Cycle Travel question!

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
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Sweep
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Re: Cycle Travel question!

Postby Sweep » 17 Apr 2019, 10:30am

JeanM wrote:I need HELP please ! I'm soon going to the Netherlands and hope to save some offline routes on my Fairphone which is an Android. I want to do this to save battery power. I have found the site Cycle.travel and it looks good. So far I've had a go at saving a route, downloading GPX Viewer on my phone and then looked at the saved route. I can see just a turquoise blue route with the darker blue GPS point that does seem to be moving when I move. Can I see the map behind this blue route? Please can you reply to me in simple language as I get easily confused when dealing with new things on my phone. TIA.


You could use OSMand (search google android playstore) which is free OSMandplus which costs a modest amount and allows you to download as many maps as you want. All available offline.

You can then superimpose a gpx created on the wonderful cycletravel onto that - still all offline.
Sweep

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mjr
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Re: Cycle Travel question!

Postby mjr » 17 Apr 2019, 11:03am

JeanM wrote:So far I've had a go at saving a route, downloading GPX Viewer on my phone and then looked at the saved route. I can see just a turquoise blue route with the darker blue GPS point that does seem to be moving when I move. Can I see the map behind this blue route? Please can you reply to me in simple language as I get easily confused when dealing with new things on my phone. TIA.

I don't know what GPX Viewer you downloaded, so I can't tell.

OSMand can do the map display as mentioned. It's powerful (navigation with voice and/or screen prompts, offline drawing, tracking and full offline route creation is possible, but they're cruder routes than cycle.travel makes) but that means it's a bit of a heavy interface.

There aren't many good alternatives at the moment. OpenTopoMap Viewer is simple and OK if you just want to look at it or AAT Another Activity Tracker can save them as an overlay for a map (and the maps can be cached by looking at them when you're online - useful for offline but not quite as good as offline drawing) and record them. AAT has a more complicated interface but still much simpler than OSMand. I don't think those do sat nav like osmand, though.

I've just discovered that A Photo Manager offers to open GPX files which can be useful for finding photos taken along a route. I didn't know that it could do that. Not much use for navigation, though!
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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HobbesOnTour
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Re: Cycle Travel question!

Postby HobbesOnTour » 17 Apr 2019, 11:12am

JeanM wrote:I need HELP please ! I'm soon going to the Netherlands and hope to save some offline routes on my Fairphone which is an Android. I want to do this to save battery power. I have found the site Cycle.travel and it looks good. So far I've had a go at saving a route, downloading GPX Viewer on my phone and then looked at the saved route. I can see just a turquoise blue route with the darker blue GPS point that does seem to be moving when I move. Can I see the map behind this blue route? Please can you reply to me in simple language as I get easily confused when dealing with new things on my phone. TIA.


Hi Jean,
Welcome to the wonderful world of GPS technology! It takes a while to get used to the new world!! :)

Just to point out saving the route offline will only save the battery power used to make a route on the road - insignificant. The real drain is from following the route with gps active and screen on all the time.

First things first, there are 2 parts to using a gps device or a phone to navigate.
The first is to create a route - that's what Cycle.travel is excellent at.
The second is to follow the route. For that you need a dedicated gps/navigation app on your phone such as Osmand or Komoot or RidewithGPS (or many others). I am not familiar with your GPX viewer, but it's name suggest that it is for viewing GPX files, not necessarily following them.
To test it, make a short route around where you live and try to follow it.

Usually, the navigation part of the equation needs maps on your phone to make the gps file useful. Chances are if your GPXViewer doesn't have an option for downloading maps, then it will not be useful for you. It may be what is called a breadcrumb trail - that is no map detail, but a path that you follow. This is not turn by turn navigation, but it can work well in most places (maybe not big cities with lots of junctions). Again, a quick test on familiar roads will help you figure this out.

While Sweep's suggestion of Osmand is very good (I use it myself) it is not the most user friendly, especially at the begining.

A quick & simple solution is to look at the Komoot app. That will allow you to import the Cycle.Travel files that you make and will also allow you to create routes on the fly - with internet access. Currently there is an offer where you can download all the maps for a one off fee of Euro 20. (Just download the maps for the countries you will need)
You can test it out for free by downloading your local region and trying it out.
It is easy to use and has a short learning curve.
I wouldn't normally recommend it, but I think it will suit you for it's ease of use.

The only issue you may have is if you do not have enough memory to download the maps.

Just a couple of things - if you are planning on using your phone for navigation it's probably a good idea to bring a powerbank in case your phone runs out of juice.

