User defined colors for steepness/gradient in a track

Christoph Blank shared this idea 1 year ago
In Progress

Hi there,


This is a followup ticket of http://help.locusmap.eu/topic/improve-change-of-altitude-track-style-mode


I often want to compare two tracks to find out which of them is steeper/more difficult to ride with the bike, hike, etc.

Currently the track coloring is only relative, so you cannot really compare two tracks.


It would be very helpful to be able to have an absolute palette mapped to levels of steepness. This way one could easily compare two tracks and immediately see which one of them is more difficult.

It would furthermore be helpful to assign colors to particular values like it is done in slope steepness maps for ski touring. E.g. map >45 degrees to red, etc. Not sure if these are two issues though as a gradient is also nice.


See original ticket for the initial discussion.

Comments (90)

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I hope you get lots of votes. I gave up using the gradient coloring mode as an accurate indication of track steepness because the track would be mostly green even though (in hindsight or past experience) the track was steep. As you suggest this is because its calculations are relative not absolute. When evaluating a newly created track I currently view the actual gradient chart and zoom in to see 1km sections at a time for steepness. If instead I could set a gradient threshold of (say) 4 degrees, and every part of the track steeper than this was displayed in red, I would get a lot less grief from my riding partner that I have chosen a route that is too hilly.

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Yeah, same here - it would be very helpful to be able to compare it directly. Shouldn't be too much effort I assume as the gradient analysis and coloring is already there..

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by default, or, when hiking mode is enabled, it would be helpful to use a fixed coloring gradation to match different avalanche slope levels. Caltopo has 2 modes of fixed coloring for avalanche slope detection.

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it's not meant as avalanche slope coloring, the track you are going does not really reflect the slope. this applies only to the track

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good clarification - then this idea does not seem as useful to me, and most hikers, skiers, and alpine scrambling enthusiasts. Thx!

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well it is very useful - but it is something different. Here it's about the track you are walking, so you can compare for example the steepness of two tracks - this is very useful for hiking, biking, ski touring, etc. but it's not about slopes.


if you're looking for slope steepness, this is what you want:

http://help.locusmap.eu/topic/slope-shading-in-different-colours-30-35-40

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thanks Chris- I don't see much use for the hiking case - rarely have to compare steepness of multiple hiking tracks. There is typically only one track which we take. Thx for your help in clarifying the difference.

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Rather useful for evaluation the track elevation changes.

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Glad it is useful to someone in hiking :-). I mostly check overall elevation gain over miles, and the description of the trail tells me what to expect. I don't measure every small portion of the slope on hiking trails. Thanks all.

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You got it wrong... :-)

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well, I think you just don't see it :) In regard to "There is typically only one track which we take" that's exactly the purpose of this.

It allows you to chose your track, based on your fitness, your partners, etc or simply to get an idea of it.

It allows to compare the "difficulty", difficult sections, amount of sections with a grade larger than X, of a track. This is much more concrete than a description of a trail.


An example that makes it more clear is mountain biking.


If you have two or more tracks, currently in locus you cannot really compare the steepness (in terms of elevation as Poutnik noticed) of those tracks, as the coloring is relative.

Having an absolute color palette allows to do this.

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16 votes but no movement. I'd like to keep this topic active because

  • it could be really useful
  • despite lots of old discussion in other topics (at least here and here) it still doesn't work a lot of the time
  • using relative instead of absolute coloring for track gradient (track line style > mode = change of elevation) can be totally misleading - a steep track may be shown as mostly green (see below)

On a recent trip in the Italian Dolomites there was one particularly hard day, plenty of gradient above 3..5% but the track is shown mostly green:

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I would like to push this up again.

Just last weekend, I organized a hike where along the way we had some options. I prepared both of them and showed them to the participants on my tab. To give them a feeling how hard the different options are, I turned on steepness coloring. However, that was useless, because both tracks were red somewhere, even though one was longer and significantly less steep.

Bottom line: Colors based on relative steepness of single track are basically useless.

Menion, what do you think? Is this a question of difficulty or is the demand not high enough yet?

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I see main problem here in difficulty of required UI. There is need to setup min/max values for slope. Probably also not just for a slope, but also other parameters. Current "style UI" seems already little over-complicated, so it will needs some time ...

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I disagree. Why not start with a fixed color set? I'm pretty sure that would already make a lot of people happy, because it's at least much more useful than current setting.

There are some nice examples from a web service here: http://help.locusmap.eu/topic/track-charts-fixed-ranges-for-x-and-y-axis. That long post from Taras D at the end imho shows exactly the way to go ("relative" vs. "absolute" selection, colors as shown). Ok, it's missing standard colors for downhill, but that can probably be tried out, too.

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Hmm oki, let's move with this little bit ... needs some more help anyway.


1. based on what Taras wrote in second topic, does it make a sense to hardcode range -60% > +60% divided into 20 colored intervals? From what wrote Andrew here, his data will be mostly in range -6% > +6% , so usage of this change equal zero. Is it really possible to create absolute slope coloring without option to define min/max values that satisfy at least 90% of users?

2. for English native speakers ... what is best name for this variable ... slope, gradient, change of elevation?


Thanks for opinions!

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"slope" is short and simple. There would be many places already in Locus where other words would need changing to be consistent.

