The Chainlink

Hey guys,

Please share your favorite map and route sites and tools you currently use.   I know there are former discussions, but technology changes so fast, I wanted to start a new discussion.

This is research for the new website.

Thanks! 

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For multiday rides or when organizing group rides, I use paper maps or Google maps to get a general route. I refine it and enter it into ridewithgps to produce maps and/or cue sheets.

When planning multiday rides I find Google maps especially helpful because it lets me identify services, motels, and such, at 15/20 mi intervals along the general route.  That way I can change riding distances any time without having to do additional research.  On the trip I carry a backpacking GPS (Garmin eTrex Vista HCx) to find out where I really am when the road names on the signs don't match the road names on the maps.

I don't navigate with it, it's a fun tool but in Chicago or even elsewhere I just look up the address and do the math on how far it is and the direction.

I tried using the navigation part a while back doing deliveries but found it wouldn't refresh as quickly as I was riding and I kept heading in the direction I needed to go then would look at it again a few minutes later and had actually passed it!?

 

I haven't taken any bike trips long enough to require a nav app.

For route planning I use gmap-pedometer.com (usually on a PC, it's difficult to use on a phone, but the browser version works on a tablet). It's based on Google Maps; not sure what the APIs are but there is an auxiliary site to download route data in a format suitable for some GPS devices.

I second Larry's comment. We learned the hard way riding from Koblenz to Trier, Germany, that a detailed local map on paper is a necessity. (The locals tried very hard to help us find the trail along the Moselle after a construction closure, but the people we could stop were not bicyclists, spoke little English -- almost everyone did except for that one day -- and while they tried very hard to help, were unable.

ON massup.us I keep a comprehensive page of links to other similar and related systems, including everything that's been mentioned before here and much more, including a little blurb for each.
Go see.  I'm OK with you harvesting / copying with a dash of credit.

http://massup.us/others

I really like that massup.us, I'll have to check that out on my next ride.

Still can't remember the website I used several times before to build my maps, it was a Swedish guy I believe that made it, soooo nice.


Andronymous said:

ON massup.us I keep a comprehensive page of links to other similar and related systems, including everything that's been mentioned before here and much more, including a little blurb for each.
Go see.  I'm OK with you harvesting / copying with a dash of credit.

http://massup.us/others

It all depends upon what I am trying to accomplish. If I am simply checking out what route I want to use to get to a particular destination, I use Google Maps, although I will generally lie to it and assure the poor thing that I will be walking there, then verify that it isn't sending me the wrong way up any one-way streets. My experiences with the bike routing are that it frequently takes me well out of my way in order to maximize the amount of bike trail that it uses. Not too bad IN the city, but if you are using it in the suburbs it can add 30-50% to the distance. 

If I am creating a route for a longer trip that I will want to consult along the way, I go to www.endomondo.com and use their route creation. IT is very good, especially since it allows you to de-select the Snap to Road feature at any time to draw the way it really is instead of the way they think it should go, then go back to Snap to Road to continue the route. I can run the free app on my iPhone or Android and monitor it as I ride or check it when needed. I can save the route as public and send links to it for any of my friends to see it with their free Endomondo login. I have used it to re-create the route from Lorie's Lakeside Century, etc.

If I want to create a map that I can print out or send as a jpg for my local bike shop rides, I still create it with Endomondo (BTW, you can use the Endo app to generate a route while riding and save it as a map, too), but they do not have a full-screen option, so I use their Export to GPX function, then import that into my www.RideWith GPS.com account and use screen capture(s) to snag it and use the graphic editor of choice to tweak it, label it, or whatever. 

Another nice feature of Endomondo's map creation is that it shows me the cumulative mileage to that point as I create the route (I sure wish I could go back to it and click a point on the route to do this, too!). This lets me create a sheet of route instructions with odometer readings as I generate the map. I have gone through with a freshly-calibrated Sigma Sport and verified the numbers; they are so close it is scary. 

I am attaching a map I just did for the Bike Palatine Club's CycleFest ride on August 23. I created it as described above, using PhotoImpact to then add street names, arrows, blue and green lines ofr the shorter routes, etc.

