May 1, 2013 at 11:11 am #4081
One very cool feature about Pocket Earth is, that you can switch on and of different type of amenities. This very cool, since I can show all what I’m interested in, and removing things I don’t need so the map is not cluttered up.
One thing very anoying for me in the standard OSM-Map is that when adding a cool place, using e.g. the amenity “community_centre” or “arts_centre”, it’s not shown on the map.
Apparently, PocketEarth is using the same symbols for amenities as the standard OSM-Mapnik-style. And so the amenities I’m talking about are not shown, and I cannot select them to get the detailed infos.
Why not add them? And then add a switch of hide them if somebody does not like it…. (or hide things as a default, if you prefer). You tell me, there are two many. Why not creating groups, using a standard icon? E.g. from the features group “Sustenance”, there are shown “bar”, “cafe”, “Pub”, but not “ice_cream” or “bbq”. Why not put them in a group “Other sustenance”. The same with the group “Entertainment, Arts & Culture” where the above examples resides.
Maybe I’m getting things wrong, but all the structure seems to be there, and this would be a big leap forward!
NounoursMay 3, 2013 at 10:33 am #4598
Thanks for feedback! We are moving in this direction! With v1.5 we included over 1 million additional POIs from more than 20 categories. We will continue to add additional ones. The only reason this process of adding them is a little slow is that we have to first figure out which ones are missing, and then find or create appropriate icon graphics for them. If you have some Top items you would like to see, let us know and we will try to add them sooner!May 6, 2013 at 3:19 pm #4605
thanks for your reply.
I’m happy to give you some of my top-items I wish to add (see below), but I fear, this list will be different for every user.
Why do you not consider my idea with having a “generic” symbol – e.g. a tiny circle – (and the corresponding category in the preferences), for all the POI’s you don’t have on your list? If you then decide to add a specific symbol for one type, well it will then drop out of the “generic” category.
To make things even better, one generic symbol per features category (http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Map_Features) would be absolutly great.
Anyhow, I think you get the point, and I’m really looking forward to see your developments!
P.S.: Here my favorites list:
I think every entry in this category is very helpful, if you need it. Since there are so many, a generic symbol would absolutely be perfect, and also a single switch to turn them all on/off. If you look for something, you show it, if not, not…
traffic_signals would be a good candidate to switch off if possible
again, there are many of equal interest. A generic one would just be perfect …
second_hand: of course, very important. Nothing better than being in a other city and strolling through a second hand shop!
again, why are some shops not visible? Best would be to add just one generic item for all shops not explicitly mentioned (see also discussion (https://trac.openstreetmap.org/ticket/3043). If you want to go far, you can also add one sign per type of shop – e.g. “Electronics” “Clothes, shoes & accessories” and so on …May 8, 2013 at 12:43 am #4607
I’m wondering how exactly this works between PE and OSM. I’m looking at OSM’s categorizing system. It’s massively detailed. Was there some reason PE decided not to just replicate it?
Is it possible, in the iOS, to construct the Settings > Map Layers with show/hide subcategories taken from OSM?
That’s the way I would have done it!May 8, 2013 at 1:31 am #4608
As I understand, PE does not use the Mapnik renderer. So, recreating seems to be technically needed. But as far as I see, the same POIs are rendered with the same symbols as on OSM standard website. The problem is that not all defined POIs have symbols. And, further, OSM allows for custom user arguments …
That’s why I think clustering lesser important POIs to clusters is the way to go.
Concerning the show/hide subcategories, I agree having some kind of hierarchy (switch of the entire subcategory, or if you like go to details) would be good. Replicating the standard OSM structure is not a must, but for people used to it it would help. It’s maybe not at perfect structure, but not a bad as well ….
good day, noun oursMay 8, 2013 at 4:08 am #4613
Thanks noun ours for the list of POIs and the suggestions!
BuckyE, we can try to add more of the POI categories in the Map Layers.
OSM’s POI categorization scheme is massively detailed, but not really well organized. For example, they have only 3 or 4 top level categories (amenity, shop, etc), each with a ton of items under it. For most users who are not familiar with the OSM tagging system, this is not so useful. Also many users wouldn’t know what an “amenity” encompasses, and there is also the issue of localizing the metadata to the different languages that our app supports.
We actually make use of POI metadata in 4 different ways:
1> Object Descriptions: We show object descriptions when you click on a POI or on its detail view. For this we have rules for combining and localizing the info so it can be presented in a more concise and simple manner for the average user. For example most people would probably prefer to see “Public Airport (SFO)” than a set of 4 key/value pairs.
2> Stylesheets: We don’t use mapnik, rather we built our own OpenGL based rendering engine from scratch which is much faster and more memory efficient than mapnik enabling it to run smoothly on a mobile device. We do currently use the standard SJJB set of OSM POI icons, although with some custom icons, and custom high resolution versions created for Retina devices. The stylesheet uses the POI tags to pick and show icons on the map, and we replicated the standard OSM map as a base, and have added a few dozen additional items to it. We are working to add even more such icons, but are anxious to implement a good clustering algorithm first, as without it, many of the less important POI could take priority over the more important ones. By clustering I mean showing a single icon on the map to represent a cluster of many items at or near that location which cannot all be shown at once because of the limited space. When you click on such a cluster, it would expand out, in one way or another, to show all the items at that spot.
