CityCyclingEdinburgh Forum » Computers, GPS, 'Smart' 'Phones

CycleStreets app

(33 posts)
  • Started 6 years ago by nobrakes
  • Latest reply from nobrakes

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  1. nobrakes
    Member

    After discovering that my carefully planned new route out to Shawfair is a complete disaster in rush hour (and feeling a bit vulnerable on a bike where my head is lower than the bottom of most car windows), I bought the cycle streets app for my windows phone last night.

    Duly armed with a new bit of software, yet another gadget for the handlebars (elegantly attached with parcel tape), I set off this morning from Shawfair with it programmed to get me to Chesser on the 'quietest' route option.

    Have to say it was excellent - took me off the A7 immediately and went through places I never knew existed, then up the innocent railway, across the meadows and onto the canal towpath. Seems to have knowledge of all the bits and pieces of cycle path throughout the city. The route is maybe 2 miles longer than the direct one but was much more enjoyable. I'll see how it feels on the way home tonight but it's definitely going to be a lot quieter.

    Only negatives about the app I can think of (and I'm nit picking as it only costs about £1.50), the screen 'pages' instead of scrolls and your position tends to lag a little behind where you actually are on the map, so it's easy to overshoot junctions that are just off the screen. Other than that, a fantastic little bit of software, well worth the price of a cheap coffee. Recommended if you are looking for a decent route and are not quite sure of the roads.

    Posted 6 years ago #
  2. chdot
    Admin

    Didn't realise the Windows app cost money - the iOS and Android ones are free.

    Great advantage of the apps over the website is that you can add pins to plot routes that go via places you want to visit and/or circular routes.

    "Seems to have knowledge of all the bits and pieces of cycle path throughout the city." CS is very clever at joining all these together but the real credit goes to all the people who have added roads, paths and 'local knowledge' cut-throughs to OpenStreetMap (and graded roads in terms of busyness - not always 'accurate' due to different traffic at different times of day).

    (Slight disclaimer - I helped CS develop from being a fabulous local resource for Cambridge into a UK-wide resource - the idea was to create an Edinburgh version, but fortunately the two people behind CS were more ambitious!)

    Posted 6 years ago #
  3. neddie
    Member

    It would be nice if the cyclestreets website updated their front-end. It seems dated and a little clunky.

    Routing is good, although I think the "quietest" option should be weighted more heavily in favour of the NEPN / Innocent / other off-road paths.

    Posted 6 years ago #
  4. nobrakes
    Member

    @chdot yes it's a great example of crowdsourcing. Congrats on being involved in such a great project!

    Posted 6 years ago #
  5. cb
    Member

    Interesting that the fastest route also opts for the Innocent (for my chosen start/end points).

    https://edinburgh.cyclestreets.net/journey/54387267/#quietest

    Not much between the fastest/balanced/quiet options.

    Did you lug your bike (recumbent?) over the steps at Slateford Station?

    There must be a reasonable route using Braid Hills Drive. Is cycling through the Drum Estate welcomed/easy/practical?

    Posted 6 years ago #
  6. nobrakes
    Member

    @cb no I went down to the junction with Slateford Road and turned right. It's a terrible junction on the recumbent as you can't get your head far enough forward to see what's coming from the right. Perhaps that's why CS suggests going over the bridge?

    Posted 6 years ago #
  7. chdot
    Admin

    A bit later (after getting the small amount of funding from the Scottish Government) this happened!

    http://www.rtaylor.co.uk/transportdirect-cyclestreets.html

    Posted 6 years ago #
  8. chdot
    Admin

    "Perhaps that's why CS suggests going over the bridge?"

    It will be. Bit of a struggle with an ordinary bike, but that junction is baaad.

    Best to go left and do a U-turn when safe.

    Posted 6 years ago #
  9. chdot
    Admin

    "Is cycling through the Drum Estate welcomed/easy/practical?"

    Very pleasant, fairly good surface, signed within the estate to discourage people from deviating.

    At the Danderhall side, very much looks like you go through private doors -

    Dropped pin near 642 Old Dalkeith Rd, Edinburgh EH16 4SL https://goo.gl/maps/6AGNcojfBbK2

    Well you do, but perfectly legally.

    Posted 6 years ago #
  10. Ooh, interesting. I foresee a meandering Friday morning commute. I've often seen the entrance and wondered if you were allowed to ride through. Where does that come out on the other end?

    Posted 6 years ago #
  11. crowriver
    Member

    Aye, but does the app require mobile data to be switched ON (i.e.. needs internet to operate)? If so, it's a no from me...

    Posted 6 years ago #
  12. chdot
    Admin

    Dropped pin near 143 Drum St, Edinburgh EH17 8RU https://goo.gl/maps/g9yG9RVpzVp

    Posted 6 years ago #
  13. nobrakes
    Member

    @crowriver if you create a route over wifi at home, it apparently stores it locally. Haven't tested that but will put it in flight mode on the way home tonight and see if it still works.

    Posted 6 years ago #
  14. cb
    Member

    @crowriver, it does need mobile data turned on but there is an optional Map Pack you can download (on Android at least) which lets you work offline.

    Current map pack is 319MB and covers the "whole of the UK and Ireland".

    Posted 6 years ago #
  15. nobrakes
    Member

    @Cb interesting, the tutorial I read on my phone suggested you could still use the created routes even if there was no connection. I must have misread that.

    Posted 6 years ago #
  16. cb
    Member

    @nobrakes, I'd go with what the tutorial said, anyhow it could well be different between Windows/Android.

    Posted 6 years ago #
  17. nobrakes
    Member

    Will test today and see what happens!

