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Last 10 Posts (In reverse order)
TuscaroraBorealis Posted: Thursday, April 29, 2021 5:02:05 PM(UTC)
 
Its a tricky situation. One of the things I most enjoy is seeing things off the beaten path, which some of the photos on the map highlight. So, turning them all off cuts into that aspect.

So,I guess it's somewhat splitting hairs. As mentioned, its not a deal breaker. Just seeing if those more clever/ ingenious than me had some workable ideas?

SummerSkin Posted: Wednesday, April 28, 2021 10:02:00 AM(UTC)
 

Originally Posted by: Ben Strege Go to Quoted Post

  • Show photos how they are currently shown - every photo gets an icon.
  • How I described it above - lake photos are not shown, but photos not on a lake get an icon
  • Show only one user's photos - useful if you want to see just your photos
  • Show only one album's photos - useful if you want to show the story of a trip

Thoughts on this system? Is it too complicated? Any more options that should be added? Which should be the default?

I think that would work:


  • Show all photos
  • Show only "point of interest" photos (or maybe call them "map item" photos)
  • Show only user's photos...
  • Show only photos from album...

The last two options would have to prompt for the user or album to show.

Originally Posted by: Ben Strege Go to Quoted Post
On a another slightly unrelated topic (but it was brought up), how can we get the community more involved in Paddle Planner? I know all of you in this conversation have contributed a lot over the years, but what do you think would encourage you and others to participate more? What would you like to see?


  • Ask / answer questions for campsites, portages, etc. Perhaps users who have posted photos or campsite reviews would receive a notification that a question has been asked, so they could know to answer.
  • Some sort of "community ranking" system so those who have contributed the most have a higher ranking. Appeals to our vain nature, ha.
  • A way to receive notifications when a new ranking / review / photo is added for a campsite, lake, etc.

Ben Strege Posted: Wednesday, April 28, 2021 8:10:31 AM(UTC)
 

Thanks, everyone, for your feedback and ideas. I thought a little more about it last night and came up with another idea.

When you click on a lake, all of the photos are loaded in the "lake information." (This is how it currently works, not something new.) Since these are already being listed when you click on a lake, is there a need to show the icons on the map, too? If you want to see a lake's photos, click on the lake. For photos that are not on a lake, an icon will continue to be shown.

The route builder has something similar already. When you calculate a route, the photos along the route are shown in the route information. Again, not something new, but since it is already there, is it necessary to show them on the map, too?

I also thought that some people might like the current system. Next to the photo checkbox in settings, there could be a dropdown box with options. These are the options I came up with so far:

  • Show photos how they are currently shown - every photo gets an icon.
  • How I described it above - lake photos are not shown, but photos not on a lake get an icon
  • Show only one user's photos - useful if you want to see just your photos
  • Show only one album's photos - useful if you want to show the story of a trip

Thoughts on this system? Is it too complicated? Any more options that should be added? Which should be the default?

I have considered a star-rating or upvote system for photos before. While it would be interesting, I don't think it would work for filtering photos on the map. What makes a useful photo? The beautiful picture of the loon at sunset might not be useful for planning, but it would probably get a lot of upvotes. The photo rating system would be nice for some things (i.e. knowing that people liked your photo), but I think not for trying to declutter the map. Although, filtering based on star rating could be one of the options in the dropdown.

Unrelated to the photos, but now that I am thinking about it... I have considered adding a filter for campsites. For example, if you want to quickly see the 3-star and higher campsites, set the filter to 3 stars. All 2-star and below would be grayed out or dimmed. Useful? One concern is that this may put even more pressure on the higher-rated campsites, but in today's internet age, I don't think there is any going back from that. It would most likely be a map enthusiast feature.

On a another slightly unrelated topic (but it was brought up), how can we get the community more involved in Paddle Planner? I know all of you in this conversation have contributed a lot over the years, but what do you think would encourage you and others to participate more? What would you like to see?

Again, thank you for your thoughts and ideas as we try to figure this out.

SummerSkin Posted: Wednesday, April 28, 2021 7:16:24 AM(UTC)
 

Originally Posted by: Ben Strege Go to Quoted Post

Thoughts? Other ideas?