3> Nearby Search Categories: Here we came up with our own scheme with lots of top level categories and reasonable subcategories, and convert OSM POIs into the scheme. Some POI are cross listed in multiple categories for the convenience of finding them more easily. For most users, having more top level categories make it a lot easy to find things. We are not alone in doing this, nearly every other OSM based map app and POI directory app we have seen does this as well.
4> Map Layers: These are provided to allow you to turn off things you don’t want to see, or to enable things that most users don’t need by default. It could definitely be more comprehensive than it is now. This could mirror the detailed OSM set, or could mirror our Nearby category/subcategory scheme. Alternatively we are considering a way to allow the user to select a category from nearby and highlight/show only those items on the map.May 8, 2013 at 11:11 pm #4623
1. I can now understand the need for re-organizing the OSM POIs! However, I would change:
It’s not clear to me, the average user, who might not understand the actual origin of this POI, why it would be “unamed.” Who exactly didn’t name it? Did Pocket Earth just forget to name it? It looks amateurish to call it UNAMED.
2. Hmmm. Of course now I see the need for more, special POI icons. That’s very helpful. However, on my v1.5, I have all available Standard Map Layers turned on. I have downloaded for offline use many areas, cities and countries. I don’t see the OSM-based POI icons until I zoom in to a view that encompasses about 2 miles horizontally on my iPad 2. (This is about 12 New York New York city blocks wide.)
At the moment, my view of Midtown Manhattern certainly does not have enough OSM POI icons that they are overlapping. So it seems to me, unless I’m missing something, that “clustering” is not a number one priority.
And, I’m not clear on what you think would comprise “less important POI”s. Important according to whom? I don’t see any way to “rank” the OSM POIs/Map Layers.
3. Yes, the schema is good. However, the implementation needs to be collapsible and labeled. For example, when I look at the map of midtown Manhatten, open the search Palette, click on the Nearby tab at bottom, and choose “Public Transport,” I see 3 “Bus Stops,” then an infinitely long list of “Highway: Traffic Signals.” 17 swipes to scroll down to the next category! That category definitely needs to be collapsed by default.
The next “category” is “Lexington Avenue.” Which, now that I’ve been there, I recognize as a subway line. But there’s no indication in this scrolling list that’s what it is! So I need a label, as above, and a collapsed initial presentation. (And the icon is currently a bus, whereas the usual icon for a train/subway is a bus with rails underneath.) Minor points, probably, but labeled, collapsed subcategories, please!
4. Now that I’m really rooting around, I’d say please make both the Nearby and the Layers almost the same. (We’ve already established that you don’t want to **exactly** mirror OSM, just include more of their categories for nounours sake! ;^) ) I say “almost” exactly, because there is a confusion between what I’d call “Map Layers” and POIs arising here.
To me, Map Layers would be generic categories of infrastructure and geography. POIs are specific items of structure: stores, fountains, etc. In the Settings list of Map Layers, I’d like to see three categories:
•Public Trans Labels
POINTS OF INTEREST (alpahbetized)
•Food & Drink
MY FAV POIs
5. These should exactly mirror the Nearby Search, and both should be similarly iconed and color coded.
Just my two cents, of course! Thanks for listening!May 9, 2013 at 2:17 pm #4626
Hey, wait, you did it! I just updated a lot of my map data and now the Map Layers are Categorized! How did that happen? Totally cool. Thank you, thank you! Now let’s synchronise the POIs in Map Layers with the Nearbys and it’s totally totally cool.May 10, 2013 at 3:46 am #4631
Hi BuckyE, thanks for the feedback, we’ll consider and work on it!
Yea, the Map Layer definitions and the Nearby Category definitions are contained in the “data” update, not in the app itself, so we can update it anytime. The current set was last updated along with and available since the v1.5 release, which is why we recommended the data update in our release notes 🙂May 10, 2013 at 9:06 am #4632
BTW, I agree that what POIs are important is very subjective, but what we are considering less important is just POIs that are of less use to travelers and outdoor enthusiasts, since those are our main target groups. A car dealership for example is probably of very little importance to such people. We started with the standard set of POI shown on the OSM website, since those are the ones the community decided were most important to show for most people. We then added a number of additional ones that we thought would be useful for our target audience.Basically, drawing overlapping POIs looks pretty bad, so we have to do something. See screenshots for illustration (and this still doesn’t include the dozens of “lesser important” POI which we currently do not draw at all, nor does it include the standard ones which we just don’t show at these zoom levels). The most ideal solution is clustering them on the map. The easier solution, which we do now, is to simply not show all of them.But we are working towards a clustering solution, and towards creating the graphics for and including all other missing POI!May 12, 2013 at 7:33 pm #4643
Hmmm, interesting. The included screen shots are too low-resolution for me to see well, but I have to say that I’ve never seen a screen with that many POIs! Where are the locations you’ve shot?
