Area Place: footprint or fence line?

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Re: Area Place: footprint or fence line?

Postby AlanOfTheBerg » Wed Apr 30, 2014 10:12 pm

I prefer, generally, simplified building outlines. Fence line usually will include parking lot areas, which, soon-ish, we'll be having to map separately anyway as we get the "recommended parking for Places" feature and more. Building outlines will be more useful to drivers in coming app versions which depict places much more precisely than they do now, similar to livemap.

A large hospital complex like OHSU in Portland would be a massive large blob on the map if mapped fence line, and then other area or point places for individual buildings, clinics and offices is just too much clutter. I think Waze needs to be more precise than general fence line area places. The numbers of Places we are adding to the map makes it necessary to be more precise and granular and I feel that a blanket rule on fence line area places doesn't fit the future plan.
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Re: Area Place: footprint or fence line?

Postby AlanOfTheBerg » Thu May 01, 2014 2:24 am

jdeyoung wrote:The primary logic in my mind for simplified areas (fence line) has more to do reducing the number of nodes to store for the area.

Note that I wrote "simplified outlines" which means we're not google-micro-mapping to foundation nuances. Simple, fairly blocky, rectangular in general. There's room for some detail, but generally simplified over reality.
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Area Place: footprint or fence line?

Postby DwarfLord » Wed Apr 30, 2014 3:46 pm

This is an effort to determine consensus, hopefully global (don't :lol:), on if and when to use the Area Place to delineate a building outline/footprint as opposed to the property or complex on which the building stands (the "fence line").

Before Places, the US de facto Landmark guidance did not support the mapping of building footprints. It used the words "mapped at the fence line" for all larger complexes that might include both parking and one or more buildings.

Meanwhile some other countries were more flexible about landmarking building footprints and parking separately. In the UK and Europe, especially, it is more likely that parking at large complexes is public and general-purpose; this no doubt played a role in that convention.

With the advent of Places, it is no longer necessary to create multiple landmarks in a complex to identify multiple functions, because a single Area Place can support as many categories as necessary. Meanwhile, Point Places allow marking of specific destinations within an Area Place. This change in functionality suggests to me that granting an Area Place to an individual building's footprint, separate from its parking and from neighboring buildings in the complex, no longer has any purpose besides the cosmetic utility of displaying building outlines in the client (for some visually significant structures that are not surrounded by acres of parking that might still be very nice).

However, the current worldwide Places wiki includes a guidance figure depicting a mall landmarked to its building footprint. So I am wondering if global consensus is in fact going the opposite direction, towards increased use of building-footprint Area Places. The guidance is live and editors are referring to it as an example, but more than one editor has noticed that the figure represents a departure from past US guidance.

The new capabilities of Places lead me to favor the "fence line" approach to Area Places in nearly all cases. But either way it would be extremely helpful to have clarity of consensus!
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Re: Area Place: footprint or fence line?

Postby DwarfLord » Thu May 01, 2014 12:48 am

Thanks Alan. There is a lot of information in your post regarding what's coming that's news to me. Probably there is a great deal more that can't be discussed here.

It's not obvious to me that mapping every building outline in a large complex will reduce clutter compared with mapping a region outline with roads and having POI marks in it. The question also comes up of which buildings deserve footprint outlines and which buildings don't. Perhaps they all do, and we will eventually be mapping every building in downtown areas et cetera? This would have seemed farfetched to me just a few months ago...In any event I am now even more lost than I was before.
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Re: Area Place: footprint or fence line?

Postby DwarfLord » Thu May 01, 2014 12:37 pm

From abstract towards literal, from spare towards detailed, this is a tectonic shift in the Waze meme...

A side-effect of choosing footprints instead of fence lines is loss of identification at reduced magnification. For example, in Alan's example of the OHSU hospital complex: if I zoom out a few steps it becomes invisible. Live Map shows me Lincoln High School and West Sylvan Middle School, both done to the fence line, but massive OHSU is an unlabeled scattering of tiny red dots. Is that the direction we're going for university campuses and private installations as well?

Likewise, what about shopping malls consisting of many smaller buildings, for example, the Camino Real Marketplace. Does each building get its own small Area Place instead of the overall mall complex getting its title? What do we name each building?

If we don't want to dispense with overall identities for campuses or other building clusters, does that mean we want footprint AND fenceline? Do we depend on the Waze app to render this well in the future even though it doesn't now?
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Re: Area Place: footprint or fence line?

Postby DwarfLord » Thu May 01, 2014 8:01 pm

Some parks are historic in nature with buildings that may be destinations. For example, Fort Worden State Park rents out former officers' homes for special events. So even with parks the conflict between footprint and fence line can arise.

To me the conversation is going in the direction of both fence line AND footprint, as sketch recommends. This is great as far as I am concerned, except of course that (1) the current version of WME makes it a bit awkward to handle Area Places within Area Places, and (2) the current version of the app doesn't display them as layered. Are these capabilities slated for improvement? Maybe nobody who knows is at liberty to say...

How about this proposal: AT MINIMUM, map certain types of destinations to the fence line with a single expanse that incorporates all structures, parking, and open space, as per long-standing convention. Then, should an editor wish to ADD specific structure outlines within the area, go for it, provided the structures satisfy some principles for an Area vs. a Point.