Yeah, quite a conundrum...how do you sift through the photo "cruft" without diminishing the great value of the really helpful photos? 

You mentioned it's hard for one individual to do alone...I wonder if there's a way to crowdsource it? Maybe add a simple rating system to the photos, then allow the community to rate them? Then you could add a filter to the map: "Only show photos ⭐⭐⭐ and higher" or something along those lines. If a person wanted to see all photos, he'd just set the filter at 0. If he wanted to see only the most useful and helpful photos, set it at 5. Kind of like Reddit's upvote system. I don't know, this might be overkill. Just trying to think out loud of ways that the community could self-police rather than putting it all on the developer.

eagle98mn Posted: Tuesday, April 27, 2021 8:45:59 PM(UTC)
 

Interesting conversation about the photos. I guess it depends on what the map is intended to be used for. It seems that TB prefers pictures that are useful in route planning, which I would venture to guess includes photos of campsites, portages, points of interest, etc. In general, that is my primary use of Paddle Planner so I am inclined to agree with him. I'm one of the poeple that turns photos off when planning due to clutter. My only fear in turning them off is that I'll miss a point of interest.

That said, I'm a sucker for browsing cool BWCA photos and I enjoy seeing amazing shots of things in the Boundary Waters. I see value in being able to share and see photos of the area we love. 

If your goal becomes to filter the photos a bit, there must be some way for the community to help you in reviewing the photos for their usefulness and accuracy. There would just have to be guidelines on what is being asked of the community. Perhaps you need an option to randomly display photos like some dating app where we can swipe right for photos that are useful in planning a route and swipe left for photos that aren't. Photos that make the cut make the map. Photos that don't make the cut could still be viewable in an album(s). I don't know. I'm making this up as I go. :)

Ben Strege Posted: Tuesday, April 27, 2021 1:49:13 PM(UTC)
 

Thanks for the feedback, TB. The photo clutter has become a big issue, especially in certain areas. I have contemplated a few ways to fix it.

1) A lot of people turn off the photos under settings. This reduces the clutter 100% smiley.

2) In lieu of turning off all photos, I have thought about adding a photo filter based on user or album. For example, you can turn off all photos except your own or a certain album that you want to view. This has benefits beyond decluttering the map, such as being able to view the photos from a particular trip.

2) If a photo is taken from or near a campsite, I like it to be associated with the campsite, which takes it off the map. Not everybody has associated photos with campsites, though, which creates the issue you talked about. Sometimes as I go through the map, I clean up the photos that are near campsites and connect them to the campsites. I still have a lot of work left to do with this, though, and there is always more work being created.

3) On the new map, you may notice that I hid the photos for one more zoom level. In my opinion, this made the map much easier to use when it is zoomed out. You will also notice that the icons change size as you zoom in and out. The smaller photo icons make it easier.

4) Even with all of these changes, there is still a problem with the photo icons cluttering the map. One thing I have thought about is just having one photo icon for an area. For example, if there are multiple photos within a specified circle, just show one icon in the center of that circle. When you click on it, you will be able to scroll through the various photos. This is easier said than done, though, as I have found out while researching it.

5) I personally do not like the "spiderfying" and want to take it out. (Spiderfying is when you click on an icon that is close to several others and they expand into a circle.) It is not just photos that create this problem, but it often is. To change this, I have thought that instead of spiderfying, I can have a list pop up showing the different icons and then selecting from the list. I have also taken spiderfying completely out of the route builder mode. 

6) I have tried doing a sort of screening process in the past for campsite, route, and lake photos (i.e. which photos are shown as part of a route, lake, etc.). It is tough for one person, and I quickly became overwhelmed, so I stopped doing it. I don't think I can screen 17,000 photos with more coming in every day. I will have to rely on some other method to declutter the map.

Thoughts? Other ideas?

TuscaroraBorealis Posted: Tuesday, April 27, 2021 1:13:15 PM(UTC)
 
Just wanted to say, I love the new website! And am able to enjoy it on my phone as well. Congratulations on 10 years, looking forward to may more.