I’ve been looking at the neighborhoods/places we’re interested in visiting over the next year or two and exploring the OSM POIs. I would like the POI icons to be larger! When I zoom in to, say, the Forum in Rome, I set up a Map View on my iPad 2 in horizontal/Landscape orientation. The view measures 0.3 miles across. I’m not seeing any particular overlapping problems, even with Wikipedia Layer turne on. As I zoom out, slowly, I reach what’s obviously a new zoom level and some POI icon disappear. Eliminating overlap problems.
I’m sure you know best the behavior that will satisfy most folks, but I’d be very grateful if you’d consider some form of my request/solution to the overlapping problem and a seperate, but related, problem I’m having.
I’m having trouble seeing the POI icons in all their detail. Not horrible trouble, but some. The icons remain the same –to me, with my old eyes– tiny size at all zoom levels. I’d like to have a Button/Icon on the Map page that would open a slider bar/radio button chooser to define the POI icon size relative to the screen area, not to the zoom level.
If this were the case, I could also use it to reduce/enlarge the icons in the case they were actually overlapping in some major way. (Which I repeat has not actually happened to me in my use of this amazing cool and terrific app.)
Please also consider adding yet another Button to the Map view to access the Map Layers: turning them off and on. So that I didn’t have to switch to the Settings screen and use the stupid On/Off sliders. And so the layers would react in real time, while I looked at the Map, and saw the effect on the –potentially– overlapping POI icons.
Let’s pull an end run around the whole concept of clustering!
Thanks for listening to my probably goofy ideas.May 13, 2013 at 12:02 pm #4648
I found that I could click on the map JPEGs and open them. That didn’t work before! OK, I see two screen shots of center Paris. I assume they are taken from an iPhone?
That seems to my eye to be most of the problem. The icons in your screen shot are rather larger in relation to the map than they ever are on my iPad. I have to zoom in pretty close to make the meat cleaver butcher shop icon at Rue Rambuteau & Rue Quincampoix appear. When that happens, none of the icons around it touch it or overlap on my iPad screen.
It also seems the iPhone icons are not as sharply defined; they fuzz out over each other. Interesting.
In general, it looks to me on both the iPhone screen shots and my iPad like the OSM icons are difficult to see/distinguish at least partially because they are “transparent.” If they had square backgrounds –similar to your PE icons– they would stand out from the map and be easier to decipher.
In general, I’m not bothered by the small amount of overlapping that’s occuring. I’d rather see overlapping POIs appear at much lower zoom levels. With an easier way to show/hide, and easier-to-distinguish-from-the-map icons the overlapping would be perfectly acceptable, visually and in practical terms.
That would be much preferable to me than an expanding-cluster-icon solution.
Thanks for listening!May 16, 2013 at 1:37 am #4660
@nounours I have added a Map Layer called ‘Minor POI’, which if enabled, shows pink dots on the map for other shops and brown dots for other amenities. You can get this now by going to Settings > Data Cache > Check for Updates. This is just meant as a quick hold over until we have time to add proper icons for some of these things.@BuckyE, PocketEarth does not allow POI overlap normally. Those images were meant to illustrate why we don’t allow overlap! But simply skipping the drawing of any POI icons that would otherwise overlap is not the best solution. Clustering will help a lot, once we get to implement it (hopefully in the next month or so). I would also like to have our own set of POI icons with a solid backing like we have for the Nearby categories. These would be more distinguished from the map itself and easier to make out.May 16, 2013 at 10:33 pm #4671
I agree! I don’t think I ever proposed “skipping the drawing of any POI icons.” If I said something that implied such, I apologize. On the contrary, I have said and I maintain that overlapping is no problem to me. Having more discrete, backgrounded icons will mitigate some of the overlapping confusion. That would be great. I’d be glad to help with creating icons.
I still don’t understand the objection to overlapping. I look at lots of maps and apps that have clumps of overlapping icons. To me, that’s interesting information. It tells me, visually, that there are many sites of interest in that area. Without having to learn or recognize a “cluster” icon. If I’m interested in that area, I zoom in.
To me, a Button on the map that would let me customize my Layers of POIs (eliminating the unwanted over-lappers) without having to switch to Settings would be much more desireable than expanding-cluster icons.
Thanks for listening.May 18, 2013 at 1:56 pm #4679rainforest1155Participant
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Great addition with the minor POI’s, even if it’s just a temporary implementation!
What I’m missing still are additional tags, like:
opening_hours, website and phone for any kind of business (at least I think the latter two aren’t show yet but I could be wrong)
collection_times for post boxes
Keep up the great work!May 19, 2013 at 1:36 am #4681
@rainforest1155: We do include the website and phone tags for all POI that have them. For example clicking around central Paris, I see them on a lot of museums and theaters. Unfortunately there are not a lot of POI that have been tagged with these, only about 150,000 with phone and 200,000 with website. ‘opening_hours’ and ‘collection_times’ we are not currently including, though I think we could add them in our next update.
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