Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
h a l f b a k e r y
If you can read this you are not following too closely.

idea: add, search, annotate, link, view, overview, recent, by name, random

meta: news, help, about, links, report a problem

account: browse anonymously, or get an account and write.



asymmetric driving directions

Don't explain stuff I already know.
  (+18, -1)(+18, -1)
(+18, -1)
  [vote for,

When giving directions, we should treat the end points differently depending on whether the user knows them well or not.

When printing out driving directions to a destination, I tend to spend about five minutes fussing over the map so that:

- everything fits on a page
- there's a fairly close-up map of the destination.

If you're driving in a country that has a reasonably good highway network, that's probably the information you need, too - because you know perfectly well how to get to the highway near your point of departure; you just don't know how to navigate the grid of little streets near the destination.

Many systems, google for example, treat all endpoints the same, and offer me a choice between a big map for everything or many small maps for the individual turns - but what I really want is a big map for the destination only, for the part I don't know.

Similar things apply to the verbal directions - I know by now how to get to I-880 South; the system could instruct me to just "get to I-880 south", without giving turn-by-turn directions that only take up space.

jutta, Jan 23 2009

Please log in.
If you're not logged in, you can see what this page looks like, but you will not be able to add anything.


       like the title!
po, Jan 23 2009

       Would it take longer for you to explain to the system which parts of the journey you know well than it does to print or format the uncustomized directions?
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 23 2009

       On the map site, you could draw boxes around areas you know well, which could be saved in your cookies.
phundug, Jan 23 2009

       But you don't know *everything* in that region. If you live in an urban area, you probably know all motorways within 5 miles of where you live, all major roads within 1 mile and all minor roads within half a mile. The mapping service just needs to know your home address and have some sort of algorithm like this.
hippo, Jan 23 2009

       I don't think I'd trust an algorithm to decide what I knew, because I invariably know less stuff about more things than I thought I knew.   

       Also, if you know the journey from A to B and only need directions from B to C, why not just ask the online map for directions from B to C? (Yes, I know, you have to first ascertain that you need to go via B, but that's not too much of an effort, shirley?)   

       Not a bad idea, I just don't see how the software can second-guess you without a lot of tedious inputting.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 23 2009

       I guess the inventor of a heuristic always thinks it will do exactly what they want - point taken.   

       How about I could select one of the turn-by-turn instructions in the "formatted for printing" page and say the equivalent of "Yes, yes, I know how to get there, go on". Then they turn into one instruction: "get to <endpoint of journey so far>."   

       > from B to C
After a bit of thought, I did something like that - my printed directions now take me to tomorrow's destination from "I-880 South", which happens to lie on the actual route. But for long highways, the right names can be hard to guess, and of course you do have to also know the rough overall direction beforehand.
jutta, Jan 23 2009

       You may be right - I guess it depends on your own situation.   

       I was thinking about how this would have worked for me on recent longish trips. In most cases, it could have said something like "Join the M11 towards London from the roundabout near Waitrose", and saved a few lines of directions. But if it had said "Get on to the M11 southbound at junction 10", I would have had to go and check whether J10 was the one I thought it was, or not. In other words, my idiosyncratic navigational repertoire would not dovetail with any obvious algorithm. But maybe that's just me.   

       Perhaps it would work if it showed the complete route on screen, and then allowed you to select part of it and say "I know this bit", before producing an abbreviated display and printout.   

       Or, just buy a satnav...
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 23 2009

       [Jutta], only you know what you do not know.
MikeD, Jan 24 2009

       Unknown known unknowns.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 24 2009

       A very good premise - I share this frustration. This is also the reason that I will not buy a SatNav. Each time I have been in a car using TomTom it has failed to get me to the correct end destination. It is only half a mile or so away but nevertheless this is the only really salient information for me.
An amusing/frustrating incident from my past: I needed to get to a Thames Water site in Reading (UK) from my home approx 100 miles away. Asking my boss for directions as he had been there before he proceeded to explain for 5 minutes the (almost entirely inaccurate) way for the journey and finished with "..and now you are in Reading." The fact that I could probably drive to Reading with my eyes shut but still did not know where I was going seemed to elude him.
gnomethang, Jan 24 2009

       "I wouldn't start from here."
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 24 2009

       + ......or "ya can't there from here".....
xandram, Jan 26 2009

       Yip I do this manually everytime and it is taking up valuable drinking time...
madness, Jan 26 2009


back: main index

business  computer  culture  fashion  food  halfbakery  home  other  product  public  science  sport  vehicle