Also, the cycling here in NL is very easy, very straightforward with lots of signs and maps regularly enough on cycle paths. There is no need to be stressed. Also, most people will speak excellent English and will be happy to help. Worst case scenario, very detailed books can be bought widely specifically for bicycle routes.

Whatever you choose to do, I strongly suggest you give it a good test on familiar roads at home. Try going off course? What happens? Try planning a new route from where you are. Does it work? It's so much easier to do this at home than in a foreign place.

Hope this helps!

Good luck!

sjs
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Re: Cycle Travel question!

Postby sjs » 17 Apr 2019, 11:15am

There's an Android app called Maverick which will display gpx tracks and has a lot of offline map options including Ordnance Survey if that's your thing. The paid version is very cheap and more flexible for dowloading maps. Simple interface too.

JeanM
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Re: Cycle Travel question!

Postby JeanM » 17 Apr 2019, 7:30pm

Thanks all very much for your replies. I will keep trying. I have been to the Netherlands before and I know it's a great place to cycle.
Jean

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andrew_s
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Re: Cycle Travel question!

Postby andrew_s » 18 Apr 2019, 11:56am

What I've done with cycle.travel is to plan the route at home (or anywhere there's wifi), then pan along the route at a number of suitable scales, just using the Chrome browser, before setting off with the tab still open. That puts the map tiles in your phone's cache, so you can see the map background behind the blue line out on the road where there's no data.

Then, when I'm riding, I just look at the phone at intervals, check I'm still on route, and commit the next few turns to memory. If you are trying to conserve battery life, you've got to work that way anyway - it's having the screen on full time that does the damage.

It does mean that you've got to have wifi or data access at the start of each day, enough to get Chrome opened, go to Cycle.travel, and recall your saved route. I believe that the map tiles will remain in the cache for a couple of weeks so the panning back and forth along the day's route can be done beforehand.

As with all things GPS, try out whatever you do on a few rides in your local area before relying on it away from home.

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mjr
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Re: Cycle Travel question!

Postby mjr » 18 Apr 2019, 1:51pm

Richard Fairhurst wrote:You can now export PDF maps of an area - not just of a route. Choose the location and the scale, click "Create map", and it'll ponder for a while and then spit out a lovely PDF.

It's linked from the front page - just click the link by "Get a custom PDF bike map".

Please could local cycle network route codes (ref attribute) be marked onto the map instead of only the blue blobs? It would make area maps much more useful.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
All the above is CC-By-SA and no other implied copyright license to Cycle magazine.

Richard Fairhurst
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Re: Cycle Travel question!

Postby Richard Fairhurst » 18 Apr 2019, 3:26pm

Hmm. It's a scale thing - basically it's the same stylesheet as used in the raster maps where the refs for local routes only kick in at zoom level 16. I'm not sure off the top of my head what that would be if converted to a 1:n scale, but I suspect it's under the 1:12,500 minimum for printing so it's not showing up. As ever the issue is one of clutter - too many little ref rectangles and the route is unreadable. (I actually have special-case handling for the Netherlands and Belgium because their networks are so dense!)

I'll put it on the cartography to-do list to have a look at - in an ideal world I'd be able to tell Mapnik only to render the refs sparsely, but in practice the features that allegedly do that never quite work...
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Re: Cycle Travel question!

Postby mjr » 18 Apr 2019, 4:54pm

Richard Fairhurst wrote:Hmm. It's a scale thing - basically it's the same stylesheet as used in the raster maps where the refs for local routes only kick in at zoom level 16. I'm not sure off the top of my head what that would be if converted to a 1:n scale, but I suspect it's under the 1:12,500 minimum for printing so it's not showing up. As ever the issue is one of clutter - too many little ref rectangles and the route is unreadable. (I actually have special-case handling for the Netherlands and Belgium because their networks are so dense!)

I'll put it on the cartography to-do list to have a look at - in an ideal world I'd be able to tell Mapnik only to render the refs sparsely, but in practice the features that allegedly do that never quite work...

At the moment, the balance seems a bit off in the other direction because local route refs only appear on the two highest zooms. It would be great if they appeared on the next level out, which I think is visible on 1:12,500.

It still gives me a local problem because we've extended our Local Cycle Network to fill in the gaps to nearby towns that Sustrans and our county council have left, but looking around OpenCycleMap (which shows local routes from zoom level 8!), I only spot King's Lynn, Reading and Garstang in England that are abusing their LCN like this.
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LittleGreyCat
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Re: Cycle Travel question!

Postby LittleGreyCat » 24 Apr 2019, 8:25pm

I'm trying to plan a route along the sea front at Felixstowe.
Probably a common thing as it links the Harwich Foot Ferry with the Felixstowe Ferry Foot Ferry.
The Promenade is open to cyclists and mainly runs parallel to the road.
I can plan a route from Felixstowe Dock which runs along the Promenade to Undercliff Road East but Cycle.Travel will not allow me to move from the Promenade to the road (trust me, this is easy).
Instead it insists on sending me to the end of the Promenade then up Jacob's Ladder which is a set of steep steps.

I could just ignore this quirk, but it would be useful if the software recognised that the Promenade runs alongside the road and that it is easy to switch from one to the other. Also that steep steps are not usually part of a cycle route.

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Re: Cycle Travel question!

Postby RickH » 24 Apr 2019, 9:47pm

LittleGreyCat wrote:I'm trying to plan a route along the sea front at Felixstowe.
Probably a common thing as it links the Harwich Foot Ferry with the Felixstowe Ferry Foot Ferry.
The Promenade is open to cyclists and mainly runs parallel to the road.
I can plan a route from Felixstowe Dock which runs along the Promenade to Undercliff Road East but Cycle.Travel will not allow me to move from the Promenade to the road (trust me, this is easy).
Instead it insists on sending me to the end of the Promenade then up Jacob's Ladder which is a set of steep steps.

I could just ignore this quirk, but it would be useful if the software recognised that the Promenade runs alongside the road and that it is easy to switch from one to the other. Also that steep steps are not usually part of a cycle route.

Cycle.travel has no way of knowing if you can move between 2 parallel routes unless there are interconnects (locations of dropped kerbs for instance) marked in the OSM mapping. There could equally well, in other instances, be a tall fence or other impenetrable barrier separating the road & a cycle route.

gloomyandy
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Re: Cycle Travel question!

Postby gloomyandy » 5 May 2019, 9:39am

Quick heads up. For some reason Google has decided that the .tcx file download from cycle.travel is not a safe file and will not allow the download to a Chromebook (well to my Chromebook at least). I had to disable the website protection feature to allow me to do it. It seems to be only the .tcx files that are being blocked, .gpx works fine. I've no idea why it is happening but you may find that it impacts other users as well. Possibly something to do with this https://www.ghacks.net/2019/04/11/chrom ... oads-soon/ Do you use https or http for tcx downloads?

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Re: Cycle Travel question!

Postby Richard Fairhurst » 5 May 2019, 12:48pm

Gah, Google really are a pain. It's not really either http or https - it's not downloaded from a server, but rather is created locally in the browser using JavaScript. In other words, it's a file Chrome itself has created, following cycle.travel's instructions. The same's true for the GPX, so why Chrome is blocking one but not the other I don't know - maybe they've whitelisted GPX as an acceptable format but not TCX?
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gloomyandy
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Re: Cycle Travel question!

Postby gloomyandy » 5 May 2019, 9:04pm

That seems quite likely (GPX is a pretty common format, TCX not so much). But I agree it is a pain. Not sure what you can do about it, perhaps try contacting google, I got in touch with them about problems with my google drive space, and they were actually very good, both in helping me fix the problem and giving me extra space.

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Re: Cycle Travel question!

Postby Vorpal » 6 May 2019, 11:43am

RickH wrote:
LittleGreyCat wrote:I'm trying to plan a route along the sea front at Felixstowe.
Probably a common thing as it links the Harwich Foot Ferry with the Felixstowe Ferry Foot Ferry.
The Promenade is open to cyclists and mainly runs parallel to the road.
I can plan a route from Felixstowe Dock which runs along the Promenade to Undercliff Road East but Cycle.Travel will not allow me to move from the Promenade to the road (trust me, this is easy).
Instead it insists on sending me to the end of the Promenade then up Jacob's Ladder which is a set of steep steps.

I could just ignore this quirk, but it would be useful if the software recognised that the Promenade runs alongside the road and that it is easy to switch from one to the other. Also that steep steps are not usually part of a cycle route.

Cycle.travel has no way of knowing if you can move between 2 parallel routes unless there are interconnects (locations of dropped kerbs for instance) marked in the OSM mapping. There could equally well, in other instances, be a tall fence or other impenetrable barrier separating the road & a cycle route.

LittleGreyCat: You could update the OSM yourself, with locations of dropped kerbs, marking Jacob's ladder as a footpath, etc. OSM does not have the most user-friendly interface in the world, but there are user groups and a forum to help people figure it out.
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