20 "bins" sounds sufficient although I can foresee arguments on the min/ max as you say. Just personally +/-10% would suit me. That would be one bin per 1 percent.

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Perhaps I don't fully understand the issue but why is it necessary to display negative values using a different color?

If the route is displayed on a contour map, you can easily tell if the slope is positive or negative.

"Positive" and "negative" is determined by direction of travel. If you travel out and back along the same route, how will that look like in Locus?!?

In this image from Caltopo, the steepest section (~60%) is displayed in black. Whether you are traveling up or down, it's black.

http://help.locusmap.eu/public/attachments/b25ad80ddbaa08ab037cdd33d4a90a5d.PNG

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I strongly disagree. you shouldn't have to display contour lines simply to tell whether slope is up or down. crazy. I want to know when slope is hard climb. not so concerned if there is downhill section. not hard to understand surely?

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I guess you do feel strongly about it because this is the first time I've seen you respond so viscerally.

Your scenario explicitly avoids using an existing map feature (contour lines) that reveals the terrain's shape. Instead of taking advantage of it, your proposal promotes working without it. Effectively, it replaces what contours do by doubling the number of "bins" from 10 to 20. However, I don't feel as strongly about it as you do. If everyone prefers hiding contour lines and depicting routes using not ten but twenty colors, OK fine.


The selection of the color palette will be an interesting challenge. Caltopo's 10 colors already use many shades of the primary colors so perhaps negative slope can be depicted using shades of gray? I'll leave it to the proponents of "negative slope" to resolve that issue. I'm just pleased Locus may soon have "absolute slope".

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I don't see a problem with +-6% vs. +/- 60%: Of course the "bins" would have to be (kinda) logarithmically distributed. What about: 0 - 1% - 2% - 3% - 4% - 5% - 6% - 8% - 10% - 12% - 15% - 20% - 25% - 30% - 40% - 50% - 60%

That's 16 divisions. Above that we could have little skulls ;)

About negative values: I agree with Andrew (although not so viciously) - slope down should be easy to see, even in small scale/preview/etc., where you cannot discern contour lines etc. But I don't think the bins have to be the same. I mean 2% up vs. 4% up makes a big difference on a bike - not so much, however, when it's down. So for negative values, the following brackets would be sufficient, I think:

[-1..-5], [-6..-10], [-11..-15], [-16..-20], [-21..-30], [-31..-40], [-41..-50] [51+]

Perhaps going from green over to turqouise.

Anyway, altogether 24 brackets/bins. Sounds reasonably, doesn't it?

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>viciously

hey c'mon guys, all I said was I strongly disagree. It was polite, respectful, constructive. Sure I use contours, but I just know from months and months of cycle touring experience that when you have a 80km track in a new country, and you are comparing alternatives, zooming in to see sufficient detail for a possible 8..12% slope that may only be a few 100m long is very error prone. Many times I've told my partner "today there are no hard hills" but only to apologize later. I have to get off and push above 12%.. So as you can tell, I'm passionate about this topic. I love the idea of a log scale combined with different binning for up/ down slope.

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Sorry about the viciously ;) - I actually misread Taras' "viscerally" and kinda wanted to quote him. Thinking about it, is "viscerally" actually applicable here?

Anyway, as I said, I agree with you that depending on type of activity, either the area, say, 0-12% is vital (e.g. biking), or it's more about the grades above 20% (e.g. hiking).

Happy you like my proposal :)

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Visceral: arising from impulse and sudden emotion.

Example: "Logarithmic? Crazy. Why can't you understand that?"

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An 80 km (linear) track would be displayed as an 8 cm line on the average phone. That's 1 mm per kilometer. It's unlikely a slope "a few 100m long" will be discernable without zooming in to examine it in greater detail.

I imported an 80 km route into Locus and displayed it using "Change of elevation" (relative slope coloring). The steepest portions, in red, were visible despite being only 1-2mm long. Great! However, 99% of the route is shades of green; it's easy to see red contrasting with green. In absolute slope coloring, the color differences will be more subtle (red being reserved for very steep slopes in an absolute scale). Therefore you may still have to zoom in, to examine the route in detail, in order to compare one route to another.

Perhaps what's needed is a "Route Analysis Report". Using an absolute slope scale, Locus can report the distance of slopes in each category. For example, this route contains 2 km of +10% slope, 500 m of +20%, etc.

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Why are you arguing one against the other? Nobody is proposing to remove the relative slope coloring. Of course there are still situations where that makes sense - but using it as an argument against a new mode that will be helpful for a lot of other use cases is unnecessarily destructive.

Your proposal for a report is all nice and well, but is making things much more complicated. Why not first focus on that new coloring mode and then see how useful it is in practice?

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????

You may have misread my post. I know relative slope coloring is not being removed and I'm not proposing it should be removed. Nor am I using it as an argument against absolute slope coloring.

I simply pointed out, at a low magnification level, it may be no easier to identify steep sections with the absolute system than with the existing relative system. In fact, it may even be a little more challenging (because of the color assignments in a fixed, non-customizable color palette).

What may be required is to allow the end-user to select their own color palette for the absolute system. It would allow you to specify "red", or some other high-contrast color, for whatever you consider to be steep. It would stand out even under low magnification. In addition, what a hiker considers "steep" is different from a cyclist. As a hiker, I'm not interested in seeing multiple colors for slopes under 15%. However, I respect the fact that cyclists are interested in this range.

