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New journey planner

Richard at the excellent Cyclelicious has put together a journey planner that works in NZ. He’s looking for feedback on how it’s working – see his email at Cycling in Auckland for his questions, comments and observations.

I checked out the route from my home to the city, since that’s my most common commute. The map gave me two routes but only provided information on one of them. One of the routes sent me through the Mount Victoria tunnel, through Mt Vic, and up Wakefield Street, Jervois Quay and eventually Lambton Quay. The other took me over the top of Mt Vic, offroad to Marjoribanks Street, through Courtenay Place and Willis Street to Lambton Quay.

I compared this with the Greater Wellington Journey Planner, which took me through the tunnel, around the Basin Reserve (the wrong way), along the footpath on the Kent Tce side of the median strip to the lights, then along Cambridge Terrace, up Wakefield Street and Jervois and Customhouse Quays ahem… this will not happen if you remember to select ‘Cycling’ as your journey option.

Neither of the applications took me completely along the route I travel. Both ignored the waterfront cycle path, although it’s shown in the GW Journey Planner. Both took me down Wakefield Street and Jervois Quay, mad streets where I’d never ride – especially when the waterfront is one block over! Nor can I see myself going offroad over Mt Vic on my way to work. Both applications got some of it right, but quite frankly I still think the Auckland MAXX pdf maps are still the best there is for figuring out the safest and quickest way around. I REALLY wish we had something like that here.

Anyway, check it out yourself and let us – and Richard – know how you find it!

*For the record, my usual commute is through the tunnel (with surgical mask!), along Brougham Street, dogleg down Levy to Marjoribanks, sneakily along the footpath on (what I think is) Oriental Parade to the crossing by the fire station/New World/Waitangi Park and thence along the waterfront. Nice and quiet, which is how I like my rides.

EDIT:

  1. The thing I like about the MAXX maps is that you don’t need any local knowledge to use them effectively. You can see at a glance, thanks to the colour coding, what your options are (including the fact that you have options!). You can decide whether to take, say, a busy road with some provision for cyclists or a quieter road with no cycle infrastructure but that has been recommended by other cyclists. You can see what sort of gradient a route involves. You can see whether a route is on- or off-road. By contrast, the Journey Planner and the Cyclelicious planner require a bit of local knowledge (accepting that Cyclelicious is still in development). For example, if I stepped off a cruise ship and hired bikes at Ferg’s Kayaks I wouldn’t know not to ride down Jervois Quay until I was actually on the full horror of it. Even as a local I don’t see much point using something that requires local knowledge. That’s already in my head. I should say, though, that the Journey Planner does have useful info about bike stands and other bits and pieces. It’s very good in that regard.
  2. There was a 2 but I can’t remember it right now.

7 Responses to New journey planner

  1. Richard Masoner

    January 14, 2011 at 8:51 am

    Thanks for taking a look at this, Lisa.

    Do you mind posting the URL of the route from cyclelicio.us/map? You can get that by clicking the Permalink icon (the chain looking thing) after you’ve entered your start/end addresses and punched the “Bike There” button. I’d like to take a look and see if the cycle path you mention is in the map data.

    You can also look at the map source data for your area directly by clicking the “OSM” link — cycle paths appear as blue dashed lines. And if you’re feeling brave, you can even create an OSM account and add the cyclepath information yourself ;-)

  2. Lisa

    January 14, 2011 at 9:03 am

    Here you go :) http://www.cyclelicio.us/map/?from=hataitai&to=15%20lambton%20quay

    That reminds me of the second point I meant to make in the edit. I had suspected the data you’re working with doesn’t differentiate between on- and off-road cycle paths, and looking at the OSM data I see that is correct. The GW Journey Planner differentiates between them, if you’d like to take a look. I’ll have a closer look at OSM later on, but in the meantime do you know whether it is possible to make it differentiate between on- and off-road?

