Our New (Experimental!) Feature

Hello Atlas Obscura Community!

We’ve just launched an experimental search feature on Atlas Obscura, and we’d like for you all to be the first to try it out. It’s a new way to search for all of the AO places located between two points. Take it for a spin, here.

We have all sorts of ideas for the next version of this tool, but first we want to hear from you. So tell us what you think in the comments below. Suggest improvements, let us know how you think you might put it to use, or just give us your reactions. Please use the like button to support any feedback already posted.

We can’t wait to hear what you think!

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I just tried it out on a few routes I’ll be taking soon in Southern Brazil. It seems to be an excellent feature , I’ll try it out when I’m there and let you guys know how it works out in the field.

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I’m sitting in extreme traffic on the road while my husband is driving - literally, it’s a parking lot due to a crash that shut down both sides of the highway - so I tried the feature and it looks very promising.


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Thanks for giving it a try, @AnyaPH! When you have a moment, I’d love to hear if it was actually useful to you while in the midst of a long drive. Or if it was useless, for that matter!

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I totally LOVE this feature. I guarantee you I will use this on my next road trip.

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Love it. This will be exceptionally handy.

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To begin I tried ‘Manchester’ to ‘Liverpool’ and it took me all the way across the Atlantic… :laughing:

Trying something different ‘Manchester’ to ‘London’ threw up the kind of results I was looking for! ‘Trastevere, Rome’ and ‘San Giovanni, Rome’ proved that it works within cities as well. :slightly_smiling_face:

In total, my first thoughts are that this is a nifty feature that would come in useful. I’m guessing that with a bit more calibration (maybe autosuggestions, so cross-county trips don’t become transcontinental oddysseys!) it’ll become an indispensable tool!

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Thanks for testing out the tool! This feedback is certainly most welcomed and helpful. :fist:

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Thanks all for testing and trying out this new feature! All feedback on how the experience can be improved is certainly welcomed.

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I tested the function just now, although we couldn’t really go as it was too far out of the way. It worked perfectly well and here are some screenshots. I picked Bridge Street Bridge in Seneca Falls, New York since I love the old film “It’s A Wonderful Life” (Jimmy Stewart!). I think it’s great, in fact I’ve bookmarked it - now the next step is to make it an app…

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This is legit cool. I just tested it out mapping a crazy boring drive from Bloomington, Illinois to London, Ontario. I couldn’t believe how many things are along that path. Zooming in showed even more. The links and directions worked seamlessly. This should be made a prominent feature on the home page. I instantly thought of at least a handful of people who aren’t AO people but would become one if they used this.

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An app. The dream of us all.

Please do! In the meantime, I’d be interested to hear what you think might be a convenient way to save a subset of places for you to consult later when you are embarking on the trip.

Also, if you can think of any ways to reduce the friction between using this tool and planning actual (car, walking, train, bus, boat) travel routes, I’m quite interested in that.

Super cool.

I’d like to see the ability to specify the size of the box. Looks like a fixed ratio now, right?
Observation: for me, at least, a few times I loaded it I had to reload to get the map layer to render (desktop). Meh, not a deal breaker, of course.

Maybe I’m missing something so I apologize in advance. What’s the possibility of getting your DB into a G map to render it in the Maps app? I can’t imagine your DB is small enough to fit into a regular Drive account… maybe even a G Suite account would be too small. /nerd stuff

Thanks to all the crew that built this.

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To clarify , do you mean a sort of “lists” function that would be similar to the existing one but that would produce an itinerary based on realistic proximity and offer possible travel routes etc?

I think there will definitely be a bit of friction but I think this would be less related to the effectiveness of the tool and more related to sort of Brazil typical travel and infastructure problems.

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Wow, this is a cool feature! I had a lot of fun playing with it and eager to use this for upcoming trips. :slight_smile:

As far as feedback goes, I expected an auto-dropdown of places that would start once I started typing, since I’m used to that elsewhere. I experimented with different spellings or similar place names to see what would happen, and here are my observations:

– Misspellings still take me to the right place – I input Edmund, OK to Tuscon, AZ and the correct Edmond and Tucson came up
– Like names, on the other hands, have some issues – inputting Georgia to England gave me Georgia the State, instead of Georgia the country. It’s not as bad with city names, like in the case of Paris, France vs. Paris, Texas.

So I can tell there is an underlying authority control going on with the spellings, but it’s not obvious to me how users would differentiate similarly named places without some sort of prompter or even just instruction on how to input the location name.

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Thank you for this road trip present! I like how you can click “Search this Map” for more results, although I expected an actual search box to pop up for me to type in the first time I clicked that. I punched in some of my last trips and can see how this tool would have accomplished a lot of searching I did in a single search. Being able to add places to a List from this search view is very convenient.

In areas with an overwhelming number of results (and imagining some sparser areas will have more results in the future :smiley: ), e.g. when you’re crossing some big cities, it would be helpful to be able to narrow down the results either by manipulating the result area or the categories/labels that generate results.

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