Another way to look at it is, as a cyclist you will never see the color red in your route unless it ascends a 40-degree slope! That's the result of red being assigned to 40+ degrees in an absolute system. However, if you allow people to customize the color palette, you can assign red to whatever slope-angle is best for your activity or persoinal preference.

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Yes, ok, got that wrong about "removing the relative coloring". But as you can read above, Menion is very reluctant of a fully customizable system. So arguing that the fixed system might now be a step forward is in this context arguing against any absolute coloring, because, let's be honest, a full-fledged system won't happen in the near term.

And I'm convinced that the fixed system is already a big step forward, so I'd rather have that than nothing!

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> I'd rather have that than nothing

That is what I hope for :).

Fully customizable system for absolute coloring directly in UI is really quite complicated and I believe it does not worth required time. I'll appreciate, if you try to look on this idea from my point of view, and try to help me find most universal solution usable by majority of users. Then we should talk about options how to customize it ( and I have one already prepared, no worry ). Thanks

EDIT: Beta 3.25.1.1 is out

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Ingo, I voted for and supported the idea of absolute slope-angle coloring. I even stated (above) I was looking forward to it. You even mentioned one of my "long posts" where I supported the idea and provided a model for its appearance (based on Caltopo). Therefore I'm not sure why you feel I am now trying to argue against it. All I've done is reveal a potential problem and offered one possible solution.

If we adopt Caltopo's color palette, a cycling route that doesn't exceed ~25 degrees will be colored with shades of green and only green. My point is it will be difficult to identify the steepest portions when viewing at a low magnification. Even if you zoom in, the differences are still subtle.

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What this means is that Caltopo"s color palette is not very good for cyclists. If the color palette is non-customizable, Menion will have to choose the colors carefully to ensure adequate contrast. If the color palette is customizable (for example, like in the configuration file), then the end-user can adjust the colors to their preference.

Undoubtedly the first version of absolute slope coloring will have a fixed color palette. However, knowing that this is not the optimal solution, it may influence how Menion writes the code. He may design the code so that it becomes easier to implement a customizable palette in a future version (as opposed to re-writing large parts of his original code).

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The solution are 2 palettes, one for cycling, one for hiking because what is an easy hike is a struggle on a bike - for me cut off for bike pushing is about 12 % on a track on a few 100s meters, paths are starting to meandering at about 30 %. I hope palettes will be customizable at least as a text file like slope shading although a boxes to type for what min - max % to use a palette would be big improvement.

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From the above sections I filtered some (imo) valuable idea's.

To begin with:

PawelS

+++ Customisable by boxes: min-max % to use a pallette. Or free set YOUR personal prefered "% Slope Range".

Any range represented by a fixed high contrast color palette. Above YOUR max% = Black track.

Taras D

+++ A "Route Analysis Report"

A compact report not by % slope, but by track difficulty according to the % (distance) reported color sections.

Report auto-adapted to selected activity in full accordance with the (YOUR) prefered "% Slope Range" set.


Example of a possible track Slope Report.

What is easy for one person could be a (too) though track for another one. (age/trained/tourist/luggage)


3% Black (Out range = Off bike and push)

4% Violet (In range: Very though)

17% Red (In range: Though)

etc.....

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Good morning guys,

valuable feedback and discussion.

Let's do it as I wrote at start, since -60% to +60% as base values.

Contour lines is something, that may give you extra hint about terrain, but you should not really on them always. In lower zoom levels, they are not perfectly visible + not all maps has them!

Logarithmic range sound good, I'll try to prepare it to next Beta version so we have something specific to discuss about.

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Taras, I'm sorry, I didn't mean no offense. But I also had the feeling you didn't read or didn't understand my proposal about the "logarithmic" steps or bins, as you are still talking about Caltopo's brackets, which I agree don't fit well for different sports.

But Menion already supported my basic idea, so I didn't get why you were still arguing based on a different concept?

Of course, choosing the actual colors is tricky. Probably red has to come around 10%, and then perhaps shades of magenta - violet - black. But I think it can be done.

On 11 August 2017 18:50:07 Locus Map wrote:

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No worries, Ingo. No offense taken.

Whether the ranges are logarithmic or linear, the color palette issue affects both systems.

I'm not promoting Caltopo's color palette, or its steps, only offering it as an example of an existing system and a starting point for discussion. It's obvious now that if Menion implemented it, it would not satisfy the needs of cyclists. It lacks negative steps, the step-sizes at the lower end are too wide, and the colors at the lower steps are too similar.

PawelS is probably right and there will (ultimately) need to be a choice of palettes. The concept of "what is steep" depends on the activity.

As a hiker, I'm not interested in seeing details below 15 degrees. However, I do want to see information at the higher end because (in the mountains) I expect to encounter slopes in excess of 35 degrees. This is completely opposite to the needs of average cyclists. They have little interest in 35 degree slopes because that's not representative of the terrain they are cycling (perhaps MTB?). Their needs lie at the other end of the spectrum and that's where they want more details, not less.

A single solution, that satisfies both cyclists and hikers, is a difficult goal.