It's true that this means building outlines within a campus won't render nicely in the current versions of Live Map or the app. On the other hand, what if hordes of good editors, who read the wikis and the forums and try to do the right thing, get rid of those fence-line Places -- and then in a few months sketch's recommendation is supported and all those fence-line Places have to be put back? Angry natives... :evil: :x :cry: :o

If the feeling is that we shouldn't do anything that doesn't render well in the current version of the app regardless of what capabilities may be coming, then I would say we hold off sacrificing the fence line for the footprint and rely on Point Places to represent buildings. For now, anyway, until Waze's road map for overlapping Areas is revealed.
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Re: Area Place: footprint or fence line?

Postby DwarfLord » Sun May 04, 2014 4:58 pm

Based on this conversation, I'd like to add this to the == Area == section of the Places wiki. I've edited this since I first posted it, significant edits in boldface.

=== Extent ===

Some locations appropriate for an Area Place may involve one or more structures as well as open space, roads, and parking. In such cases, particularly if these components form a unified complex or campus with an overall identity, the boundaries of the Area Place should encompass the entire property (i.e., "mapped to the fence line"). This will ensure that clients render and label the Area Place with the correct significance when viewed with reduced zoom.

Other appropriate Area Places whose property lines are substantially identical with a structure may be drawn, if desired, to approximate the structure's outline or footprint.

=== Overlap ===

At present, the Waze client renders overlapping Area Places without distinct boundaries. As a result, users cannot visually distinguish Area Places located within other Area Places except for the text labels. This limits the utility of drawing Area Places subset within a larger Area Place, for example, creating building outlines within a large hospital campus.

Future versions of the Waze client may render overlapping Area Places more usefully. In anticipation of this, subset Area Places, such as building outlines, may be created within larger Area Places now. However, the recommended general approach for the present is to use Point Places for the components of a larger Area Place unless it is essential that the Place name be visible in the current version of the Waze client. If overlapping Area Places do render more usefully in the future, eligible Point Places may be converted to Area Places at that time.
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Re: Area Place: footprint or fence line?

Postby DwarfLord » Sun May 11, 2014 12:40 am

Since there have been no further concerns expressed, I've moved the text in my previous post (with minor wordsmithing) into the Places wiki.
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Re: Area Place: footprint or fence line?

Postby DwarfLord » Sun May 11, 2014 4:47 pm

ScottZane wrote:Having dealt with numerous URs that resulted from Waze routing drivers to roadway nearest (especially freeways) to the pin or area, I can see there being potential routing problems if editors use the fence-line approach. If an area place is surrounded on all 4 sides by roads, there is likelihood that Waze will route drivers to any one of the 4 roads (whichever one is the shortest drive for them), even if only one of those sides provides access.

(...)

In the interest of preventing potential routing issues related to "nearest roadway", I think the use of PLRs should be strongly encouraged so as to force Waze to route drivers to the point/area using the proper roads/driveways required to enter the location.

Curious, does this still happen even if the Stop Point for the Area Place has been located correctly?

A big problem going forward is probably going to be the default Stop Points on zillions of large Area Places being somewhere in the middle of a property rather than at the natural destination point. For example, a stop point in the middle of a massive park instead of on the visitor center, or on the golf course's 9th hole instead of on the club house.

If I understand how it's supposed to work, correct Stop-Point placement plus coordinated use of streets where necessary to get you there would address most routing issues.

The main objection to "fence line" mapping for which there isn't (currently) any good solution is that, when one is near or in the Area Place, it renders visually as a big undifferentiated colored expanse with text that floats around. The technical term for this effect appears to be "blob" :).

Well I sure don't like the blob effect either, but as the Waze rendering engine is going through massive changes to support Places, I really don't want to see us start a campaign to undo the long-standing fence-line practice before we have a concrete idea of where the Waze renderer is taking us.

(Edit: What if Waze HQ is using our maps to gauge how to program the new renderer for best results, while at the same time we are adjusting the maps so they look good with the old renderer? Now that's a scary thought.)
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Re: Area Place: footprint or fence line?

Postby DwarfLord » Mon May 12, 2014 2:09 pm

Thanks ScottZane and elp2tlh for the discussion, and I'm glad your perspectives align more or less with the new addition to the Places wiki!

In the case of a critical public destination subset within a large, significant property we are really stuck. We don't want a massive campus or facility to lose its identity or disappear entirely at reduced zoom; that affects a lot of drivers. But we don't want critical public destinations within it to be invisible at increased zoom; that could affect a few drivers with urgent need.

Another issue is that we don't want to change course without knowing our new heading. Longstanding editing tradition called for mapping most Area Places to the fence line and allowed nested Area Places in limited circumstances. Abandoning that tradition would lead to wholesale deletions or modifications of many Area Places. But making those changes doesn't seem wise to me when we still don't know how the app's next release will render. Particularly we don't know if Waze is considering more helpful rendering of nested Area Places. What a shame to go through the maps eliminating nested Area Places and then find ourselves wanting to put them back...

My feeling for now is, keep the big fence-line Area Places that orient the majority of drivers who see them "in the distance", and if critical destinations lie within them, use nested Area Places and be sure to set the Stop Points correctly. Non-critical destinations (the vast majority of destinations) can use Point Places. That's what I tried to support in the new bit of wiki guidance.
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