Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Scenic Map 1.6

Scenic Map 1.6 is currently being uploaded, reviewed and released to the iOS App Store. This is the big update for the year. I expect a minor bug fix update will follow in the near future.

Here are some of the new features: Searching has been greatly enhanced. The three screen shots above show what happens if you type in (or say) "pizza" to the online Local Search feature. A list of nearby pizza locations appears sorted and colored by distance. Tapping on Chicago Fire brings up a list of options. Tap Route to Location to automatically create a route from the center of the map to that location. If you have GPS centering enabled, it will route from your current location. The view then switches to the map where you can see the new route as a green line as well as the other pizza locations that were found.

You can also perform online searches for any address. If you leave the search field blank, the address at the center of the map will be displayed. You can also search for map features even when you are offline. You can find named roads, streams, points of interest, way points, polygons or pretty much anything that appears on the map. The zoom level of the map is used to control the search area. You can even search for generic feature types such as "road". If more than 100 are found, only the matches closest to the center of the map are displayed.

Of course the City Search feature is still there but now greatly enhanced with many more populated places. You can create routes to any of these features when you are online. The automatic routing uses Apple's mapping services. You can also open the destination point in Maps and get turn by turn directions to that location. This way you can listen to for the turn notifications while you are driving while Scenic Map shows you the way even if you are offline for much of the trip. Routes you create in Scenic Map are stored in the Tracks screen just like your GPS tracks. You can even choose to play a route and get a preview of your journey. You can create as many routes as you like while online and then use them when you are offline. You can even export them to other apps as GPX files.

One of the biggest requested features was a BLM Lands overlay. Scenic Map Western, Central and Alaska have a BLM Lands option that you can turn on in the Settings menu. Please keep in mind that this is a static snap shot of the BLM lands database maintained by the US Department of the Interior shortly before Scenic Map 1.6 was released. I will update the map for major app updates. It is possibly that ownership of land can change between updates so please check with the DOI before making use of the BLM Lands map overlay.

Version 1.6 also includes many other new features, enhancements and bug fixes. The iOS 7 user interface is now supported but backwards compatibility has been maintained back to iOS 5.1.1. You can now display the county outlines and get information about which county is at the center of the map. Track times are now displayed in local time thanks to the new time zone database. You can see these on the Tracks screen or when you play back your past trips. Tracks can be sorted by date, name or distance. Polygons are now sorted by size before they are rendered. This makes smaller features stand out in front of larger ones. Smaller buildings are now more visible. Overall the maps should draw faster and use less memory. All known 1.5 bugs have been fixed.

The Open Street Map data set is constantly being improved and increasing in detail. There are now a vast number of buildings in the map. Due to the increase in data size and in order to keep the app size under the Apple 2 GB limit, the western edge of Central USA and Eastern USA had to be reduced by one degree. There is still 5 or 6 degrees of overlay between maps so you should be able to switch between maps before the edge becomes a problem on long drives.

The Canadian data has also gained a very large number of streams and lakes in the northern regions. For this reason Eastern Canada had to have its western edge reduced by one degree and Central Canada had both its western and eastern edges reduced by one degree. There are still at least 9 degrees of overlap between the Canadian maps.

I hope you like the new version of Scenic Map and use it on your summer trips. There will be an update to You Need A Map as well. I need a bit more time to prepare it. It should be ready by the time the minor update for Scenic Map is released.


  1. Like your post but ios need to improve more space capability in ios 2 GB is not big space i think.

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  2. Apple now has iCloud data that I am currently investigating for Scenic Map. It should allow much more than 2GB of data total while also greatly reducing the app size.