Two useful and cheap iPhone apps allow us to measure distance on a map. They are DistMeasure and Distance. With Distance, you use regular road maps and trace your path out with your finger. So, you can follow the curvature of a road. The distance is given in miles and kilometers at the top of the screen. The app couldn't be simpler. The biggest drawback is that you can only trace what is on the current screen. You can't scroll the screen, continuing the path you want to trace. You can start with more area on the screen, but that leads to a loss in accuracy. The trace you use with your finger tip is quite wide.
DistMeasure is truly cool. You have an actual aerial map with road names superimposed. You touch the screen to drop a marker. Successive markers are joined by straight paths. This means that you have to drop more markers, but that is just an inconvenience. You can scroll the screen as you drop the markers. There is a simple distance tool and an area tool. Both work as described.
These two apps are simple and functional. I give them high marks, but if I had to choose one of them, it would be DistMeasure. It partly reflects my preference for apps that don't try to serve every purpose and desire, leading to unwanted complexity. Call it my advancing age, if you will, but I don't want to be constantly deposited in some obscure feature because I swiped the wrong way or touched some area of the screen accidentally. I don't need a constantly changing user interface. So, these simple apps satisfy my simple mind by doing what I want.
Lots more to come.
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder and Executive Director
Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest