How to show an approximate location along a route on a map?

A pin on a map is a very precise thing, that is the impression it gives. To show that a location is approximate, we can put a circle around it since the error range is in 2D, and that is easily understandable.

I'd like to know how to show an approximate location along a 1D route. Let's say we want to show a taxi or delivery van arriving along a route, the way it's done is by having a pin in the shape of a vehicle moving along the route. Again, this gives a very precise indication of the location of the vehicle.

Let's say we'd like to show the user that the vehicle could be in an approximate location:

A-------=====----B

So the vehicle could be anywhere in the "=" region.

How would we show that in the most intuitive way? I haven't seen any examples of such UX before.

• Thanks for your contribution to UXSE. This is an interesting question. Can you explain why you want to design something like this? What is the specific use case where this will come in handy and more useful then a 2D or 3D way of displaying this information. Sep 22, 2018 at 23:51
• Ok so let's say you're waiting for a bus, but we don't track it via GPS to give you a accurate location, but rather we predict the position of the bus based on when it left the first base station. It may seem intuitive to simply add trackers but that's not possible in many developing countries. Imagine how frustrating it would be for the bus to appear to be there, but not in real life? Sep 24, 2018 at 10:45

I think you gave the answer in the question: Why not mark the part of the road with color, thick line, dotted line etc. or a combination of those. Connect the label/info to it with a line or arrow.

+———-———+
| Label |
+———-———+
/
A—-——[=====]——————B
• Adding a label to it is a very interesting idea! actually makes a huge difference. Why I didn't like adding a thicker route was that it doesnt give the impression of a vehicle, plus it has to move like a vehicle does.. that will look strange. people are used to a pin moving. Sep 24, 2018 at 10:50

You could show a radius, you can find this similar interaction on google maps when its loading the GPS.

• That's the circle I talked about in my question. But again this shows that there could be an error range in the 2D plane.. I'd like to show that there could be a range along a route.. more 1D. Sep 22, 2018 at 13:59
• How can you be certain there won't be error in the 2D plane? What if the vehicle takes a different path, e.g. from a diversion? Sep 23, 2018 at 6:48
• There would definitely be, but since there is a route for the bus to go in, we could simply snap it to the route. Sep 24, 2018 at 10:47