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Old 06-24-09, 06:45 PM   #1
Greg_R
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Ride Mapping?

What software is recommended for Route Mapping and instructions? Gradient calculation is required. I have been using bikely.com and it's OK but not great (shows elevation but not gradients). I may be getting a Garmin in the future so it would be nice to have my routes in a system that is ready for Garmin import. Any suggestions?
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Old 06-24-09, 07:57 PM   #2
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All of the free on-line mapping programs are really terrible for gradients. Maybe the topo software than Garmin sells is more accurate (I do not know).
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Old 06-29-09, 10:43 PM   #3
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Online ride mapping?

FWIW: my wife was comparing the elevation profiles for our weekend ride to Multnomah Falls and back, and www.MapMyRide.com had about 1/2 the elevation gain of www.BikeToaster.com .

I've found these two, www.bycycle.org, www.Bikely.com . Are there any other good ones? Anyone have a preference for relative newbie?
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Old 06-30-09, 06:44 AM   #4
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FWIW: my wife was comparing the elevation profiles for our weekend ride to Multnomah Falls and back, and www.MapMyRide.com had about 1/2 the elevation gain of www.BikeToaster.com .

I've found these two, www.bycycle.org, www.Bikely.com . Are there any other good ones? Anyone have a preference for relative newbie?
Bikelys mapping program worked when I started using it several years ago, while the MapMyRide didn't. I never checked the elevation part of the programs, but would guess that bikelys would work and MapMyRide wouldn't work based on past experience.
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Old 06-30-09, 08:08 AM   #5
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I think all the online mapping sites use Google Maps for their data. It has to estimate the actual slope of a hill based on a somewhat small set of known elevation points. So sometimes, on the 3-D Google Earth, you'll see ponds wrapped over the calculated edge of a hill, or a parking lot at a 30 degree tilt near a cliff.

So the mapping sites are good for general elevation, but you may find a short, steep pitch that doesn't show up on the maps.

mapmyride tries to filter out the small dips and bumps on any route, so it tries to not count the little elevation changes toward the total elevation gain. But it mostly skips any elevation change less than 10 meters/33 feet. It does have a downloadable table of the elevations every 1/100 mile or so, which might help you.
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Old 06-30-09, 12:01 PM   #6
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there is a free one you can use online, and you don't even need to do the actual ride, to calculate and find out your gradient, etc, etc.

http://veloroutes.org/

working sample
http://veloroutes.org/bikemaps/?route=30910

I use it very often to study the routes i want to take.

there is another one that is free as well, and is for Black Berries phones (it sends real time streaming of your bike path), but it uses a lot of your precious data bandwidth, so not sure if you are interested or not.

only good for those with unlimited data plans.

when you get back to home or office, or if you have a wireless internet connection on the road, you can check your progress as you bike.
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Old 06-30-09, 04:12 PM   #7
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there is a free one you can use online, and you don't even need to do the actual ride, to calculate and find out your gradient, etc, etc.

http://veloroutes.org/

working sample
http://veloroutes.org/bikemaps/?route=30910

I use it very often to study the routes i want to take.

there is another one that is free as well, and is for Black Berries phones (it sends real time streaming of your bike path), but it uses a lot of your precious data bandwidth, so not sure if you are interested or not.

only good for those with unlimited data plans.

when you get back to home or office, or if you have a wireless internet connection on the road, you can check your progress as you bike.
Doooode... forget about Berriberries and the like. I'm so 20th century even my home phone (remember those?) has a cord, for cryin' out loud.
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Old 06-30-09, 05:21 PM   #8
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...I'm so 20th century even my home phone (remember those) has a cord, for cryin' out loud.
Well, at least that way you can always find it.
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Old 07-02-09, 05:00 PM   #9
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Thanks for the tips so far. I am less concerned about the exact amount of climbing as I am about an 1/8th mile section of ultra-steep grade. I am not the biggest fan of Bikely's interface (no way to zoom on elevation profiles, etc.) but it seems to work for the basics. How does Garmin's software compare?
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Old 07-02-09, 10:08 PM   #10
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I think some units have gps with a barometer to measure change in altitude.
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Old 07-03-09, 07:37 AM   #11
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I think some units have gps with a barometer to measure change in altitude.
my GPS does it via satellite, it all depends on the GPS software you are using on your GPS device
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Old 07-03-09, 08:39 AM   #12
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This is the best I've found. The two guys who run it are very responsive and helpful too.
http://ridewithgps.com/

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Old 07-03-09, 08:43 AM   #13
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I've been using a program call Topofusion for some time. Seems to work reasonably well, but its accuracy is limited by the quality of publically-available databases. I use this program's simple logbook feature for my rides and like the 2D and 3D views provided.

I recently bought Garmin's Topo 24K West data which is purported to be more accurate, but I'm having a heck of a time figuring out how to integrate this data with Garmin's Mapsource which is currently set up to use City Navigator maps. Garmin documentation is in my view extremely poor; believe this view is shared by many others. I'm hoping to build my rides in Mapsource and use the topo data to create the elevation profile without having to go to an external program.

On a separate note the best data available to civilian users is based on the Shuttle Radar Terrain Mapping mission (SRTM). This data is accurate for elevation, but is only available at 100 meter spacing. I don't know if this data can be accessed gratis.
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Old 07-04-09, 06:02 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Greg_R View Post
What software is recommended for Route Mapping and instructions? Gradient calculation is required. I have been using bikely.com and it's OK but not great (shows elevation but not gradients). I may be getting a Garmin in the future so it would be nice to have my routes in a system that is ready for Garmin import. Any suggestions?
I don't know of any software that calculates the grade, but they all will give you the elevation...probably because as rm said they all use googlemaps. If you know the distance and the elevation you can calculate the grade yourself pretty simply.

Oh, yeah... I use bike route toaster to plot rides and download them into my Edge 705. I haven't used the Garmin specific "Mapsource" so I don't know if that'll show the grade.
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Old 07-07-09, 07:52 PM   #15
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I am one of the founding members of the aforementioned http://ridewithgps.com/ and as a result, I am a little biased However, I have found our gradient calculations to be right on par with what my Garmin 305 records. We calculate gradient for uploaded rides (using TCX, GPX or KML) using the logged elevation data. The new route planner will have live gradient calculations while plotting routes as well, and will be released within two weeks as part of our complete redesign. Our elevation data source is accurate up to 1/3 arcsecond (10 meter spacing) in the US and territories, and 1 arcsecond (30 meter spacing) outside the US. It is the SRTM based elevation dataset mentioned by rdtompki.

rdtompki: the NED data is available (and we use it) up to 1/9 arcsecond (3 meter spacing between elevation points) in some locations. It is not 100 meters between each point, thankfully!

I have a little more work to do on elevation accuracy, but I am confident now that ridewithgps is the most accurate out there in regards to elevations, even without the next round of improvements that should be coming out shortly. First priority is to get the new look and planner pushed out, then after that it is back to some heavy math to make the low-resolution elevation data available into a high resolution source.

Here is a (non-functional) sneak peak of the redesign:
http://seegodesign.com/ridewithgps/routes.php
http://seegodesign.com/ridewithgps/profile.php
http://seegodesign.com/ridewithgps/route.php

Here is an example of a ride I went on recently, logged with my 305. Mouse over the histogram to see the instantaneous grade at any point.

http://ridewithgps.com/trips/776
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Old 07-08-09, 06:10 PM   #16
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The ridewithgps looks perfect so far. I am able to zoom in on the climbs _BEFORE_ riding the route and can determine how difficult they will be. The zoom feature in the elevation profile was the missing feature for me in Bikely (plus the route drawing was dicey). The only issue I have so far with RideWithGPS is while creating the prospective route online. It would be nice to add or remove points in the middle of a route instead of backtracking to change the route. Maybe I'm not using the tool correctly...

Glad to see the continual improvement with the tool Cullen!
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Old 07-13-09, 10:12 AM   #17
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Ray, thanks for the praise. And no, you are not using the software incorrectly. The current version of the route planner is fairly limited, however we are doing a ton of redesign work. I am doing some really neat things with the route planner right now, and editing a map is one of them. I hope to have a much much much improved route planner out by Sunday! I have basically 12 hours a day slated on this starting Wednesday, and 12 between today and tomorrow.

The new planner features:

Choose the colour of individual line segments, so you can easily show an important section of a route, or easily map multi-activity routes like a triathlon.

Edit a map without 'undoing' all the way back to the section you wish to change. I am playing around with the UI for that right now, as I am not quite sure the cleanest/easiest way to approach the problem.

Mouse over the map and have the nearest point on the route highlighted, as well as the point along the elevation profile highlighted. Currently, it only works when you mouse over the graph. This is actually a pretty hard problem in computer science, and has been alot of fun to play with

Choose between walking/cycling mode and normal driving mode. Currently, we just use Google's driving directions when following roads. However, you probably have noticed it will not let you go the wrong way on a one-way street, handles some intersections oddly etc etc. The walking/cycling mode isn't perfect unfortunately (Google calls it a beta feature), but it is nice to get past the trouble spots!

Live cue-sheet view while you map, as well as in-line editing, removing and adding your own directions. Currently, our cue sheet support is terrible; I understand it is a huge deficiency and needs to be remedied. As a result, I plan on having the nicest cue sheet implementation on the web. The cue sheet follows Garmin's specs as to what their 305/605/705 units recognize as official 'activities', these are things like water stop, food stop etc etc. These cue sheets will be viewable/printable as well. Additionally (and this is already in place), when you export a TCX of a route drawn with the planner the cue sheet is added in a format recognized by the 605/705. This enables turn-by-turn directions when using your bike computer! Really really cool stuff. There are some huge possibilities when working with the Garmin bike computers, and I fully plan on exploring and utilizing all of them. These include creating workout courses with planned lap times, heart rate zones etc etc. I am in love with the idea of creating workouts that are fully planned, then uploading and having an automatic analysis of how you did in comparison to what you planned. As a result, this will be something that we spend a good amount of time working on.

Live grade reporting as you draw your map. Currently we only show grade for trips created from an uploaded log file. Adding it to the live route planner will be trivial and included in this upcoming release.

Route and trip comparisons. You can select two uploaded trips on the same route, highlight segments of one and see how you did against the other. This is a basic version of the idea of analysis, and will serve as a really cool starting point.

There are some more things that I am forgetting, but hopefully you get the idea we are far from stationary! Zack and I both still plan, and fully believe it possible, to make this project our full-time job. We love working for our users, rather than someone else!

Enjoy the day!
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