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Taras - wise words. Locus beta 3.25.1.1 now has existing track mode Slope (Relative) and new Slope (Absolute). However when I compare two maps (below) the new absolute mode (LHS) has slightly compressed the range of colors compared to the old relative mode (RHS). I chose this track because there are plenty of steep sections well above 5..10 degrees, and I was therefore hoping to see lots of red colored track. Instead I actually see less "warning" color. A single solution may never work. What about splitting Slope (Absolute) into Slope (cycle) and Slope (walking)? The terms General/ Cycle/ Walking are possibly more intuitive than Relative/ Absolute.


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(I hope) Another interesting track comparison below. This track is 200km long with 4000+m ascent - Lots of hills. There is one section with 18% slope. At present the Slope(Abs) shows the steep sections slightly better than Slope(Rel) but the colors are less intense so the benefit is lost. And of course there will be no "one size fits all solution" to this solution. Velomobile riders, touring cyclists, mountain bikers, easy walkers, mountain climbers, gliders(!) will each have different requirement for slope min/max they are most interested to show color variation. Outside this band they are not so concerned. Personally I want to see intense saturated color spectrum, so I can quickly "spot" the steep slope without zooming in to every small part of the planned route.

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Below red hand annotation of new Abs mode shows places were coloring is better or worse than Rel mode. In Abs mode there are now lots of very short sections of yellow that in practice/ ideally should be more visible/ pronounced. Where any section has steep and flat slopes, I want the steep slope to take "priority" in the displayed color. At present is appears the green/ flat slope takes priority. The 18% section is at the "W" in Woodbridge (town name text is hidden by track).

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Andrew, thanks for the hard work of collecting the data and presenting it in a clear fashion.


Clearly, the end-user will need control over the coloring and possibly even the step-size. As a hiker, I'm OK with 10 degree steps but that's far too coarse for cyclists. Conversely, a cyclist's need for narrow step-sizes (at lower angles) is too finely detailed for a hiker.


I suggest allowing the color and step-sizes to the defined in the configuration file. Perhaps, the file could contain two slope-types by default, "Slope - Cycling" and "Slope - Hiking". This should be adequate for most Locus customers. If desired, they could modify the colors and step-sizes to suit their needs. In addition, they should be allowed to copy-paste and create new slope-types like "Slope - Mountain Biking" or "Slope - Skiing".


Obviously, this is more work for Menion but I think it produces a far more useful feature.

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Not too hard. I sort of enjoy it; and the possibility Locus will continue to improve with time. When you have a choice of cycling routes for the day (I generally create user 3 BRouter profiles ==> 3 tracks), and you are basing decision more on steepness than distance, then the accuracy of prediction becomes very important. At present that decision is quite difficult and time consuming. Some days it doesn't matter, other days you regret your decision. When climbing with 25kg of additional gear on the bike, every extra degree, even for a few km up hill, can make a big difference; and harmony with traveling "companion".

I fully agree that to maximize benefit each end-user may want to tailor default settings to their specific requirements. However this conflicts with Locus developer desire to keep the UI as simple as possible for majority. And of course it is totally reasonable to only improve code in areas where maximum number of users will appreciate. I am in the camp that likes to fully optimize their settings.

Even single Slope - Cycling could be big compromise between velomobile/ touring/ BMX. This is where Slope - Relative has some advantage - self tuning - but I gave up on this mode after a few tracks. Very misleading.

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Well, this is the setting in another track app.

Maybe an idea how to do it..connected to preset?

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Hallgeir I like the idea of settings for downhill/ flat/ light/ medium/ hard uphill. You might go one step further and split downhill into light/ hard. I don't see a useful connection with presets. I'd retain existing scheme where each track folder has global slope setttings, and any track can override with own settings if desired.

Instead of current Slope rel/ Slope abs, there could be common predefined profiles say Slope-Auto (relative), Slope-Cycling, Slope-Walking, Slope-Climbing, AND Slope-Custom. For Slope-Custom the user can edit the 6 slope ranges, and specify own color and either slope min or max for each. I don't really care on user defined colors, just as long as they are distinct from each other.

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Good morning guys,

thanks for a valuable feedback. It mainly confirms that one setup that "fits them all", is not technically and mainly practically possible.

Because of some push here, I hoped for a fast and simple solving of this "idea", but it is not possible.

Because of not-yet-finished tasks related to new Locus Store, Route planner and track editor, I'm leaving this idea for now, till previous will be done, thanks for understanding.

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Nicest use case: To be used as planning tool help. (By Andrew)

As the actual presentation (rel) nor (abs) offers little help.

So prefer free individual setting. Similar to "other app reference" (By Algeir).

As such should also accept the 'logaritmic' setting suggestion. (By Ingo.)

By Presets: Set YOUR personal, so optimal "%slope range" for a(ny) planned activity.

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I was thinking about it quite a lot and currently best solution I have in head is predefined palettes based on track "activity" parameter. These "activities" are not used too much and this is nice case, where is may be improved. What you think? Every activity may have define own palette that will match most used style. I know, it won't match 100% cases, but most of them should.

List of activities may be also improved if needed. As I see, there is only one activity for "hiking" so it may be for example split into some "hiking" and "alpine hiking" etc...

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That sounds like a good approach. I know how many here want a GUI to tune the colors manually, but me personally, I don't think that's absolutely necessary. Nice, for sure, but several presets would already be such a bug step forward.

