Android App for Turn by Turn navigation of own route?

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bikes4two
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Android App for Turn by Turn navigation of own route?

Postby bikes4two » 23 Sep 2015, 2:21pm

> Now that I have an Android phone (Elephone P7000) that doesn't struggle at all to keep running all day with the GPS running (but no screen - yet to be tested with screen on), I'm wondering if there is an android app out there that takes your own tailored route and gives you turn by turn instructions not only on the screen but with spoken responses (or other audible signals) too.
> If the audio/audible signals were good enough to navigate by without a screen to look at, then I'd try a Bluetooth ear piece and not bother with the screen (so no need to look for a handlebar mount and waterproof case).
> I'm sure such functionality exists in proprietary devices such as those by Garmin, but I'm specifically looking for a phone to provide this function.
> Google maps provides similar functionality but of course only gives you a route from where you currently are, to your destination, on a route of its own choosing (rather than one created by oneself).

Anyone seen/tried such a thing from the Android Play store or other app provider?
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al_yrpal
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Re: Android App for Turn by Turn navigation of own route?

Postby al_yrpal » 23 Sep 2015, 2:31pm

OSMand does it. I use cycle.travel for the route and transfer the .gpx and pick it up in OSMand, and it gives voice turn by turn directions.

Al
Touring on a bicycle is a great way to explore and appreciate the countryside and towns you pass through. What do you do to make a difference?

stewartpratt
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Re: Android App for Turn by Turn navigation of own route?

Postby stewartpratt » 23 Sep 2015, 3:40pm

RideWithGPS will do this and more. You need to pay for a "Basic" account to enable all the features you want, but at $50 a year it's quite good given that you also get a pile of useful additional features on the website. It's the best route planning tool I've used by some margin.

freeflow
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Re: Android App for Turn by Turn navigation of own route?

Postby freeflow » 23 Sep 2015, 6:02pm

+1 for osmand. I run it in the background with ipbike as the foreground app. Same gpx can be used in both apps. Osmand can be a bit naggy.

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bikes4two
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Re: Android App for Turn by Turn navigation of own route?

Postby bikes4two » 26 Sep 2015, 12:33pm

> Thanks to all for your comments - I've installed the OSMand free version to give it a test run
> My initial observations are that the voice prompts would really need to be used along with looking at the map display and that they are not as 'instructive' as say, those that you get from a dedicated car satnav (this is a key function as I was hoping to keep the smartphone in a pocket and to be guided just by the audio instructions - maybe I'm asking too much of the technology?)
> In the one short run I've done with the smartphone running a OSMand track for navigation, the audio prompts have send turn left when the road simply bears around a bend in the road, and in most cases doesn't seem to know about roundabouts and thus doesn't instruct you which exit to aim for. I realise that both these characteristics may be down to the map-set I'm using, so I need to (a) explore OSMand more fully and (b) try different map-sets

Any observations around or related to these points?
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CSanger
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Re: Android App for Turn by Turn navigation of own route?

Postby CSanger » 29 Sep 2015, 6:51am

I have tried Osmand and a Bluetooth headset quite successfully.

Wrt to car satnav functionality, TomTom is available for Android at minimal cost and has a bicycle mode. I sometimes use this (in the car) to check a route.

AndyK
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Re: Android App for Turn by Turn navigation of own route?

Postby AndyK » 29 Sep 2015, 12:01pm

bikes4two wrote:> Thanks to all for your comments - I've installed the OSMand free version to give it a test run
> My initial observations are that the voice prompts would really need to be used along with looking at the map display and that they are not as 'instructive' as say, those that you get from a dedicated car satnav (this is a key function as I was hoping to keep the smartphone in a pocket and to be guided just by the audio instructions - maybe I'm asking too much of the technology?)
> In the one short run I've done with the smartphone running a OSMand track for navigation, the audio prompts have send turn left when the road simply bears around a bend in the road, and in most cases doesn't seem to know about roundabouts and thus doesn't instruct you which exit to aim for. I realise that both these characteristics may be down to the map-set I'm using, so I need to (a) explore OSMand more fully and (b) try different map-sets

Any observations around or related to these points?