Attachments:

Going to dig this up, does anyone know how to load a map into the Google Map app and then use the "OK Map" feature to save the visible map in the cache to access it when not withing range of a mobile network or wifi?  

I have a KML file I created but it only opens in Google Earth and I can't save it.....really frustrated with Google right now.  This USED to be easy.....

I had to dig a bit too, but on Android (on Google Maps version 8.2.0, at least), slide out the menu from the left side of the screen, then on the bottom, select "Tips and Tricks". (On my Moto X, I had to scroll the menu to reveal that option.) The first tip talks about offline maps.

They say you have to search for a location to get the info bar at the bottom of the screen, which presents the Save Map option, but you can also do it by dropping a pin (long touch on the map at the point you want) and then touching the dropped pin to pull up the info bar.

After that, it becomes a game of zooming the map to save the section you want - but there are limits to how much you can save at a time. If the area of interest is larger than that, drop more pins along your intended route, and save overlapping sections of map.

A more detailed discussion of offline google maps can be found here.

I use the mapping sites a bit differently than most.  I generally ride and find my own way, because none of the sites will differentiate between an interesting road and a boring one, and the criteria may change from one day to the next anyway. 

I use mapmyride and ridewgps pretty much interchangeably to map rides after I've ridden them.  I will also use them to map a ride for someone else based on what sort of ride they want to do.  Most of the pertinent information (hills, surface, traffic, etc.) for this has to come out of my head. 

The next step for these sites will be when you can enter your preferences into the route selection, beyond "cycling", "driving", and "walking".  None of the sites I've used are very useful for planning the best route - meaning the route that takes into consideration all the factors that make for an enjoyable ride.  In the future we may be able to enter a preference value for a whole range of characteristics like: "scenic", "smooth", "gravel", "wooded", "lowest mileage", "lowest traffic", etc.  I think it's a long way off though.  I'd be happy if I could just find up to date information on road surface and construction.  

Yeah I can get there, but I made a map on my computer but my app won't recognize it and when I put markers in it does it's own thing with directions and not what I built.  I am going to use ridewithgps to make the map and load it into Cue Sheets.  Not what I wanted but it will work.

Jonathan Quist said:

I had to dig a bit too, but on Android (on Google Maps version 8.2.0, at least), slide out the menu from the left side of the screen, then on the bottom, select "Tips and Tricks". (On my Moto X, I had to scroll the menu to reveal that option.) The first tip talks about offline maps.

They say you have to search for a location to get the info bar at the bottom of the screen, which presents the Save Map option, but you can also do it by dropping a pin (long touch on the map at the point you want) and then touching the dropped pin to pull up the info bar.

After that, it becomes a game of zooming the map to save the section you want - but there are limits to how much you can save at a time. If the area of interest is larger than that, drop more pins along your intended route, and save overlapping sections of map.

A more detailed discussion of offline google maps can be found here.

You might also want to try Endomondo.com. Route creation is part of their free membership and works quite well. The free app follows the routes very well, although I don't think they annoy you with turning instructions, but I might just have that turned off. I generally leave the phone off unless I am in doubt as to where the next turn is. Endomondo also can export the route as a gpx file which is easy to import into RidewithGPS.com. I am especially fond of the fact that on the occasional route point where Endomondo seems to expect you to jump off the middle of the viaduct, you can opt to disable the Snap to Route feature until you are back to things they recognize; generally very short gaps like getting from Dundee Rd to Northwest Highway on the edge of Palatine.

Hmmm, I have an endomondo account too, just haven't used it because most of the guys I ride with are on Strava so I have been using that.  I might give that a try.

David Lieb said:

You might also want to try Endomondo.com. Route creation is part of their free membership and works quite well. The free app follows the routes very well, although I don't think they annoy you with turning instructions, but I might just have that turned off. I generally leave the phone off unless I am in doubt as to where the next turn is. Endomondo also can export the route as a gpx file which is easy to import into RidewithGPS.com. I am especially fond of the fact that on the occasional route point where Endomondo seems to expect you to jump off the middle of the viaduct, you can opt to disable the Snap to Route feature until you are back to things they recognize; generally very short gaps like getting from Dundee Rd to Northwest Highway on the edge of Palatine.

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