth any more time.


Just a guess, viewed from afar.

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