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Ben Strege  
#1 Posted : Tuesday, February 3, 2015 8:05:07 PM(UTC)
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I came across a small bug in the Route Finder. The bug affects the way the route is selected. I thought the Route Finder was selecting the shortest route (whether by time or distance) between two places, and in most cases this is true. However, in a few instances, it selects the wrong route. I finally figured out why it has been doing this. I can easily fix it, but it makes the Route Finder 33% slower when calculating new routes. The bug does not affect the calculated times and distances, just the route that is selected. So my question to everyone is: 

Would you rather have the Route Finder calculate a route quickly and have to "tweak" the route once in a while, or always have it select the shortest route?

I will work on a fix that is both fast and 100% accurate, but for now, what would you like?

thanks 2 users thanked Ben Strege for this useful post.
Canoer97 on 3/22/2015(UTC), halvorson.christopher on 3/23/2015(UTC)
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cycle003  
#2 Posted : Friday, March 20, 2015 3:53:49 PM(UTC)
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I value accuracy over quickness. However, I would like to see the indicator that shows it's calculating be more prominent, so it's easier to see it's working.

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halvorson.christopher on 3/23/2015(UTC)
Ben Strege  
#3 Posted : Saturday, March 21, 2015 8:12:31 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: cycle003 Go to Quoted Post
I value accuracy over quickness. However, I would like to see the indicator that shows it's calculating be more prominent, so it's easier to see it's working.

I changed it a little over a month ago to the accurate but slower method. I will also put in an option to use the old "fast but less accurate" method. As I said earlier, it usually chose the correct route, but in some instances it didn't. The route statistics (time and distance) were accurate, it just wasn't the fastest route. A couple of instances come to mind:

  • Entry Point 30 to Lake Two went through the three portages to the southwest instead of taking the paddle route to the northeast. This only happened when routing to Lake Two - any other lake it chose the correct route.
  • Entry Point 1 to Entry Point Four went through Glenmore and Schlamn instead of taking the portage from Buck to Cummings. The difference was only a minute in travel time, but Route Finder was supposed to find the shortest route.

As for the indicator, would you like to see it in a different spot, a different color, or a different indicator for the Route Finder? Right now I use the same indicator for loading map tiles, campsites, portages, Route Finder, etc. I could create a second, different indicator for the Route Finder.

thanks 1 user thanked Ben Strege for this useful post.
Canoer97 on 3/22/2015(UTC)
halvorson.christopher  
#4 Posted : Monday, March 23, 2015 11:02:29 PM(UTC)
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I had thought there was a change, as I noticed the increased wait time. I do agree with the above statement, is there anyway to show a % so I know its moving along? maybe in the middle of the screen? or would that just be weird?

Ben, is it faster to calculate a full route all at once? or add a few items at a time?

 

 

 

Ben Strege  
#5 Posted : Monday, March 23, 2015 11:51:01 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: halvorson.christopher Go to Quoted Post
I had thought there was a change, as I noticed the increased wait time. I do agree with the above statement, is there anyway to show a % so I know its moving along? maybe in the middle of the screen? or would that just be weird?

Ben, is it faster to calculate a full route all at once? or add a few items at a time?

I don't think there is any way for me to show a percentage - I don't think there would be any way to calculate how close it is to finishing. I will work on making the "I'm working" icon more prominent, though. I don't want to show it in the middle of the screen since I want to keep the map usable while it is calculating.

As for the full route or adding a few items at a time, each route will only calculate as fast as the longest leg. The legs calculate simultaneously, so there isn't any benefit to calculating the first part, then adding the second, etc. The only way to make it calculate faster is to make the legs shorter. 

If you meant whether it is better to add intermediate points, it depends. If the route is a fairly straight line or a short distance, it should calculate quickly. However, if the path weaves around or is very long, I recommend adding a few intermediate points to make it faster. Two examples of the extremes: 

1) There is a straight path in Woodland Caribou going from the souteast portion of the park to the northwest. You can route using just two points, and it calculates quickly despite being very long.

2) Snowbank Lake to Lake One (or Moose Lake or other entry points in that area) cannot be calculated with just two points. The Route Finder keeps trying to go in a straight line between the two. It tests every possible straight route before taking the correct, "long way" around. The time limit usually ends before it is calculated. If you specify one intermediate point such as on Alice, now the Route Finder will work towards Alice and find the route easily.

