Bicycle routes – Google maps

Well, just a small post, to help a brilliant idea !
There is community that would love to see a new feature in the Google Maps project, that would help bicycle riders !!

They give all needed information here : http://googlemapsbikethere.org/
It consists of a new feature that will plot out a bicycle route on Google maps instead of a normal driving route. Also they would like to have a colouring scheme that indicates how bike safe the suggested road is.

All I can say is, sign that petition and push Google to implement this 🙂

[tags]Google maps, GoogleMapsBikeThere, Bicycle, GPS[/tags]

bk Cycling route management update

Well do you remember this 🙂

After my last post about this little project, I’ve had some big improvements in gathering data !!
It seems I’m able to connect my TomTom bluetooth GPS receiver to my laptop !! And I’m also able to use the receiver for other programs on my PDA then the TomTom software !!

Stupid me, have this TomTom for 2 years now and never tried it LOL ! The passkey for connecting to the TomTom bluetooth gps receiver is just 0000, go figure !
So with the ability to connect the receiver, I searched the internet for some free software to track/log the gps data. I found 2 perfect programs, one for the laptop and one for my pda !
A quick overview :

* GPS Trackmaker is the free tool for the laptop. It’s a nice tool that will allow you to log real time GPS data during your ride and even map it on maps that you created yourself !! The log files are exportable to many formats like GPX and KML. I’m using this to log the cycling routes that are needed for my bk Cycling route management website !!
* The tool for the PDA is called outdoor-gps, it actually does the same thing as GPS Trackmaker, but now for the PDA ! Main difference is that the log file is always a GPX data file and that you can’t use real maps. But it works great and is a nice software program to keep record of routes you ride !! Even for running it’s great.

Naturally I had to test this outdoor-gps on my pda, so today I took it for a ride !
When I got back home I checked the data with my cycling computer and the are almost a match… outdoor-gps says I had a ride that was 28.8km and my cycling computer said 29km. So a small margin ( and I’m actually guessing it’s my cycling computer 😉 ). Total trip lasted 1h06.

Now behold, for all people to enjoy, I’ve made this trip public… I’m using this great website Bikley, it allows you save trips and add data to them, also it’s possible to share and use them in your blog ! So here goes…

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bk Cycling route management overview

Well better late then never 😉 I’ll give a small overview of my current progress in my cycling website.

So the real purpose is to have all available cycling network points charted onto a Google maps interface. This with the extra ability to create your own routes offline and share them with other people.

What’s currently available

  • I charted a small portion of available network points at the north of Mechelen
  • I added a bunch of network points from around Brugge
  • You can select network points that are connected through a route to build up your own cycling route
  • When you composed a route, you can save it and share it through a special designated url
  • You can also, during composition of your route, always clear the last selected network point

What’s currently on track for improvement ( some are up in a land of far far far far away 😉 )

  • Possibility to enter a location and jump to that location on the map
  • Get detailed route GPS information to show ‘nice’ tracks on the Google map
  • Give a clean printable overview page of the Google map and the network points selected
  • Let people add points of interest
  • Suggest a route between two distant network points
  • Update the design
  • Able to upload / download routes through GPX or KML

As you see this project has still some features that need to be added ! But since I switched from an asp.net to a PHP/JavaScript version, things got very easy 🙂 .

But still anybody who wants to help in any way ( programming, design or providing route data ), can always contact me through the contact form here on the blog ( upper right corner ).

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Cry for help to all cycling people !

This post is a cry for help…
I’m shouting out to all the people who love cycling ! Actually I have to be more specific, a cry to all the cycling lovers in Belgium !


Logo thx to Mirthe

And why am I needing help, well I’m creating a new website that will allow people to plan and share cycling trips online !! This doesn’t sound very fancy, but the catch is, that you can use specific designated points ( called Fietsknooppunten in Belgium ) ! If you want to get more details about this concept, just have a look here ( in Dutch ).

So what do I need from you guys ? Well I need GPS coordinates ! Because now I only have a small set of bike points and I would like to add more… and I need a GPS log of the route between 2 points, so that the route is nicely displayed on the Google Map.

If you want to help, just use the email contact option here on my site ( right top of the screen ) to get in touch with me, so we can work out the details.

To get a feel of how the program works, just browse to my test site at FreeHostia.com ! BUT be aware this is a test site, so there could be down time. Normally you can already select several points ( that are connected to each other ) and save your selection as a cycling route !! You then get a shareable link ! AGAIN these links can disappear in time, because when the program is more stable I’m going to reset the database.

Enjoy and please support me in my quest !

UPDATE :Ok I have to be honest about this, it seems I’m not the only one with this idea ! Check out some other online route managers !! Here and here and an offline tool here

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Cycling – from knot to knot

Cycling is something I try to do on a regular basis, both for recreation as general fitness training !
So when I want to go for a ride I need to do some preparation to get a good trip… because just riding around on tracks I know by heart is not very challenging.

So here are some tips I found along the way, when I tried to get some good cycling routes.

To start off, I live in Belgium and the best way to have a nice route is to get yourself acquinted with the Fietsknooppunten network !! This is a cycling network that is available in Flanders and the Netherlands, composed of several key points ( all signed with a number ) that are connected to eachother through roads that are ideal for cycling !

So the best way to get a fast result is use this system. There is only one drawback, an overview of the system is only available on printed maps !! And even more frustrating is the fact that there isn’t yet a centralised location to get all maps… this because each province in Flanders manages its own network and you have to go to each and one of them to get their local maps !
I found one link that seems to give an overview – here !

Another drawback is the fact that you have to rely on yourself to come up with a route… So if you don’t know the place where you will ride, it’s hard to find the best/most beautiful places around ! Although the specified roads are more ‘bike’ friendly they don’t indicate any site seeing tips…

So a lot of people had this problem and it looks like the internet has a solution. I’ll post some links here where you can get some detailed background on tracks that where scouted by other cycling people !!
Some are very detailed with lots of photos… but most of them are in dutch, so that would make it not so international friendly 🙂

Happy riding :

http://blog.seniorennet.be/charel/
http://www.northsea-cycle.com/
http://www.fietsroute.org/index.htm
http://www.gpsbiketracks.be/index.html
http://blog.seniorennet.be/deleukefietser/
http://www.vlaamsefietsroutes.be/hoofdpagina.html
http://fietsroutes.web-log.nl/fietsroutes/
http://www.tienenaar.be