Yes, I think you are expecting too much from the current technology - or to be precise, the current set of data that these apps are working from.

Behind the maps you see on the screen there is a database which records the road network, including the connections between roads. While there are many different online maps, there's only a handful of those underlying databases. OsMand and many other maps and route planners use the crowd-sourced OpenStreetMap database; Google has its own network data (though in the UK I think it draws on the Ordnance Survey's database, which is available at a price).

What's missing in all these databases is any information about the relative priorities of the roads at a given junction - in other words, which road is the "main" road and which road has "Stop" or "Give Way" signs at the junction. Route-planning software can sometimes take a guess at the priorities based on road category - for instance it may assume that where an A road crosses a B road, the A road will have priority, and maybe 19 times out of 20 it'll be correct. But out on country lanes, often it has no idea. In the network database, all those unclassified lanes have equal priority and the software simply doesn't know what road markings the local highway authority has chosen to paint at the junction.

Why does this matter? Take this example of a journey through two road junctions.

junction-A.png
(1) How it appears on the map: country roads connecting, no indication of which is "main" and which is "minor". The green arrows show the route you want to cycle along.


junction-B.png
(2) How the software sees it, based on the road network database: a series of lines with interconnecting "nodes". It has no information about which is the primary road at a given node.


junction-c.png
(3) First real-life example: What if the highway authority has painted give-way lines like this?
You could describe the route simply as "Take the second right."
If you wanted to be really helpful, you might say, "Follow the road round a right-hand bend, then shortly afterwards, take the second of two right turns close together."


junction-d.png
(4) Second real-life example: What if the give-way lines have been painted like this?
You might say, "Take the first right, then go straight across at the crossroads."


So, the way you give route directions is very dependent on the priorities at the junctions, and the route planning apps are generally taking wild guesses at this.

Recently I've been using RideWithGPS a lot. What I like about it is that when you plot a route, RideWithGPS generates turn-by-turn instructions which you can then edit manually. You can even insert your own instructions, or remove instructions that RideWithGPS has inserted. That's not much help if you're planning a route through unfamiliar territory, but if you're plotting a route that you know well, and you want to give it to others to follow, it can be very useful indeed. You can even insert helpful comments like "Turn right just after the Wheatsheaf pub".

If you're patient enough, you can even do the same thing in unfamiliar territory by viewing each junction on Google Streetview and adjusting the instructions accordingly (though I find this gives a weird sense of déja vu when I actually go out and do the ride!).

It's worth noting that while the network database contains the names of streets and roads, it contains no information about the direction signs you'll see at a junction (except for junctions on motorways and some trunk roads). That's why the automatic turn-by-turn instructions are reduced to telling you the name of the lane you're turning into, something that's rarely of any help on country lanes where street signs are few and far between. So you get instructions like "Turn right into Cox's Lane" rather than the much more useful "Turn right, signposted to Glastonbury".

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Re: Android App for Turn by Turn navigation of own route?

Postby mjr » 29 Sep 2015, 7:48pm

AndyK wrote:What's missing in all these databases is any information about the relative priorities of the roads at a given junction - in other words, which road is the "main" road and which road has "Stop" or "Give Way" signs at the junction.

There's no theoretical reason for it being missing from OSM, as it exists in the documentation, currently as http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Tag:highway%3Dstop (and the similar highway=give_way node) but there are changes proposed. There is a practical reason in that it's missing because people haven't tagged all the junctions yet. Get an account and help out, especially where heuristics fail and cycle.travel or OSMand tell you odd things.
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Re: Android App for Turn by Turn navigation of own route?

Postby francovendee » 30 Sep 2015, 8:28am

I agree with AndyK about difficulties to describe a route and I generally run my Osmand with the screen set to come on only when a direction is given. It cuts down on battery usage but isn't foolproof.
This way I can see the way to take rather than go by the voice prompts.

