Choosing the Right Zoom Level

In the Map Settings, you can choose at what zoom level the routes and icons display on the map.

This might seem like a simple setting, and you may feel the urge to bump it all the way to the maximum level. However, to get the best experience from the app, it is important that you choose a zoom level that matches the performance of your phone. Here’s why…

Low Zoom Setting 

The image below shows the app at Zoom Level 3. This zoom level only shows a small number of routes and icons, meaning your phone only has to deal with a few hundred waypoints. This is an easy task for your phone, and the result of using the app at low zoom levels gives you a fast and smooth experience. Great!

High Zoom Setting 

The image below shows a huge collection of routes and icons displayed on the map when using a high zoom level (such as Zoom Level 8). This means your phone must constantly recalculate the positioning of tens of thousands of waypoints. This is demanding on your phone, and only high-end phones have the capability of running smoothly at high zoom levels. 

If you choose a zoom level that matches the performance of your phone, you'll have smooth experience with the app. However, if you choose a zoom level beyond the capability of your phone, the app will run slowly, poorly, and potentially crash. 

How to Choose the Right Zoom Level 

Firstly, go to the Map Settings in the menu, and set the Map Zoom Level to 3. Next, view the map and test how your phone performs. If your phone gives you a nice and smooth experience, this confirms your phone is capable of running zoom level 3 – great! 

Next, try a zoom level that is one higher, and repeat the test. Keep doing this until you reach a zoom level where your phone starts to get laggy and perform poorly. This indicates a zoom level that exceeds the performance capabilities of your phone. 

Always Great for Navigating 

When you’re out on the trails riding or driving, and using the app for navigation, you will typically be using a low zoom setting. Often, you'll be zoomed all the way in. This makes sense, as it's easier to see the track you are navigating when you are zoomed in close to the action! 

At this zoomed in level, only a small number of routes and icons are visible on the map. This means the app will always run fast and smooth when used for navigation – no matter what phone you are using. 

It is only at high zoom levels where lots of routes and icons are displayed on the map, that your phone’s performance comes into play, and can impact how the app performs. 

Typical Map Zoom Settings 

Here are some general guidelines for zoom level settings: 

High-end phones - maximum zoom level 8

Mid-range phones - maximum zoom level 6

Low-end phones - maximum zoom level 3

Why is There a Limitation on Low-End Phones?

The Adventure Guide website displays over 1,000 routes on a the Adventure Map, using Google maps. This is an easy task for any computer, however doing the same thing on a phone app is not as simple as you might think.

When displaying over 1,000 routes on a navigation app, the industry recommended way to do this is to use the “Pin System”. This is where a single pin, represents an entire route. This means the map is peppered with a bunch of pins, but you can’t actually see any routes on the map until you start tapping a bunch of pins, and exposing the routes.

Why? Without going into boring detail, this is due to the demand on your phone when dealing with a large number of waypoints.

But let’s get real here, what sort of experience are you going to get if you are out exploring, and you are forced to constantly tap on pins to expose routes on the map?

Wouldn’t it be easier to ride or drive along and be able to see the routes on the map, without the need to constantly tap on the screen like a lunatic?

There was absolutely no way I was going to develop a navigation app with the “Pin System” and produce what I believe would be a poor user experience.

I won’t get into the massive challenges that spanned months, or the constant pushing against the app developers who said displaying all the routes on the map can’t be done. Instead, I’ll jump to the good bit…. Perseverance was the winner over the technical challenges, the Adventure Guide Navigator is now here, and the result is awesome! 

The Adventure Guide Navigator is the only preloaded navigation app that has the ability to display over 1,000 routes, plus all the campsites, huts, fuel stations and AdventureTokens on the map, without the pin system!

While the benefits of this path have limitations for low-end phones regarding usable zoom levels, the positives far outweigh the negatives. The overwhelmingly positive feedback from app users has validated this was absolutely the right path to make a great navigation app!

Of course, phone technology continues to evolve at an astonishingly rapid pace. It won’t be too long before the performance of low-end phones improves, and all phone types will have a great user experience, at all zoom levels. 

What Phones are Best? 

The Adventure Guide Navigator app was designed and tested with the Samsung series of phones, specifically the A05 (around $220) up to the S22 (up to $2,000). Phones with higher performance will always offer a faster and smoother experience – the S22 for example offers a simply awesome experience with the app. 

With this in mind, you may be surprised to hear that I use a low cost A05 with the app. Why? I want to prove that an excellent navigation experience can be had on a low-cost phone, and that you don’t need to spend a ton of money to enjoy the benefits of this navigator app. 

My experiences of using the A05 for navigating on my bike have been great. Granted this is a low end phone so it is a bit slower to use, and it can’t handle the map at high zoom levels, however for the task of navigation and following routes on the map, it is an excellent low-cost navigation option. 

Here is some additional information on: Choosing a phone for the Adventure Guide Navigator app.

Happy trails!

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