    Posted 6 years ago #
  18. Frenchy
    Member

    There must be a reasonable route using Braid Hills Drive. Is cycling through the Drum Estate welcomed/easy/practical?

    Absolutely, just need to share the road with the partridges at the moment.

    If you're looking for other quiet alternatives, there's a shared use pavement from Danderhall down to Ferniehill Drive, and then you can take the quiet streets through Moredun (QuietRoute 61 goes this way, but I'm not sure of exact route).

    The fastest route is probably along Ferniehill Drive and Newtoft Street, then down Lasswade Road and turn left at the top of Kirk Brae.

    Posted 6 years ago #
  19. crowriver
    Member

    @nobrakes, @cb, interesting. Okay may give it a shot!

    Posted 6 years ago #
  20. chdot
    Admin

    Even if you can't/won't use on journeys, the app is still worth having because of what I said earlier -

    "Great advantage of the apps over the website is that you can add pins to plot routes that go via places you want to visit and/or circular routes."

    Posted 6 years ago #
  21. nobrakes
    Member

    Clarification of functionality - when you create a route, you get the message "This route has been saved and can be loaded even when a data connection is unavailable from the Load Route menu".

    I'm not sure if this means the app will still work with GPS only even when there is no data connection. I will try tonight. My test in the office reveals that on my windows phone, maps and GPS are still operable without a data connection and CS is showing the correct location.

    Posted 6 years ago #
  22. dougal
    Member

    The route will probably still work from cached mapping data but won't be able to fetch any more. So if you go into the fog of war, expect to be blind.

    Posted 6 years ago #
  23. nobrakes
    Member

    Aye, sounds reasonable. I was wondering if windows phones came preinstalled with uk maps or something. I haven't really investigated that deeply. EDIT - but it's probably not accessing maps off the phone, it will be internal to the app I guess?

    Posted 6 years ago #
  24. nobrakes
    Member

    Well, didn't go as planned. Was directed to cycle THROUGH the Royal Infirmary, unless I missed something simple, wasn't sure where I was meant to be heading and ended up back on the A7 gridlock out to Shawfair. Will be utilising the pin functionality to specify the route more carefully next time.

    Posted 6 years ago #
  25. chdot
    Admin

    "not accessing maps off the phone, it will be internal to the app I guess?"

    No, downloads OSM related tiles.

    "

    Where does the map data come from?

    The map data is from OpenStreetMap which is an ongoing project to map the world. We are immensely grateful to all the volunteers who have created the base data. Please consider donating to OpenStreetMap.

    OpenStreetMap data, (and therefore the routes that CycleStreets plans) are licensed under the Open Data Commons Open Database License, which is explained at http://www.openstreetmap.org/copyright. The cartography in the OpenStreetMap derived map tiles are licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license.

    "

    https://www.cyclestreets.net/about/

    Posted 6 years ago #
  26. chrisfl
    Member

    On the offline cabability, I've no idea how the Windows App works, but on Android they have a "UK Map Pack" download on the app store. It's fairly big at 320MB (but not that bad given it covers the whiole of the UK)

    The developers do keep talking about improving the frontend - so I imagine it will happen sometime. But I find the "mobile" html version actually is quite good, have a look at https://m.cyclestreets.net/

    Finally if you do spot any routing oddities, do mention it here and we can check the underlying data.

    Posted 6 years ago #
  27. rbrtwtmn
    Member

    Just a note for those who haven't heard it before (everyone else please skip the post)... there are lots of expert (and very-expert) Openstreetmap contributors who participate in this forum. I like to really try to emphasise to people that contributing to OSM can be very easy. Full editing is pretty simple, but even before that there's a method for suggesting corrections or updates to the mapping that is simple as simple can be...

    See here: http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Notes#Adding_notes

    In regard to the use of Cyclestreets what this means is that if it gives you an odd routing which you think may be because of a mapping error you can let the OSM contributor community know about this. Perhaps take a look at at one of the main Openstreetmap based maps and check... is the map missing a set of steps, or a closed gate?

    One step more complex (but still simple) take a look at this tool:
    https://blog.openstreetmap.org/2014/12/01/new-query-feature/
    With it you can check for the underlying data from which the map is drawn. So have you been routed down a really muddy track? Check the data for the track - does it say what the surface is? If not add a note to say so.

    Or become a contributor yourself. Seems complex at first - but once you realise what's basically going on it's really not. There are lines, shapes and points. Each line, shape or point is labelled with some data to say what it represents. If you want to help you need to work out what the conventions are about this labelling. For example if you add the words 'highway' and 'motorway' to a line this means it represents a motorway. Bet you guessed that. Er... well that's it really.

    Lastly - note that there are now a huge number of apps based on OSM. Cyclestreets is one of the very best for suggesting intelligent cycle routes/routing. There are better apps for other purposes.

    Bonus: if you help to get the data right then your work contributes automatically to all of the apps and services based on the OSM data (not just to Cyclestreets).

    OSM promotion session over...

    Posted 6 years ago #
  28. chdot
    Admin

    You forgot to mention that OSMers have meets - sometimes in pubs...

    Posted 6 years ago #
  29. wingpig
    Member

    "Well, didn't go as planned. Was directed to cycle THROUGH the Royal Infirmary..."

    Unless it means through a building, it can be done. There's the slope up to Craigmillar Castle Road or the bus lane to Greendykes/Niddrie.

    Posted 6 years ago #
  30. nobrakes
    Member

    @wingpig it appeared to be sending me through the main corridor of the ERI, the one that goes up past the shops etc.

    I think I might have inadvertently added a random pin before planning the route, it's easy to do if you brush the screen. However, still confused as to the routing.

    I will definitely look into contributing if I see any oddities that are definitely not user error.

    Posted 6 years ago #

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