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Re: Android App for Turn by Turn navigation of own route?

Postby al_yrpal » 30 Sep 2015, 9:35am

francovendee wrote:I agree with AndyK about difficulties to describe a route and I generally run my Osmand with the screen set to come on only when a direction is given. It cuts down on battery usage but isn't foolproof.
This way I can see the way to take rather than go by the voice prompts.

Presumably you then have to set the screen to turn off automatically somehow?

My son has just purchased this. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Vkworld-VK6050S ... rds=Vk6050. Which has a massive battery but is rather to big to fit in your pocket. I am wondering whether to buy one of these or one of the new Motorola G 3rd generation which is now waterproof and smaller?

Al
Touring on a bicycle is a great way to explore and appreciate the countryside and towns you pass through. What do you do to make a difference?

stewartpratt
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Re: Android App for Turn by Turn navigation of own route?

Postby stewartpratt » 30 Sep 2015, 10:43am

6050mAh is quite something, though I wonder how realistic that is. Can you let us know how it fares in real world use?

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Re: Android App for Turn by Turn navigation of own route?

Postby al_yrpal » 30 Sep 2015, 11:21am

stewartpratt wrote:6050mAh is quite something, though I wonder how realistic that is. Can you let us know how it fares in real world use?


My son has had it running without charge for over a week so far but what I am interested in is when its acting as a GPS? My dilemma is I'll have to buy one to find out?

Al
Touring on a bicycle is a great way to explore and appreciate the countryside and towns you pass through. What do you do to make a difference?

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Re: Android App for Turn by Turn navigation of own route?

Postby AndyK » 30 Sep 2015, 6:05pm

mjr wrote:
AndyK wrote:What's missing in all these databases is any information about the relative priorities of the roads at a given junction - in other words, which road is the "main" road and which road has "Stop" or "Give Way" signs at the junction.

There's no theoretical reason for it being missing from OSM, as it exists in the documentation, currently as http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Tag:highway%3Dstop (and the similar highway=give_way node) but there are changes proposed. There is a practical reason in that it's missing because people haven't tagged all the junctions yet. Get an account and help out, especially where heuristics fail and cycle.travel or OSMand tell you odd things.

I have contributed a fair bit to OSM, but I'm not about to start a single-handed effort to tag all the road junctions! Ideally each highway authority woulkd release this info as open data, but I'm dubious about whether they actually retain it in a suitably organised way. Certainbly the data didn't exist in the GIS at the council I used to work for.

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Re: Android App for Turn by Turn navigation of own route?

Postby AndyK » 30 Sep 2015, 6:15pm

al_yrpal wrote:
stewartpratt wrote:6050mAh is quite something, though I wonder how realistic that is. Can you let us know how it fares in real world use?


My son has had it running without charge for over a week so far but what I am interested in is when its acting as a GPS? My dilemma is I'll have to buy one to find out?

Al


Recently I've been using an Evolveo Strongphone D2 Mini. Android 4.4 3600mAh battery, smallish screen, chunky and arguably underpowered, but it works a treat for navigation. I've had it on the handlebars with the display continuously on, but mobile data and wifi off, for an entire day's riding (8 hours or so). And at about £127, it costs a LOT less than a fancy high-end Garmin.

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Re: Android App for Turn by Turn navigation of own route?

Postby francovendee » 1 Oct 2015, 10:22pm

al_yrpal wrote:
francovendee wrote:I agree with AndyK about difficulties to describe a route and I generally run my Osmand with the screen set to come on only when a direction is given. It cuts down on battery usage but isn't foolproof.
This way I can see the way to take rather than go by the voice prompts.

Presumably you then have to set the screen to turn off automatically somehow?

Al

I just went to 'Navigation' then selected 'turn screen on (if screen is off)' then selected 30 secs.
On starting a route the display stays on for about 2 or 3 minutes and then turns off until a new direction is given.