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

NEW Bike Hub iPhone app

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  1. chdot

    "World's first vibrate & voice cycling satnav, is now yours, for free, on iTunes UK" -

    Probably only free satnav iPhone app with 'turn by turn' voiced instructions of any sort.

    'Powered' by CycleStreets route planning.

    Posted 12 years ago #
  2. chdot

    Well I had a first play this afternoon. Initial reaction - amazing but not perfect.

    I plotted a route from Morningside to Stockbridge. I knew I would be following the main road so I wasn't unduly worried that it didn't give many directions until Tollcross.

    It was interesting to be told that I was going onto the "A700 Loth-e-on Road". I had chosen the female voice (slightly less irritating). Don't think it will ever be able to say Low-thee-an the way we are used to!

    At the bottom of Lothian Road it told me to go straight ahead. Fair enough - as it thought I should be heading into Queensferry Street. The SatNav gets its info from CycleStreets which hadn't been updated to account for the tramworks! (Done it now.)

    I had already decided to turn left into Shandwick Place, (legal in spite of the "no left turn" signs), to see how the app would deal with me 'going off-route'.

    This is where I found the first significant lack of the app. I was expecting a voice saying "turn round" or "are you sure you want to go this way?" I don't have a 'proper' SatNav (or a car) so I only know the comedy versions of what SatNavs tend to say.

    Of course if my iPhone had been fixed to my handlebars I would have seen the legend "route is too far away". But I was hoping to rely on the voice in my ear.

    I retraced my route and turned left into Charlotte Square. I had deliberately not paid too much attention to the planned route beyond observing that it went over Dean Bridge. I was waiting for the instruction to turn left along the Sustrans route by West Register House.

    It didn't come but I turned anyway and stopped here -

    And marvelled at such a 'World class' cycle route..., and see that I was still "too far away"

    I was most impressed when I got to the lights at Randolph Crescent to be told to go straight ahead - the app knew I was back on track!

    Just before the Bridge I was again told to go straight on. At this point the main road goes slightly to the right and Bell's Brae is almost straight ahead. Any confusion was quickly removed as a version of the words "Dean Bridge" appeared in my ear.

    I'm sure even the most expensive SatNav (this one is FREE) would have a problem with that section of road.

    After the Bridge I should have been told to turn right but only had silence. I carried on and turned right down Orchard Brae and right into Comely Bank Row. At the next lights I was told to turn right, which was a surprise as I though I was too far from the route to get instructions and, in any case, my planned destination was now straight on and left.

    I tried various other shorter trips with a range of impressive directions, completely missing ones and occasional 'turn lefts' after I already had done as I knew where I was going.

    Clearly this most impressive app is not quite ready for relying on as audio only. It also has to rely on CycleStreets, which in turn relies on OpenStreetMap which is created by many individuals.

    I do not know what proportion of 'glitches' might be due to the app, CS or OSM/mappers.

    But this is still early days for such sophistication to be 'perfect' ESPECIALLY considering the budgets available to Bike Hub, CS and OSM compared with - for instance - Google or the DfT's own Journey Planner.

    The future is bright and coming to Android soon (and perhaps even Symbian one day - "Blackberry, unlikely").

    It is clear from many enthusiastic comments on the iTunes App Store, and elsewhere, that people are being encouraged to cycle by the Bike Hub and CycleStreets iPhone apps - which must be a GOOD THING.

    Improvements in the turn-by-turn audio will probable attract even more people to try cycling - perhaps instead of driving!

    Posted 12 years ago #

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