Electronic maps are wonderful things! No more folding, ripping or replacing.
However, one thing that is eroded ever so slightly with electronic mapping is the sense of map scale; owing to the fact that it can be constantly panned and zoomed through multiple map types. On a paper map, only one map at a time and all remains fixed.
How do we make up for this in a constantly adjustable digital world? Easy. Have you ever been flying along and want to know exactly how far that town/mountain/lake/airport/landmark is away?
Enter the digital ruler.
Simply place two fingers slightly spread apart (as if you were going to zoom out, but don’t) on to the map and hold for a second or two.
Between and slightly above your fingers, the ruler should appear. It doesn’t even have to be perfectly aligned with the objects you wish to measure at this time…
Once it’s visible, while keeping your two fingers on the screen you can then spread/contract/twist/drag to align it with your desired measurement.
Once the ruler is satisfactorily aligned, simply remove your fingers from the screen and the ruler will remain in place. You can even continue to pan around the map with one finger and the ruler will stay in the assigned position relative to the map.
The ruler displays the great circle distance between the end points, plus a magnetic bearing. Why is Great Circle distance important? It’s not a big deal for short distances, but for measuring larger ones it makes for a much more accurate measurement… This is why it looks bent over a long distance!
To clear the ruler, you can repeat the process and create a brand new ruler somewhere else, or simply zoom the map slightly. The moment the map is zoomed in or out, the current ruler is cleared.
You’re flying along and you’ve suddenly got a passenger feeling ill? Want to measure the closest suitable airport distances/bearings before committing to a diversion? Seen an AvPlan Live traffic target appeared on the map nearby and you’d like to know how far away it is? Now you know how to – just some of it’s many uses!