Windows MAPS app testing
Ken in Regina
This is a continuation of the route testing that GoneNomad is going on the various products. He doesn't yet have Windows 10 and can't test the MAPS app on it. So I've agreed to do a bit for the cause.

I've used his three favorite routes, all starting at 1200 Main St. in Imperial, MO, USA.

First destination is: 1845 Lone Oak Dr, Paducah, KY (or Whitehaven Welcome Center).

Second destination is: 204 Largo Dr, Nashville, TN.

Third destination is: 1530 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL.

Each route is a simple A to B route with 1200 Main St in Imperial, MO, always the start point and one of the other three addresses as the destination. No intermediate points because we want to see what the default routing in each product does.

My apologies for the large image sizes that are going to force horizontal scrolling. I could do some compression on them but I didn't want to lose any of the detail. Let me know if it's a big problem and I'll see if I can reduce their size without taking out too much.

When Windows Maps app does the route calculation it typically calculates three or four alternatives for you to choose from. Here's what the first one to Paducah, KY, looks like:

As you can see, the first three alternatives have the same driving time but distances that vary by as much as 55km from the shortest to the longest of the three.

When the route to Nashville, TN, is calculated the first three alternatives have quite similar driving times but the distances again vary by over 50km. One of the alternatives does not go through Paducah, MO. Instead it wanders way south and west. Perhaps it's offered for those who like to take the long way 'round.

When the route to Miami Beach, FL, is calculated, we begin to really see something interesting about how these routing algorithms work. First, only one of the three alternatives offered goes through both Paducah and Nashville. The other two take paths west and south of them.

Although the path through Paducah and Nashville is listed as considerably shorter than the other two - 90km in one and 110km in the other - the other two have been calculated as quite a bit shorter driving times - 1 1/4hrs in one case and over 1 1/2hrs in the other.

So the question becomes, what is the detailed data in the map database telling them? What we can't see is the speed limit data or road closure data. And there may be other data in them that affects the calculation of driving time. Windows Maps even appears to have a Traffic feature if you're connected to the internet but there is no indication whether it is being used in the calculation of the alternatives. When I poked the Traffic icon on the upper bar with the Miami Beach, FL, destination selected, it dropped all but the alternative that had the quickest time on it from the display.

I went back to the Directions page and started that route from scratch to see what happens. The driving times were a little different this time. Is it possible that Maps is automatically factoring in information it's seeing from the traffic cameras along the way? I'm not sure how I would tell for sure.

What I do know from experience is that most of the routing algorithms will default to the Quickest Time. You normally have to force an override to get Shortest Distance, if the product even has that feature. I cannot find such an option anywhere in Windows Maps. But the way it offers alternative routes that clearly cover a variety of factors, I'm not sure it matters. It offers the driving distance for each alternative, as well as the driving time, so I can choose whichever one I wish.

Ken in Regina
In addition to calculating routes, Windows Maps is also a navigation app. Once you have selected a route you can have it navigate you to your destination. That assumes you have a GPS installed in or connected to your computer. I haven't tested this feature yet.

The other feature I haven't tested is how well it handles multi-stop routes.

And I think GoneNomad wants me to test whether it can accept routes or at least waypoints/POIs from other programs or online sites. Perhaps sometime this weekend.

Ken... thanks for posting this. That last default route in Windows Maps is a new one, exclusive to Windows maps it seems.

Bing.com/maps comes up with these three routes (which are fairly typical of some of the other map sites).
Bing's default is the default choice of several other map sites and Garmin (per Ken's other tests), and also appears to be one of the optional routes in the Win10 Maps app (above, it's the one where the gray route marker passes over "Belleville")

This is what happens when the route is forced (using a via point; adding it to the list as a stop added 5 minutes.) to go what I consider to be the preferred way (if not in an RV or big truck):

And finally, below is what happens when the route is simply stopped at the Whitehaven Welcome Center. Bing Maps maintained the same default routing for the first 160 miles of either trip (this one or to Miami). Although Bing didn't chose my preferred route (I-55 south) as default, it DOES have it as a second choice (my yellow colorization), and it also picked the correct last leg (Wickliffe to Paducah via KY286 instead of US60) on that route too.
For some reason, I'm thinking this didn't work this way the a few days ago, because I have been saying that only Google and S&T got this right? Hmmmmm...

UPDATE: Now that I've looked at Ken's route screen caps more closely,
I see that Win10Maps is offering the same default and same second choice route as Bing.com/maps for the trip to Paducah. But it offers another route as second choice for the longer trip to Nashville, bumping the original second choice route down to third place. At least it's still there.

That other route that loops way, way to the west (through Dyersburg) is nutso... not only is it way out of the way, it also has a looooong stretch that's not on an interstate highway either.

I'm wondering if some of these route calculations are influenced by traffic conditions that are inconsequential because even if you left now, those traffic jams would be long over by the time you got there. Could be that the algos allow traffic conditions to influence routing of long routes where when they shouldn't?

Based on all the traffic warnings on the map below, I think current traffic (that wouldn't actually be a factor hours later when you get there)
may be playing a part in some the seemingly unreasonable routing. Full size image

Attached Images
Ken in Regina
Originally Posted by GoneNomad
I'm wondering if this problem is replicable: Bing.com/maps repeatedly changed my intended destination (a Walmart in Nashville) to the nearest WalMart to the starting point.

Seriously, it would not let me chose that Nashville WalMart unless you enter only the address!
No problem in Maps. In fact it is quite smart about how it handles these searches. If you enter just "walmart supercenter, nashvill, tn" it will return a list of all the Walmarts in the Nashville area and show them with pins on the map.

