Timbuktu conjures up images of long camel caravans out on the edge of the sand-strewn Sahara — a remoteness so legendary that the ancient city is still a byword for the end of the earth.
We chose Timbuktu as the default starting location for TPE many years ago - mostly because of the childhood associations of wonder and mystery described in the article linked above. And practically because, in the absence of anything more specific, software needs default values.
Yes, we know - you're probably not planning a photo trip to Mali. So, how do you get to where you want?
Get me out of here
Here are some options:
Search - click the search button above the map and find a place name, address or coordinate
Current location - click this button to navigate to your device's current location (you'll need to provide permission when prompted)
Move the map pin - zoom and pan the map and then click the 'center red pin' button, or just drag and drop the map pin
Set a default location
Additionally, in Settings you can set a default location based on the primary map pin position:
The location is saved with your account profile. When set, the app will always open at this location unless you open it using a link (URL) that includes a different location (if we ignored those, then links would never work for some users...).
Why do I end up back here every time?
If you find the web app always opens at Timbuktu, it's almost certainly due to one of two things:
- Wrong bookmark: you're using a bookmark or shortcut to the site that includes the coordinates for Timbuktu in the URL. This can happen if you bookmark the site while the map shows Timbuktu. It can also be why the app always opens at a specific date.
Solution: create a new shortcut
- Private browsing: you're using the app via a Private Browsing or Incognito window, or your browser is configured to delete cookies at the end of each session or upon closing and you have no default location set.
Solution: adjust your browser settings as shown here and here. Alternatively, set a Default Location in Settings as described above.
What should I expect if things are working normally?
The expected behaviour for Photo Ephemeris Web is as follows:
- On your first ever visit to the site, the map will default to Timbuktu
- If you change the primary (red) pin position and map view, or the selected date/time, those changes are saved to your browser and restored the next time you visit the site
- If you open the site using a link that includes parameters for map pin position, map center and zoom, and/or date/time, it will open using those parameters, overriding any saved position from your last visit
https://app.photoephemeris.com - open to last used location + date/time, if available, otherwise Timbuktu at the current date/time
https://app.photoephemeris.com/?ll=40.014990,-105.270550¢er=40.0150,-105.2706&z=13 - open to Boulder, Colorado at the current/date time (I removed the 'dt=xxx' parameter from the URL)
https://app.photoephemeris.com/?ll=40.014990,-105.270550&dt=20210120113057-0700¢er=40.0150,-105.2706&z=13&spn=0.07,0.20 - open to Boulder, Colorado at 11:30am (moonrise) on Jan 20 2021