I would propose four profiles with different values for when the red color starts (the values are a matter of discussion, just my personal guess). Of course red wouldn't be the end of the scale, much higher values could still be magenta and then black, e.g.

  • Low: 4% Nordic walking, running, inline skating, cross country skiing, etc.
  • Medium: 8%Cycling, walking
  • High: 25%Hiking, snowshoeing, etc.
  • Extra: Downhill skiing

    That would be special, as anything above 1% would be red - even the slighest slope up is a major annoyance on the slopes (no pun intended), but downhill it would be more like hiking. Also, I imagine the color scheme should mimic the usual piste grade: green - blue - red - black - (violet for extra caution).

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Sounds good. ...any step forward ;-)

Whereby ultimate color "Black" indicates range above your set operational "% Slope Range" ?

Simple free personal "% Slope Range" set does not need new Graphical interface ?

Prefer free "% Slope Range" set, as this range differs very widely between users/activity.

Agree by Andrew: I don't really care on user defined colors, just as long as they are distinct from each other.

Probably a 'normal' choice that violet is on top and black is above top of any set "% Slope Range"

Idea: "User defined colors for steepness/gradient in a track" or "User defined "% Slope Range" for steepness color indication in a track ?

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Let it not be said that I don't admit when I was wrong.

Although I don't try out the Betas myself, from what Andrew lays out above, I have to admit that obviously the logarithmic scale alone is not enough to fulfil the needs of bikers and hikers alike (and others). So I totally understand Menion's decision to let it rest for now. As long as he revisits it ;) - as we all agree, it's still an important feature that should be implemented in some way.

Thanx Menion for the effort - and till next time :)

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I cannot contribute alot here, just pointing to other methods of routing.

App I refered to is https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.pbos.routemap


Menion will do great, I'm sure

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Slope can be expressed in:

  1. Degrees
  2. Gradient
  3. Grade


http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/slope-degrees-gradient-grade-d_1562.html

  • "Degrees" is self-explanatory (0-90 degrees for horizontal to vertical).
  • "Gradient" represents the angle as the ratio of horizontal distance (X) to a single unit (1) of vertical distance (Y). A value of 1:1, or just 1, represents 45 degrees (X=Y). A value of 1:10, or just 10, represents ~6 degrees.
  • "Grade" represents the angle as a percentage of vertical distance (Y) to the horizontal distance (X). A value of 100% represents 45 degrees (X=Y). 10% represents ~6 degrees.

Based on these definitions, what does Locus Map mean when, in a track's chart, it represents Gradient as percentage? Does it mean "Grade"?


When people say "High 25%" or "% Slope", are you referring to Grade? (A grade of 25% is an angle of ~14 degrees).

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23 votes & 50 comments - lots of interest!


Menion - linking track mode slope color scheme to activity seems like a reasonable compromise. It results in less settings, even no extra settings. Especially with possibility of future additional activities, it could satisfy most users requirements.


At present the color scheme uses a continuous palette, and therefore large number of possible colors. Personally I would prefer for this color mode to use a small set of highly distinct, saturated, easily recognizable colors, with no blurring/ blending of colors at the transition from one slope "band"/"bin" to the next. I like the idea of red, magenta, black being the most steep colors and green being ~0%.

Hallgeir - excellent comparison. Although I prefer the overall Locus "look and feel" (eg. thicker, more visible track), it is clearly evident that the myRouteMap app is showing steep (black/ red) sections that would not have been obvious to the poor Locus user! (especially middle height RHS of map).

Taras - I liked Menion's suggestion to use "slope" because I feel it has more intuitive, more widely understood meaning for all (English speaking) users; also shorter word. It is a non-technical, less "jargony" term. I think Locus is using Gradient%/ Slope% as technically correct Grade.

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The term "slope" is fine. However, there are at least 3 ways to express the slope's magnitude and it's unclear to me which one is used by Locus Map. It's definitely not degrees so that leaves either grade or gradient. Locus indicates "gradient" in the track's chart but expresses it as a percentage which is usually how one expresses "grade". So it's actually "grade"?


If it's grade then we need to revise some of the examples we've provided:

  • Hallgeir's example suggested "Strong Ascent" as being over 8%. If that's grade then it's merely ~5 degrees which seems low by cycling standards.
  • Ingo's example suggested "High 25% Hiking, snowshoeing, etc". Again, if that's grade it's only 14 degrees which isn't much by hiking standards.


Wikipedia's entry for "Grade (slope)" indicates there is a fourth way to express the magnitude and it's called "per mille". It states per mille is commonly used in Europe. The only difference from grade is it multiples "rise over run" by 1000 as opposed to 100.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grade_%28slope%29


Until we know how slope is calculated in Locus, our examples might be presenting incorrect values for each activity (cycling, hiking, etc).

@Menion How is the slope's magnitude calculated in Locus?

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All the road signs I've seen recently in Italy, Slovenia, and my home country Australia express slope as a percentage, so I guess the correct terminology would be "grade". I would have thought slope(%) would be more meaningful/ recognizable to the average user than "grade". I never use (or rarely even heard of) the term "grade". Which "cycling standards" do you refer? This is where there could be endless debates when ranges are fixed with no ability to customize. Certainly for me a grade >= 8% is "strong ascent". In the Wikpedia entry I could only see "per mile" used in England(Euston) and Australia. Surely metrified Europe would not refer to imperial miles?

