02/02/09

Truck Stop Reviews Added

We just hooked up a feature we've been testing in-house for awhile - the ability to leave reviews on truck stops that you've visited.

This new feature requires that you create a user account for the TruckMaster Fuel Finder™, so that we have some accountability built into the system, and keep spammers out as much as possible.

The basic operation of this system system is as follows:

  • A user can leave one "review" per truck stop, although he can update his review and leave new comments as often as desired.
  • A user representing the truck stop is allowed to offer a response to any reviews that are left for his truck stop. It's assumed that if a user leaves a poor review, the manager may want to respond with corrections that they have made to improve the situation, in an effort to coerce the reviewer to upgrade his review.
  • The average rating for the truck stop is the average of all of the reviews left by distinct users.

We've yet to allow you to see ratings anywhere except for on the individual truck stop pages, i.e. they do not show up in the Fuel Finder results area, the affiliation pages, or the state listings. We want to observe posting behavior a few days prior to "hooking up" this last portion, as we want to make sure that we have "responsible" posts and ratings being assigned. The ultimate plan entails allowing you to sort returned results by the truck stop rating just as you can CPG, distance from origin, etc.

Hopefully you find this new feature as exciting as we do, we look forward to your comments.

Greg Dodson
TruckMaster Fuel Finder™ Team Leader
TruckMaster Your Trucking Company

01/27/09

Permalink 09:19:49 pm, Categories: new features , Tags: map of truck stops, mapping

All Truck Stops Returned On Your Route Or Radius Are Now Displayed On A Map

Well, you've asked for it (numerous times), and now we've added it - when you run a route or radius from the TruckMaster Fuel Finder™, we now show you the resulting truck stops on a map. If you hover over an icon, a summary of that stop is displayed. Clicking on a stop gives you a link to access the detail page with amenities, etc.

There are quite a few changes that we'd already like to add to this new feature, and will over the next couple of months.

A couple mentionables:

  • Truck stop icons on the map could be changed, either by color or appearance, to indicate how they rate according to your sort criteria. For example, if you sort by CPG, the icons for the cheapest truck stops could be green, then yellow, and the worst red.
  • Truck stop icons on the map could be changed to indicate whether or not amenities you've specified were found.

We really like this new feature, and hope that you will as well. It's brand new, so we haven't had a chance to do in-depth testing on all of the different browser versions, but we do know that it works great on FireFox 3+, as well as Explorer 6 & 7. We'll be testing on other browsers as time permits.

Give us your thoughts on other things that we can do with the mapping feature!

Greg Dodson
President
TruckMaster Logistics Systems, Inc.
TruckMaster Your Trucking Company™

01/02/09

Permalink 06:53:00 pm, Categories: new features , Tags: affiliation pages, amenity score, driving directions

New Fuel Finder Features

I apologize, we've been a bit behind with our posts for new features, mainly because we've been busy developing the new features, then of course the holidays tend to cause some disruptions.

Amenity Score

The amenity filter has been replaced with an amenity scoring system, which I think will be more useful to our users. Rather than simply skipping truck stops that we haven't recorded with certain amenities, they now will get more credit for having them, the more the better.

Here's the gist of how it works. If you request a truck stop with "Entertainment" and "Showers", your requests will each be given 50% priority.

Since there are multiple possible amenities for the "Entertainment" category (such as TV Lounge, Video Games, etc), as there are with showers (Women's Showers, Private Showers, etc), the 50% points Entertainment gets will be split into a max score based on how many of the possible amenities they have. Clear as mud? Thought so. The result is that the truck stops with more of the desired amenity categories should be given a higher score. You can also sort the returned results by this score (with distance from origin as the secondary sort).
We'll likely be refining this over the coming weeks.

Accuracy Improvements

It is a continual battle to ensure that the coordinates we have are accurate for each truck stop, but I can say with great assurance that we've made huge gains in this area over the past couple weeks. Our goal is to be within feet of each truck stop, but this will take us awhile given the number of stops that we're currently tracking.

Affiliation Pages

You've probably noticed the affiliation pages that we added, you can now pull up and browse through all of the Flying J truck stops, or the Pilot truck stops, Petro truck stops, etc. We know that some people would rather manually browse than have the results returned to them through a form.

New Mom & Pop Stops

We added 716 smaller truck stops throughout the US. We are lacking amenity information for them at present, but will be diligently working to get it added as resources allow.

Driving Directions

We've implemented Google's direction API on the truck stop pages, so that you can request directions to a truck stop from where you currently are. This is pretty cool stuff, but unfortunately is more geared for cars than trucks at the moment, so will not always pick a route that you'll be wanting to use.

So as you can see, we've been pretty busy. Hopefully you enjoy some of these new features and improvements.

Greg Dodson
President
TruckMaster Logistics Systems, Inc
TruckMaster Your Trucking Company™

12/14/08

Permalink 11:31:00 pm, Categories: new features , Tags: map, roady's, truck stop state listings

Many Improvements Installed This Weekend

We added quite a few new features, and improvements to existing features, this weekend.

  • You can now hit "refresh" on the results page without them going away :)
  • We've added a description page for every truck stop in our database. When you click on a result truck stop link, you'll now be taken to this page. On this page you'll find a list of amenities, a map, as well as a link to the truck stop's web page.
  • The TruckMaster Fuel Finder™ runs much faster now than before, up to 3 times faster in fact.
  • Towards the bottom of the page, you'll find a list of states with hyperlinks. Clicking through will take you to a page with all of the truck stops in our database for that state
  • There is a new "Allow Missing CPG" option that, if checked, will also return truck stops that we have yet to get live fuel prices from. This is useful if you are looking for a truck stop with a certain amenity, and don't care so much if you see the fuel price
  • Roady's truck stops have been added, although we do not yet have fuel price data from them (coming soon)

Hopefully these new features will enhance your experience with the the TruckMaster Fuel Finder™ truck stop locator. As always, we welcome your feedback.

Greg Dodson
President
TruckMaster Logistics Systems, Inc.
TruckMaster Your Trucking Company™

11/30/08

Permalink 03:39:00 pm, Categories: proposed features , Tags: truck stop reviews

New Feature Possibility - Truck Stop Reviews

Here's an idea we've had several TruckMaster Fuel Finder Surveys mention, the ability to post and view reviews for truck stops.

The basic functionality would be as follows:

  • When your truck stop route is presented, next to the truck stop name you'd see a rating graphic for that truck stop. Ratings could be anywhere from 1-5, where 1 is the lowest rating.
  • You, as a user, could click on the rating graphic to open a window that would show you details on the truck stop, such as the average rating from all users that rated it, the comments that they have left about it, etc
  • You would have the ability to add your own rating and comments that others would see. We would also give you the ability to send us corrections for amenity information on that truck stop

We would need to build in some way for you to log in before you could post comments, in order to keep some sort of accountability in the system, and reduce bad intent / spammers.

Does this proposed feature seem valuable to you as a user?
Would you be willing to "sign up" (i.e. get a Fuel Finder User ID) in return for the ability to leave a review for a truck stop? This signup process would require entering a valid email address that you would have to confirm by clicking on a link (you've all seen those).

Greg Dodson
President
TruckMaster Logistics Systems, Inc.

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We use this blog to announce new or upcoming features to the TruckMaster Fuel Finder. Feel free to post your thoughts about the tool, or suggest a new feature that you feel would make a valuable addition.

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