If you enter "walmart supercenter, dickerson pike, nashville, tn" it returns only the four that are in that specific area.

If you enter the full street address you get just the one store with all its detailed information, like phone number, web site, and current operating hours.

You can check the results for the partial address search here:


Click on the picture that comes up to get a larger more detailed view.

Thanks for confirming that Win10Maps doesn't share the Bing.com.maps flaw I first discussed here.

Might want to post that after this post.

Thanks again for your help.

Looks like Win10Maps could end up being the long distance "Nav module" for S&T after all.
I'm sure they'll keep improving it, as long as MS feels Google has them under pressure
(something they never felt about the much smaller Delorme).

But googlemaps will probably own short distances & local search for some time to some.

Originally Posted by Ken in Regina
...I think GoneNomad wants me to test whether it can accept routes or at least waypoints/POIs from other programs or online sites. Perhaps sometime this weekend.

Yep, and thanks again!

If Win10Maps works the way the "Here WeGo" app works with the companion website (www.wego.here.com),
when logged into an account on both the website and the mobile app, places & collections saved on one show up on the other (i.e.: they are sync'd).

One problem with wego.here.com is, it allows routes to be saved too, but the mobile app cannot access them.
Originally Posted by Ken in Regina
...So the question becomes, what is the detailed data in the map database telling them?
...there may be other data in them that affects the calculation of driving time.
It occurred to me that it might not be implausible for a sophisticated routing algorithm to intentionally favor interstate highways more on longer trips.
That would roughly mirror some people's driving preferences.

That would be a possible explanation why some of the longer routes tend to avoid the same "shortcut" they take if a point that's less than half-way along the longer route is chosen as the destination.
Ken in Regina
Favoring roads that are easier to drive for longer trips makes sense. That's why we build freeways in the first place.

Also, as you mentioned in another thread, there's the issue of traffic and whether traffic problems farther down the route perhaps have an undue influence when we won't get there for hours, or even days. You saw that in an example with Bing maps online which seems to automatically include a traffic assessment.

Of course traffic won't be an issue with any product in offline mode, if it can be used that way.

Ken, when you get a chance, it would be useful to see if Win10Maps can find places & addresses the same as described above WITHOUT an internet connection, if the map for pertinent area has been saved locally.

Some others have pretty significant limitations on what can be done with no internet connection (I think the Here app will find addresses but not places by name?).

So if you save a Win10Maps map for your local area, can you find any POIs within that area:
...by address only (that probably does work)? But how about
...by name only?
...by name and address?
...by category (e.g.: fast food, gas station, grocery store)

It says you do. I'll test further once my region has downloaded.

Attached Images
I tried it on my Asus as it has a GPS chip. Works like a charm and searches are easy. It even listed the one in Duncan which closed years ago! Just choose it from the list and it highlights it with appropriate information.

Not that many amenities in the area but enough to test. And I like the 3D for routing! Of course it is wrong...Baden Powell doesn't go through to the highway. But its close! Maybe my map isn't updated on this device.

Attached Images
walmart.jpg   wdirections.jpg   baden.jpg  
That's great news, Ted! Thanks!
I like having the next turn directions at the top of the screen.
Most others do this, but CoPilot & S&T have them at the bottom.

It's looking more & more like Win10Maps could work well a more modern nav module for trips planned in S&T, and transferred to Win10Maps by simple copy&paste (no net connection required, unlike the 'send directions via email/text message' schemes).

Originally Posted by tcassidy
...Of course it is wrong...Baden Powell doesn't go through to the highway. But its close!
Maybe Bing maps uses the same default routing parameters for British Columbia as, say Alaska?
...optimized for high clearance 4x4s that don't always have to stay on paved roads?

One other thing you could check, if you have time:

As discussed in this post...
Bing.com/maps was the only one to find the actual exit
to the Whitehaven Welcome Center.

How well does Win10Maps do on this test?

1200 Main St, Imperial, MO 63052

Whitehaven Welcome Center
1845 Lone Oak Rd, Paducah, KY 42003

(Zoom into the destination to see the result)
Sounds like I would need to download MO and KY at least to one of my tablets. Maybe I'll have a chance tomorrow.

A partial screen capture.

Attached Images
Ken in Regina
I have been able to create a new collection in Windows Maps today. For reference purposes, this is not in the release version of Windows Maps. The release version does not have Collections. Going forward I will not bother to test in the release version. I am a Windows Insider. No big deal. It just means I'm a tester for new releases of Windows. So I have the very latest build of the next version of Windows (Insider Fast Ring versions) installed in a virtual machine.

The next version of Windows Maps that comes with it no longer has Favorites. It has My Places, like Bing Maps. Just like Bing Maps, the My Places tab has inside it a Favorites tab and a Collections tab. That's what I was testing yesterday when I said I could not create a new collection on either Bing Maps online or Windows Maps on the PC.

A new build of Windows 10 installed last night along with a new version of Windows Maps. I'm just beginning to test the new Windows Maps and this time I was able to create a new Collection. I put a couple of my Favorites into the new collection. Everything looks as it should.

I then went to Bing Maps online and took a look at My Places. All my Favorites are there, as well as in Windows Maps. And now the new Collection and its contents also show up on Bing Maps.

I see Terry tested the OFFLINE routing from Imperial, MO, to the Westhaven Welcome Center in Paducah, KY, in the release version of Windows Maps and the routing takes the correct exit to get to it. I will confirm that it still does that in the next version but I have to wait for MO and KY to download. I'll probably be tied up later this afternoon and tonight so I probably won't get to that test until tomorrow.

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