    • Richard Masoner

      January 14, 2011 at 11:11 am

      @Lisa – yes, OSM does differentiate between all different types of cycle facilities. For the nitpicky details:

      http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Bicycle

      MapQuest, however, doesn’t quite recognize all of those variations in bike facilities. It knows about cycle tracks and cycle paths and cycle lanes, but does not (yet) recognize preferred cycle routes (things like bicycle boulevards – the ncn/rcn/lcn in OSM nomenclature).

      I’ve just edited the Waterfront path data so it’s connected to Oriental Parade and various other points along the waterfront — these changes should be reflected in the route software within a week at the most, but likely sooner. I used this as an example to write up a HOWTO here:

      http://www.cyclelicio.us/2011/osm-bike-path-tutorial/

      I *really* appreciate the feedback you’ve given so far on this.

  3. Pingback: OSM bike path tutorial » Cyclelicious

  4. Simon Kennett

    January 26, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    The Greater Wellington Regional Council Cycling & Walking Journey Planner has different sets of instructions for walking and cycling. If you were directed around the Basin Reserve in an anticlockwise direction, you were looking at walking directions. Click on ‘Cycling’ (near top left) and you’ll get the cycling directions ( http://www.journeyplanner.org.nz/?x=174.793682&y=-41.304602&a=1+Taurima+St,+Hataitai&v=f&x1=174.775829&y1=-41.280773&a1=134+138+Lambton+Quay,+Wellington+Central&v1=f&mode=cycling ). These go via Brougham St, not the Basin Reserve and not footpaths.
    Also, they give you a warning about the air quality in the tunnel and about the traffic on Jervois Quay. That warning invites you to drag the route to an alternative (if you choose the Waterfront, it might look like this: http://www.journeyplanner.org.nz/?x=174.793682&y=-41.304602&a=1+Taurima+St,+Hataitai&v=f&x1=174.78424&y1=-41.291221&a1=&v1=t&x2=174.779863&y2=-41.287964&a2=&v2=t&x3=174.779391&y3=-41.282789&a3=&v3=t&x4=174.775829&y4=-41.280773&a4=134+138+Lambton+Quay,+Wellington+Central&v4=f&mode=cycling ).
    There’s an altitude graph, directions and trip length given. For people who have trouble reading maps, those are very handy.
    You can email this specific trip to a friend.
    Also, with the journey planner you can enter the names of places that you don’t know the address for into the address finder (e.g. Te Papa, or Makara Peak). And you can flip to Hybrid map view and see what the scenery is like). There are a lot of things a good journey planner will do that a paper map can not.
    That said, we like maps too (especially for people who don’t have broadband) so we will be revising the Regional Cycling Maps and reprinting them later this year.

  5. Lisa

    January 26, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    Thanks for commenting, Simon. You are quite right, I didn’t click over to cycling – d’oh.
    I do like the altitude graph and I say so on the Maps and Tools page.

    I’m using a laptop and the air quality warning appears just below the bottom of my screen. I’ve never needed step by step instructions from the Journey Planner so it has never occurred to me to scroll down. Really useful though.

    Can you tell me why the route doesn’t automatically take in the waterfront? I’m really surprised that a busy street with a warning attached is preferred over a cycle path close by. If I didn’t know about the waterfront I wouldn’t know to drag the route there – and in any case I would bow to the superior knowledge of the Planner if I didn’t know the area well.

    I think this feeds into what I like so much about the MAXX maps – I can see all my options instantly (including steepness), regardless of whether I know the area.

    It’s great to hear that the maps are coming back to Wellington. I didn’t see them before they disappeared so I’m curious as to what they look like. Will they be available in PDF as well? Let us know when they’re back and we’ll link to them.

  6. Simon Kennett

    January 27, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    The journey planner picks the shortest route, while taking large hills into account (i.e. it will take a slightly longer, flatter route around Mt Vic rather than going over the top, even though going over the top may be less distance).
    Jervios Quay is a road that I will use if I’m in a hurry, but not if I have time to cruise. The suggested route is a starting point – as with a map, the user can design a route that suits their mood, skill level, the weather, etc.

    The regional cycling maps will be available as pdfs. Will let you know when that’s up on site.

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