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It's not "per mile", but "per mille" for thousands (instead of hundreds with "percent"). So no Imperial Miles here ;)

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However, I never heard about "per mille" being used, don't see the need for the additional accuracy here (unlikely the calculation is that exact giving the input data...)

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In Norway, roadsigns is always in %.

So 10% sign is a 10 meter per 100 meter..

Example; 10% downhill means drop 50 meter in a 500 meter horizontal lenght.

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Same in Czech and same in app ;).


And correct terminology ... thanks for tips, I'll consult it with Michal.

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Thank you, Menion!


So a slope's magnitude in Locus Map is calculated like grade (i.e. "5%" is 5 meters per 100 meters or 5 feet per 100 feet).

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@Andrew: Distinct colors by limited fixed colour. +++

(+/- ) A color set as in ski slope indications, and adding some transition colors.

White(snow) <-> Green - Yellow - Blue - Purple - Red <-> Black.

Out of "% Slope Range": White and Black.

Free (= YOUR) personal set "% Slope Range" results in optimal use of the complete color palette/activity.


@ Menion: currently best solution I have in head is predefined palettes based on track "activity" parameter.

I hope predefined includes "advanced" (re)edit mode, so free set "% Slope Range".

Similar solution as offered in Locus standard Preset -> Advanced mode.

Nice theory, but is it worth the effort.

I simulated a test result into Locus.

By the actual (limited) Locus color palette !

As I can't change "% Slope Range" in Locus:

So I manipulated the attribute <ele>

Resulting in more impressing (higher) mountain peaks.

A first result in picture: Using the ABS Locus mode.

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Sorry I forgot another nice palette example. From tv testpicture . 07afd52c388b8945093a0ea80352bfc6

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Andrew, I imported your cycling track into a competitor's product (Alpinequest) so see how it would appear using its "Dynamic colour" feature. Just like in Locus Map, you can display a track using colors based on Speed, Elevation, Incline, etc. I have no idea if "Incline" is based on a relative or absolute scale.


It handles colors differently from the way it has been discussed here. It displays positive and negative slope using gradient-density colors. In the examples below, I've displayed them using the first color choice (blue=negative, red=positive).


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Here's what your track looks like using "Incline". The effect is very subtle and far less pronounced than in Locus Map.

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Here's a magnified view and, arguably, continues to be a little too subtle (for my tastes). There's no control over the intensity but the two-color, gradient-density technique is an interesting approach.


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In addition to "Incline" there's "Elevation/100m". I'm not sure how it works but it produces this effect which is far more bold and legible:


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Anyway, just food for thought.

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@ Taras D. Could you show a result with the attached file pse.

Andrew (PM) informed me the "feeling" he had in that climb is +/- represented by this attached picture.

A lot of red so... (I manipulated the original <ele> attribute in the gpx even more, to obtain this result in Locus)


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OK. Here is "Incline":


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This is "Elevation/100m" (I now understand what this mode represents):

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Here is the Dynamic Profile showing the elevation and incline (% grade) of chosen point on the track. I chose a point that appeared to be the steepest (darkest red) part of the track (~10% grade).

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The color scheme works but it's very subtle, maybe too subtle.

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So, Andrews fit level is around 4%? ;-)

Mine is half, probably..

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Nice work @Taras. It is a good advertisement for me not trying Alpinequest! Agree, Incline mode is far far too subtle. My use-case is 3 BRouter routes (tracks) on screen. Same start/ end point, but generally different route because 3 profiles. I chose the route with most green and least red/ purple/ black. It must be visible in sunlight.

I chose that 200km loop track because I know from experience it is nice example of slight up/ slight down/ flat/ hard up/ hard down etc. It has something of everything. I wouldn't attempt on a laden touring bike, only a road bike. The 3rd map Elevation/100m is totally misleading for my specific example, maybe useful for other tracks.

One point is clear; each person will have a different opinion of what is hard uphill slope. Road bike/ touring bike/ old/ young/ strong rider/ weak rider/ light/ heavy weight/ good weather/ bad weather.

@Hallgeir - not sure on meaning of fit level?

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Alpinequest has its strengths (but that's a conversation for another time and place). Incline appears to be depicted using an absolute scale. Here's a hiking trail involving grades in the 20-30% range. You'll notice the red (ascent) and blue (descent) sections are more pronounced than in the cycling example.


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However, it means its fixed scale is better suited for activities involving steeper grades, like hiking, as opposed to shallower ones like in cycling.


Here's what the cycling example looks like in OruxMaps:


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It's very legible and looks similar to 0709's example (where the elevation values were boosted to produce the desired look).


Like Alpinequest, OruxMaps uses gradient-density but with more than just two colors. They smoothly blend into one another. There is only one choice of color palette.

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Perhaps one solution would be to adopt a fixed-color palette, like the one used by OruxMaps, but allow the range to be adjusted to suit the activity. For example, the scale above is set to +/-25% but for cycling it could be adjusted to +/-15%, +/- 25% for MTB, or +/- 35% for hiking.

I think a fixed-color pallete, with an adjustable range, is easy to use and (probably) easier for Menion to code compared to adjustable color palletes with adjustable/linear/logarithmic step-sizes.

