Track charts: Fixed ranges for X and Y axis

Ingo Rau shared this idea 7 months ago
Collecting votes

The track charts always show normalized X and Y axis. Especially for the X axis, this is suboptimal, at least for hikers: Hiking up a mountain always looks the same: A slope from the lower left to the upper right, whether it's a lowland hill or a 1600m alpine climb. Of course, you can zoom in, but with fingers it's inexact and hard to get to a fixed horizontal distance. So looking at a chart doesn't tell me anything about the difficulty of the track.

Would it be possible to define fixed values for the X and Y axis? For example, for X i choose 2km, for Y 2000m altitude (of course starting with the lowest altitude of that track). With that setting, a quick look at the chart gives a good idea how demanding thatroute is.

Comments (16)

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Have you tried displaying the Gradient in the Chart?


In the following example, the Altitude graph looks precisely the way you described: "Hiking up a mountain looks the same ... looking at a chart doesn't tell me anything about the difficulty of the track". I agree; the Altitude graph alone is insufficient. However, the Gradient graph reveals the many steep sections along the ascent.

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True, and useful, for sure - but also the gradient graph ist not normalized. So a graph with max gradient 10% may look similar to one with 45% as in your example.

I'm not saying that you can't set up the graph in a way that you're able to get the information you need. I'm just wondering if it could maybe be improved...

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I don't look at the Gradient graph's slope-angle, only it's highs and lows. In other words, the useful information is the max and min values and not the rate of change.

For example, in Caltopo.com, the Slope is not shown as a line-graph but as a color-keyed strip along the bottom. Red represents the steepest sections, orange, yellow, and then shades of green for the least steep portions. (The Altitude graph is the pale blue line.)

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Yeah, the Caltopo graph is nice - but is it absolute or relative? Of course, the min/max values are the most important ones, agreed, but it's a world of a difference if the max is 10° or 40° . So if "red" only stands for "steepest slope of this track" (as is also the case with Locus slope-based track coloring), it's more or less useless imho. At least in regions where the range of possible slopes is high (I'm living in Switzerland).

On 13 March 2017 5:15:05 pm Locus Map wrote:

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For Caltopo, the value of each color is shown in the small "Slope" chart beneath the main chart. Red represents the steepest slope and its value is indicated in the "Slope" chart. For the example above, red represents approximately 40% , orange is 35%, and yellow is 30%.

I don't understand why you feel red representing "steepest slope of this track" is "more or less useless". Can you elaborate on what you want red to represent? The steepest slope found in a given region?

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As I said: Sometimes, the steepest slope is 10°, which I can walk for hours. If it's 40°, I'll have to look closely for how long. So if the colors are always like in your example, I.e. red for >40, that's great. But if another track has like 1/3 red, but only 10°, that gives a totally wrong impression.

That's the way Locus colors tracks - you may have a long red section, but in fact it's not steep...

On 13 March 2017 7:45:05 pm Locus Map wrote:

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Ah! Now I have a better understanding of what you mean by absolute and relative. Yes, Caltopo's Slope colors are "absolute". Red will only be used for 40% slopes. The image below is the elevation profile for a gentle road and its steepest section is shown by the darkest shade of green (and not red).

Perhaps this could be the basis for a new Idea to use a "fixed-scale" of colors for depicting a track's slope-angle.


  • Fixed-scale (Absolute): red is only for 40%.
  • Sliding-scale (Relative): red is for the track's steepest section (even if only 10%).

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Yeah, that would be a good thing - like for hill shading by slope, where you can choose/define fixed palettes.

However, I think I remember that was discussed before for the track coloring, and the result was a "No". I might be wrong...

@Menion: Do you remember that?

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Not sure if "no" was my final result. Because I perfectly understand need for absolute coloring (at least now), I should correct my answer to something like ... "hey guys I understand this ... it's time will come, no worry" :).

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Good answer. If Locus is ever finished, you should consider becoming a diplomat :o)

No, seriously: Discussing this, I realized that actually the absolute slope coloring of a track would be most helpful - that idea here about the graphs is probably a bit too complicated... Best would be to draw a track, turn on slope coloring and then seeing "Only one short red section, no worries".

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Hmm diplomat ... I'll think about it :).


It is not a big problem for me to create such function (as well as many others). My biggest problems are where to place them, where to add buttons, settings etc. to keep it still usable for most of users. Usually when I do some different task, I get idea and realize it. I believe same will be here.


Because I for a long time think about improving of settings for coloring track to be usable also in recording profiles, I'll think about this option as well ...

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Here is the color pallete used by Caltopo's Slope Histogram. The RGB values were derived from the histogram but the color names are my best guess.


  1. Celadon 179,255,181
  2. Bright Green 102,255,107
  3. Green 25,255,34
  4. Green Yellow 123,255,10
  5. Yellow 247,213,8
  6. Red 252,85,3
  7. Orange 221,0,34
  8. Purple 119,0,136
  9. Blue 17,0,238
  10. Black 0,0,0

Each color represents a range of 6 degrees of slope. All ten colors combined represent a range of 0-60.

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Here is a suggestion for the choice between Absolute or Relative track coloring.

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If it is preferable, I can copy this information to a new Idea so people can vote on it.

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You read my mind - that's exactly what I wanted to propose, with the line style mode selection. Well, you did even better than my mind by providing the colors, too ;)

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Then I think, you guys has discovered already existing topic here ... http://help.locusmap.eu/topic/user-defined-colors-for-steepnessgradient-in-a-track

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Thx, yeah, wanted to look for something like this or otherwise write the idea myself - now you did the search for us :) Hope that sees the light of day soon!

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Haha! We re-invented the wheel! :)

I consider this an "independent scientific study" that arrived at the same conclusion. It proves that absolute track-coloring is a good solution. ;)

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