Since the introduction of the Explorer Score and Explorer Max Square there have been requests for some sort of metric to represent the maximum number of connected Explorer tiles. The recent improvement in the calculation of completed Explorer tiles sparked a very active discussion which resulted in the refinement of the concept and the creation of the Explorer Cluster. The Explorer Max Square provides a hard-core challenge but can be tricky for people who live in geographically challenging areas or have key tiles which are completely inaccessible. This is where the Explorer Cluster looks to provided a more level playing field.
What is a Cluster?
Your Max Explorer Cluster is the largest set of connecting, visited Explorer Tiles which each have their four immediate neighbouring tiles (above, below, left & right) also visited. In the above image, taken from my own Activities page, you can see all of the visited explorer tiles coloured in red & blue. The blue tiles are showing my Max Explorer Cluster. Each one of those blue tiles has a visited tile (i.e. red or blue) immediately above and to the side. As you can see near the top left corner, missing a single tile results in a hole of 5 tiles in the cluster. The idea is obviously to make the biggest cluster you can!
To view your own Explorer Cluster turn on the map in your Activities page and you’ll see the Explorer toggle and these three buttons at the bottom:
- Explorer checkbox turns the Explorer tiles, Max Square and Max Cluster on/off in the map.
- Max Square button – zooms to Max Square (turns on Explorer if not already on).
- Max Cluster button – zooms to Max Cluster (turns on Explorer if not already on).
- Explorer settings button – see below.
Summary page – Max Cluster Value and Leaderboard/Distribution
On your Summary page you will now see your Max Cluster value in your Activity Stats. Like all the other stats on that page if you change the top filters then it will update with the requested values.
Click the “Club and Overall Yearly Leaderboard” button at the top right of your Activity Stats and you’ll now find an “Explorer (max cluster)” option for the distributions and leaderboards with all the normal filters (year and activity type) and group choices (overall, the athletes you follow and by club). For the Explorer stats it is probably best to view by all years.
Earlier I mentioned the Explorer settings button that you find below the map on your Activities page, pressing that opens the above popup that allows you to choose all the colours used for the Explorer tiles, Max Square and Max Cluster both on this page and also in the Strava Route Builder when using the VeloViewer Chrome Extension. You can pick all of your preferred colours (and transparency) with separate options for satellite view map styles as you will probably want much lighter colours to show up on those sorts of maps.
If you don’t want to see the new max Cluster on your map then you can just configure the colour of the Cluster to match that for a normal visited tile.
A big thank you to everyone on the “Ride Every Tile” Strava group and Facebook for their comments and thoughts on this and a special thanks to Pete Bartlett for the effort he put in to prove the idea over on his blog – https://explorersquare.wordpress.com/