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Hi Taras,

I added some more info in pdf. Does not fill this pages with too many pictures.

Thanks to the personal info by Hallgeir I know +/- his personal Slope Range now.

I suppose Hallgeir rather prefers "free time" Sailing above "free time" cycling in the mountain area's ;-)

So I attached this info to a picture to compare with the result by Andrew. See the pdf.

I hope it is selfexplaining.

And I added a color picture of the Stelvio drive by Andrew.

And also the B&W variant.

As you can see because the Locus color palette is not matched to the greyscale, so this B&W variant is totally misleading !

It should be nice imo that both systems should have a match and so both color and B&W are reporting correct !

(Windows) Color tv Testbeeld generator: http://www.xtcfm.nl/Testbeeld.exe

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I'm sorry, Andrew!

Didn't mean to offend you or your fitness level. Just a slip of the tongue.

I could never be your wingman, my bike is a 40 year old vintage steelframed 5 gear ride. Bought it as a 13 year old boy to bring the newspapers around the neighborhood. Close to mint condition even today :-)

Ride on....

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Tracks in above picture examples are shown without (black) bordering by Locus function "Draw outline".

The (easy climb part) 'pale' colors in the (8) palette show improved contrast/visibility by adding a black border.

Do not reject some (8) palette colors as the contrast experience depends on (ever changing) background color.

Color palette suggestions. In favor for the television test picture (8x) palette: (Example linewidth 8 pix.)

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Has the correct brightness levels for B/W theme or using "e-ink" screen.

Yotaphone for example..any users here in forum ? No idea about popularity.

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Taras - the Orux system looks like a nice simpler compromise. Certainly if range were changed from +/-25% to +/-15%. Your visual example more closely matches my physical experience. Your Alpinequest Incline hiking example coloring is still very pale by comparison. I would not want to compromise any color palette just so matching B&W palette. How many users using B&W? Surely a palette optimized for each mode (color/ B&W) would be better?

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Agreed. The chosen color palette should produce a track that is easily interpreted and clearly communicates the "physical experience" of traveling along it. Tracks that are pale (difficult to see) or use many contrasting colors (difficult to remember the order of colors) don't meet the requirements of clear and simple.

Personally, I don't think B&W clearly communicates ascent and descent. Similarly, I don't believe a wide assortment of contrasting colors (like in the Caltopo example or the TV color test pattern) creates an easily interpreted track.

So far, I like the color palette used in OruxMaps best of all. The distinction between up and down is simple: warm colors for up and cool colors for down. Steepness is mostly communicated by the intensity of the color.

  • Ascent = warm colors; yellow, to orange, to red with a smooth transition.
  • Descent = cool colors; pale blue, to medium blue, to deep blue with a smooth transition.

If Locus Maps were to use this color palette and activity-based ranges (tentatively +/-15% for cycling and +/-35% for hiking) then it will be the best implementation of absolute slope. When comparing cycling routes, red indicates the steepest slopes for cycling (15%). When comparing hiking routes, red indicates the steepest terrain for hiking (35%). The "language" (red=steepest) remains true across all activities by virtue of the scale being tailored to the activity.

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Sure friends,

But it's an open discussion, so we should have a look at every aspect NOW.

I agree B/W match is not the most important aspect, but nice if indeed matched...that's all. No dictate. Natural Warm color versus Cold color system also has his strenght an is attractive.

Sure the Orux example is nice. Similar to the Locus results (abs) by "tuned" Slope Range !

Remember, this discussion started by wish: Optimal view planning tool aid !

"Show a 80 km track on 8 cm track line... expect highest contrast view on small 1mm sections "

Imo THE most important, key factor for succes, is that any choosen palette is optimally matched to any "Slope Range". (Customisable by boxes: min-max % to use a pallette)

Some preset standard Fixed Slope ranges, but by "advanced" mode allow (re)edit, fine tuned to YOUR individual Range"

Andrew/Hallgeir: Same activity very different result. Planning conclusion if tuned for Hallgeir's "Slope Range": More off-bike pushing than on-bike cycling ! Nice info by carefull planning before an eventual cycle start.

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Agreed. Users should be able to fine-tune an activity's range to suit their preference. I picked +/-35% for hiking but other hikers might prefer higher or lower. It should be adjustable.

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Taras D.


 "use many contrasting colors (difficult to remember the order of colors)"


The more colours the less contrast they are. The order is difficult to remember unless it's a known convection like in topographic maps. However there is very big difference - slope doesn't have to change through intermediate vlalues like heights. That's is why majority of colour slope maps are more difficult to read than grayscale ones. So I've developed a colour scale with increasing brightness : black, green, orange, pink, white https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Slope_maps_by_continent . In Locus could be from light green to black

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Andrew, here is the 80km loop displayed in OruxMaps (plus one magnified view). How accurately does it convey the route's steepness to you?

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I loaded my hiking example into OruxMaps but the resulting track was too red (suggesting most everything was steep). However, that's understandable because the default +/-25% range is too low for hiking. If I could change it to +/-35%, I'm convinced the track would describe the slopes more accurately.

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Taras - wow - that is a very good reflection of the route from my point of view with unladen road bike! Of course, if laden touring bike, or unfit, or bad weather then there would ideally be more red. So custom "cut-off" values as Ingo & et.al. have suggested.

