Offline database of POI beta in v3.5.2: Feedback & questions
Some Feedback to the Offline database of POI (Point of interest) that was introduced as beta feature in v3.5.2 To put it in a nutshell: I really like the feature already in current state, it is already quite usable + helping, but some enhancements would be very welcome. I'd like the feature to make the way from beta to mature state :-)
1) It took quite a while to find the feature at all, because I looked in the search feature (where addresses, personal POIs, wikipedia etc can be searched) - would be nice to have a button there that leads to the new POIs. Just as a second "entry point".
2) Please re-think the feature's name to make distinguishing between the two kinds of POIs easier: We have main menu > data > POIs, and main menu > more > "Points of interest" also called "database of POI" or just "Points", depending where you look (menu entry/news post/dialog title). Both POI types are grouped in categories, both usually contain the same stuff (resturants etc), both have icons,... IMHO the names might be something like "Personal POIs" versus "Map POIs", so the name differentiation utilizes the data source (the map or manually collected).
3) In the points menu, initially no content appeared and also no hint, why nothing appeared / how I can get POIs. Could you display the preconditions if no points are shown, and/or add a manual page icon?
As far as I understood, it's not important which map type is currently shown (online/personal/vector), it's only important to have a vector map installed AND that this vector map is of a specific type - after downloading the Switzerland map, I saw POIs for Switzerland, but I also have vector maps for Germany, Czech Republic, ... Why are their sets of points not visible to the offline database feature? Does it require mapsforge-map-writer.0.5 (the only difference I could imagine to be relevant)?
4) In display of a single POI, please hide "created" as it's always current time (or very few minutes ago) and thus irritating - the map's OSM snapshot is much older.
5) It would be really nice to have extended search possibilities.
5a) Only search in one folder, e.g. to quicker find the restaurant "Trattoria" in the huge list of POIs. Could be via long tap on the folder "Food & Drink" or could be a filter option within search screen (additional row below the input field where I have to type 3 characters)
5b) Search / filter for data within certain fields, e.g. only gasoline stations having fuel type LPG (checkbox), only restaurants with Indian cuisine (combo box or text field), or only POIs that are open at a specific point in time (date-time picker). Yes, I am aware that the latter is not trivial on a mobile device with it's limited resources, as all opening_hours need to be parsed and the relation to now / the given time needs to be calculated (within opening hours or not?).
As a quick first step you could allow to filter only the POIs that have a filled opening_hours key, independent of the value, so only filter on "exists opening_hours value?". That would already help much because I don't need to open 20 supermarket POIs where only 1-3 have an opening_hours value.
6) I did not yet really understand how to influence the display of the POIs. Sorry, but it's not intuitive for me. Sometimes I can't make them appear at all, sometimes I only get the first 100 found POIs, sometimes I see all POIs in the whole displayed area. For hiding them, I only found the button in top right of POI screen, but that seems also to reset my search/selection - when I'm in zoom 14 in a city, I can't see the roads any more behind all the icons and would love to shortly hide the POIs, look for the roads, and then show the POIs again.
A solution that's probably quick & easy to implement and also well understandable seems a button "Map POIs" in Quick switch (working like "shading maps").
Best regards and please keep on working on those "data overlay" things, they've a huge potential!