One concern or, complaint if you will about the maps. Which has been a long standing issue and has nothing to do with the recent upgrade. Many people (myself included) have added random photos at various spots on the map. Fish or wildlife out on the lake, a sunset or, what have you. While I do enjoy looking at beautiful pictures of canoe country, it seems the high percentage of these are just of (relatively speaking) mundane things that detract from navigating and accessing information on the map. And, as time goes on the "clutter" will only be more pronounced. Already, there are a few campsites etc. that are becoming difficult/confusing to access.

Suggesting that perhaps having some sort of a screening process might be a prudent move going forward. For example, there are spots that are off the beaten path, a reasonably far distance from any campsite or portage, that could be of interest to others that indeed could be posted. For example, the Spaulding Lake cabin & mine site. There is no campsite or portage nearby so, allowing a photo or marker for something like that seems reasonable. But, just to have; for example, a shot of a loon opening it's wings while the sun sets in the background - while extraordinarily beautiful - detracts rather than adds to the proper functioning of the map.

I understand, if implemented in such a way, this may cause extra work that doesn't justify doing it and, perhaps others have a totally different view of this? This is, of course, just my opinion and only a suggestion for improvement. Regardless, I will continue to enjoy this site whether this issue is taken under advisement or not.
BillConner Posted: Saturday, April 17, 2021 1:37:20 PM(UTC)
 
"I believe most people use the site on a computer rather than a phone.". You might be right, I maybe in the minority. Usually planning in transit to the wilderness or park, right after making a reservation.
SummerSkin Posted: Saturday, April 17, 2021 1:03:41 PM(UTC)
 

Originally Posted by: Ben Strege Go to Quoted Post

1. I will look into doing something with the premium features. Maybe a star in the corner or something that shows it is a map enthusiast feature.

I just have to say, I LOVE what you've done here! Not only can I see what isn't available to me as a free user, this is also a good marketing tool as I can easily see what I'll be getting if when 😉 I upgrade.

Originally Posted by: Ben Strege Go to Quoted Post

3. I have thought about having the ratings in a moveable popup so you could put it where you want. I just haven't gotten to it yet. FYI - I know this is backwards from "modern design" techniques, but we are designing for desktop first and mobile second, so your feedback is valuable. I believe most people use the site on a computer rather than a phone. 

Yes, I always use PaddlePlanner on my desktop because I have the most real estate there, and navigating is just so much easier with a mouse. You know, had I not been used to the previous version's way of doing it, I probably wouldn't have noticed or complained. 😁

Originally Posted by: Ben Strege Go to Quoted Post

4. Yes, this is an important feature that I use a lot, too. I just have not found a good way of showing it yet, but it will be added.

Agreed, awesome, thanks.

Appreciate you guys receiving the feedback and considering it

SummerSkin Posted: Saturday, April 17, 2021 12:58:31 PM(UTC)
 

Originally Posted by: jvermast Go to Quoted Post

The new design defaults to "Build" mode which is a bit disorienting. I was trying to explore the map and all my clicks were inserting route points and throwing the "Upgrade" popup. I couldn't figure out why I was unable to click on campsites or photos anymore. I didn't even realize there was a mode to turn this off until after a while of playing with it. I would recommend that "Explore" mode be the default.
Further to this, the word "Route" or "Route build" would be more descriptive to a user than "Build" in my opinion.

Agree re: Route vs Build. Don't agree re: default but we could possibly make this a user option that is saved to your account. 

Thank you guys, this is a small change that I think will make a big difference!

Originally Posted by: jvermast Go to Quoted Post

I find the campsite icons and rating tooltips to be more difficult to see over the old version. 

This might just be growing pains. Give it time.

Yes, absolutely, in general users hate change 😉 I will say your move away from a color-based system is good for accessibility and colorblind users.

Originally Posted by: jvermast Go to Quoted Post

I am not sure what the "Go Home" button does -- it's always active, but in every context that I've clicked it, nothing happened.

It routes back to your first point if you have a loop. 

Makes sense, thanks for cluing me in.

Originally Posted by: jvermast Go to Quoted Post

It looks like all campsites are red now...are you no longer tracking unrated / unverified campsites?

What map are you using? Unverified should be black, unrated should be a normal red triangle, rated should have a little piece of paper attached to the triangle to show there are ratings. 

You're right -- I just missed it.


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