However, I would like to "back track" (flip flop!) on my previous comment regards the OruxMaps palette.


Last week you said "If we adopt Caltopo's color palette, a cycling route that doesn't exceed ~25 degrees will be colored with shades of green and only green. My point is it will be difficult to identify the steepest portions when viewing at a low magnification. Even if you zoom in, the differences are still subtle."

However the OruxMaps uphill color palette is shades of red/yellow and only red/yellow. This means that is will be difficult to tell the difference between (say) 10%57d640c95bea33521bc2482c1dfc6f6b and 15%ac2a9c7bbf190d9c0ce037594854dfd7 and 20%38e753e9bcbb249895d3df7d2842af4c if they are isolated on the map. I still prefer a small set of highly distinct (eg. Willy"s suggestion), saturated, easily recognizable colors, with no blurring/ blending of colors at the transition from one slope "band"/"bin" to the next.

We have already seen the beta Slope(Abs) implementation, and it needs further development.

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I would like to add my 2cents to the current state of the discussion:

I personally like the basic idea of having a fixed palette that can be customized by defining the "cut-off" value. However, I would strongly urge to have different values for up and down. Skiing is one example where even 1% up would warrant a deep red (or violet) while down is a wholly different matter, but also for biking it would make sense (I'd rather do a 12% descent than ascent).

I'd also like to bring back the logarithmic idea: Either there could be a checkbox to choose a simple logarithmic scale, or you could define two points (mid-point for orange, high-point for red), through which he actual progression could be calculated along a spline, which in the end leads to something similar to a logarithmic scale.

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Should we not add a first simple proposal for Menion now, to start with, and await the usual beta test reports ?

Proposal: Y/N ?

1. For now just use the excisting Locus color palette.

2. By Menion: As he wants to add some general "% Slope" profiles/activity.

3. An activity by "advanced" menu offers free "% Slope Range" setting by boxes "min-max %"

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I agree the initial proposal should be simple.


Do you know what is the existing Locus color palette? I cannot find it in the documentation. I think it is very similar to OruxMaps (warm colors for ascent, cool colors for descent).

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Undocumented info It seems to me.

Comparing Locus (by boosted elevation as you say correct) results looks similar to Orux.

Only the "Master" can tell and confirm some of our findings ;-)

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Locus Slope Palette test.

"What goes up must go down." First color band is by (rel) second by (abs)

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I wanted to discover the Color Range by previous testfiles.

But was a little bit speechless about the shown results. REL->ABS.

Notice that Locus grade scale ? ? ? Help !

Does not trigger someone to explain/review results ?


Boosting: Just my "try in the wild" to improve a track view !

I suppose boosting favors the high slopes more than low.

excel/mathematics guys why that improved track view ?

See how I did in attachment, with resulting pictures.

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Sport Cycle Slope Range 1 to 19% !

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Interesting 0709. slope(abs) +15% --> only orange/ yellow? no red at all? what if you increase the slope further; does red eventually show? Certainly not optimized for most cycling activities, but we agree anyway I think that current system will always be a compromise.

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Another test. What is the resolution/detail, Slope report, by Locus ?

How well Locus detects a so called sudden but short "cycling wall ?

Test: A single 100m section has a sudden 25% Slope !

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@0709 - I had overlooked your first experiment (up_down.gpx) +/-120% slope. Is slope > 100% even possible? I can see that slope(abs)=red occurs for slope% > ~20 or 30%. In your last experiment (jump_25.gpx) you mention "sudden wall 25%" but the chart gradient% is never > ~7%, hence (I assume) only yellow on slope(abs) track.

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Hi Andrew,

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grade_%28slope%29 (tnks Taras D).

2. By example track: Jump_25.gpx

Has equal 100 m distance between trackpoints. From trkpt 1 to trkpt 30.

Even this example 'straigth' track is "angled" caused by the third dimension ;-)

Locus: Expect to see green line with single "red" section between trkpt 10-11 and "blue" section between trkpt 20-21.

+/- as in example picture by pc program "GPS Track Editor".

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But I notice Locus: Compressed, broadened response, has low "amplitude" and "smearing" colors into the neigbouring tracksections. Shows loss of vertical definition, smoothing caused by a filter ? If <ele>data is delivered from a list: "Filter Off". Anyway ...too many guessing...so best ask Menion.

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Color Palette examples. See attached document.

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After a lot of PM's, and comparing Locus result with other apps, programs.

Keep actual Locus Color Palette, no change, because too much effort for too little (no) gain.

In document: Evolution, no revolution, by (simple) improvement suggestions.

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For interest and comparison, our local government weather service has a new rain radar colour palette clearly designed for distinct (not graded) colors. I think it works quite well. It was quite unreadable on TV weather but now rain intensity is very clear. Only missing green color in middle for ~0% slope.


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http://www.bom.gov.au/australia/meteye/?lat=-43&lon=147.1&url=/tas/grove/&name=Grove

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Hi guys,

after two days of work, I finally completely rewrote system for setup of styles for a tracks. Main reason for that change was current idea. So new system is a lot more flexible for me and allows future improvements if needed.

As a first step ( and maybe even last ), I've added option to setup minimal and maximal value for "slope" and "altitude" coloring mode.

So in next Beta ...