Friday, December 16, 2011

The New and Improved Trip Planner!

Interstate 94
First, an update on my last post asking for volunteers to adopt a highway.... Wow! What an amazing group of people! In alphabetical order, the following people helped out with improving the existing routes: Aiphid, Amanda from Seattle, BanjoMan, BfloAnonChick, Bumble, Dizzy, Eidolon, PI Joe, speedsquare, Suduko Crazy, and Wronghat. They've been plotting and fixing and helped run through about 83,000 miles of roads, trails, and historic routes! If you've noticed that all of your trip searches seem generate more accurate results, you can thank these people for making it so. =)

For you Canadians out there, you'll find some support for the Trans-Canada Highway now, with much help from Bumble. =)

Not only that, but they've done a darned good job helping to find bugs and problems, so they've really gone above and beyond. Thanks to you all!

And now, to introduce the rest of you to the improvements. Under the 'Toolbox' menubar option, you'll see a link for Trip Planner. There, you'll find options to search what trips are available on Atlas Quest, along with a list of the newest trips that have been created. If you select a specific trip, it'll display some information about the trip, including a map of the route. Take the Pacific Crest Trail, for instance. It tells me the route is nearly 2,000 miles long, the accuracy is 2.7 segments per mile (larger is typically better, and 2.7 totally rocks!), and a list of towns that the trail passes through (or near) along the way.

If you're a premium member, though, you'll see a couple of more options--such as a button to create your own route. Now this is my favorite part. =) Let's say you're going on a road trip to visit Grandma for Christmas. (I plan to!) You can type in your starting location and destination, and AQ will map a route for you--turn by turn. Depending on how long and detailed your route is, it might take AQ a few minutes to crunch the numbers, but when it's done, you can then run a letterbox search along your route. (Or an event search, or virtual search--or any search that requires a location.) Your route will even show up as an option on the Trip Planner Search.

You can keep the route private. Right now, I'm not expecting any of you to travel with me from my mom's house to Grandma's house for Christmas. ;o) But if you create a route that you think others might find useful (perhaps California's well-known Highway 1?), you can make it available to other premium members.

And really, that's all there is to it. Creating and editing routes is strangely hypnotic--I hooked in Google Maps to help with that process and it's remarkably easy to create very detailed routes.

Happy travels! =)


The V's said...

I was just thinking yesterday that I wished I could map out a drive and then locate boxes along the route. I woke up this morning and "voila"! Ryan has read my letterboxer's mind!! Yeah! I can't wait to try it!

Debbie St.Amand said...

Awesome! Nice Christmas gift, Ryan. Thanks!

IrishScarlett said...

Oh, how did you know that is what I've been wishing for... For quite a while now!! Thank you! I can't wait to try it out!

Anonymous said...

How fabulous!! Thanks, Ryan -- this is going to be great!!
Meditation Mountain Girl

Anonymous said...

WOW!! This is great! It used to take me hours to do this! Thanks so much!


Anonymous said...

I am crazy! I keep refining European route E-40, more than 5300 miles. Should be finished tonight! ~speedsquare

Teresa said...

I was going to try to put the Connecticut section of the New England Trail in as a trip but couldn't figure out if I could do that. It automatically entered a whole bunch of points along various roads.