I stress adding just a few points because the Route Finder doesn't need too many points to greatly cut down on the calculation time. I sometimes see people adding every portage along the way. I've seen lists that are 30 or more destinations long. While this will calculate quickly, I'm sure it took about a half hour to add all the points to the list (and it is really hard to figure out which point caused an error if there is one). The Route Finder really only needs one or two extra points to really cut the calculation time down. 

After you calculate a route the first time, it is saved in a file so it can be loaded quickly the next time (for you or anyone else). I clear out the saved files when I make changes to the Route Finder, portages, or campsites, though, so the files aren't saved forever. (I wrote a blog post about this a while back.)

Tip - If you are using the new routing mode, wait until the gray preview is finished loading before calculating the route. It will almost instantaneously appear. This is because the "preview" is actually calculating the route. If you press calculate before the preview is done, it will start to calculate the route again. If the gray preview line appears while the route is calculating, you can just press calculate to make the route appear instead of waiting for the calculation to finish. However, the preview has a 30-second time limit while the full calculation has a 2-minute limit, so sometimes the preview won't appear but the route will still calculate.

Did I answer your question? I'm always happy to talk about how the Route Finder works (I wrote a blog post about that, too ).

Ben Strege  
#6 Posted : Thursday, March 26, 2015 11:49:42 AM(UTC)
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Just to keep everyone updated on this - I think I found a way to put in a progress bar to show how close the Route Finder is to finishing. It won't be perfect, but it should be better than it is now:

  • It will show the percentage of "legs" completed (haven't found a better term yet). The free edition only allows one leg (start and destination), so this will be pretty much useless for the free edition. 
  • Since it only can show the number of legs completed and not actual progress in calculating the route, it may sit at "almost completed" while it waits for the longest leg to finish.

I'm still working out some "minor kinks," like having it crash the entire website . I think I'm figuring it out, though, and making more performance improvements along the way.

MagicPaddler  
#7 Posted : Thursday, March 26, 2015 12:51:54 PM(UTC)
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I find it a useful tool for comparing one rout to another. 

BillConner  
#8 Posted : Friday, March 27, 2015 8:37:09 AM(UTC)
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It is the best feature here and I come here often for the maps and route comparisons , or times mostly.
BillConner  
#9 Posted : Monday, March 30, 2015 6:34:07 AM(UTC)
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Any chance of having both options available?

I know I also wished it went a little further - like to Grand Portage and maybe west through Voyagers or even IF/FF.
Ben Strege  
#10 Posted : Monday, March 30, 2015 8:26:09 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: BillConner Go to Quoted Post
Any chance of having both options available?

I know I also wished it went a little further - like to Grand Portage and maybe west through Voyagers or even IF/FF.

I'll be updating it soon with both the progress bar and both options. Voyageurs is on my list to add, though I'm not sure when I'll be able to get to it. It will probably be sometime after the Outdoor Adventure Expo in April.

Ben Strege  
#11 Posted : Tuesday, March 31, 2015 2:01:45 PM(UTC)
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I got the two changes in:

Route Finder Progress Bar
When you calculate a route, a progress bar will show up in the upper left. As mentioned in a prior post, this only shows the percent of legs completed, so it isn't necessarily a good indicator of time remaining. It will start marking progress after 5 seconds, so if the route takes less than 5 seconds to calculate, it won't show anything. Also, as mentioned previously, since it just shows the percentage of legs completed, this pretty much useless for the free version or for calculations with just a start and destination point.

Option to Use Old, Faster Calculation Method
In the Route Finder settings, you will now see an option to change the calculation method. The "Bidirectional" method is the old, faster method. In most cases it will be the same as the "Normal" method, but in some cases it will not choose the optimal route. If you are using the bidirectional method, check the results to make sure the route calculated makes sense. The route statistics will be accurate, just the route chosen could be different. I set the normal method as the default, so if you want to use the bidirectional method, you'll have to change it in your settings.

In doing all of this work, I found quite a few other things that I can improve. I put some performance improvements in now, but the rest I will slowly work on and incorporate. If you notice anything that isn't working like it should, let me know.

thanks 1 user thanked Ben Strege for this useful post.
overloaded on 4/3/2015(UTC)
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