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mapping websites - review input required

Discussion in 'CycleChat Cafe' started by Crackle, 26 Apr 2008.

  1. Crackle

    Crackle Pah Staff Member

    Location:
    Wirral
    There's been a few comments about mapping websites like Bikely etc... so I was thinking it would make a good topic for a review but one which requires more input than just one person, hence this thread. So I would like to invite peoples comments and reviews here which we could then distil into one single review, covering all the main websites.

    My suggesion as to what you should cover inlcudes:

    - features & functionality
    - ease of use
    - import/export facilities & printouts
    - Suitability
    - Extra functionality

    I'll kick things off with my views on mapmyride:
    __________________

    I currently use Mapmyride. I chose it after comparing three sites with the same route. They were Mapmyride, Biketoaster and Bikely.

    The first thing that struck me were the differences in ascent data. For my route Biketoaster and Bikely gave the ascent as around 800m and Mapmyride as 375m. Careful checking of the route on an OS revealed that Mapmyride seemed closer. Mapmyride does say that there Algorythm for checking ascent data has been tuned to be more accurate and to prove this you can download the ascent data into Excel. I did this and whilst not totally accurate, it's quite close. On longer climbs it seems to be quite accurate but if you ride rollercoaster single track roads like me, Mapmyride has a habit of not counting the shorter climbs in it's calculations, so it may well underestimate the ascent in those situations. However that's better than Bikely, which told me that I had done 260m of climbing along what is essentially a flat road!

    So having chosen Mapmyride, how well does it work? Finding a location is quite easy and one of the features that appealed to me is the ability to tell it that this is a 'there and back ride'. As a lot of mine are, that's just perfect. Adding points is easy, as is editing them and putting in information for stops etc.. The ability to tell it to follow the road means you don't have to plot as many points and so far I have not come across a limit. The only caveat to this is that the Mapmyride website can get painfully slow on longer routes if you zoom in to much.

    Mapmyride certainly seems to be packed with features, many of which I've not used yet but amongst these are the ability to make your route private or public, embed your route in your website, save it as a GPX or Garmin file and print it out. The print out is clear but simplified, includes a scale and you get some options, one of which is to include elevation data and route directions and notes. Of the routes I've checked, Mapmyride does seem limited to roads, there is no off road plotting feature and I've not tried to make it go off-road.

    So far I've not come across a better site than Mapmyride, though I do wish it they could fix the habit it sometimes has of being grindingly slow.
     
  2. twentysix by twentyfive

    twentysix by twentyfive Clinging on tightly

    Location:
    Over the Hill

    I've only ever used MMR. That's the problem I found (see quote) - it's OK up to 10 - 15 miles. After that it's just incredibly slow. (Was it developed for runners?) It helps if you start by switching off the ascent calculator. If after finishing you turn it on again it will do that bit for you so you don't loose out.
     
  3. yello

    yello Guru

    I use mapmyride also after comparing it to toaster and bikely. I found one or other of the latter would hang and I'd loose my route.

    Oddly, I don't find mapmyride slow but the ascent info I do think is inaccurate, at least when compared to the actuals from my Edge... but then it's not really a feature I use.

    There was one feature of mapmyride that bugged me - the map moves when plotting, but I found that by unchecking 'auto recenter' that it stopped that. I used their new version once but didn't get on with it so I've stayed with the old version - but that's not a criticism. More being too lazy to learn a new method when the old one works for me.
     
  4. OP
    OP
    Crackle

    Crackle Pah Staff Member

    Location:
    Wirral
    Yello, any chance you could do a small compare of the Edge ascent data with say Bikely and Mapmyride, that'd be really useful to know which one was nearer?

    Also if you zoom out on Mapmyride it runs better, zoom in and it slows down.
     
  5. yello

    yello Guru

    This is curious... for a sample 135km ride, directly loaded from the 305 unit, I have the following ascents

    Garmin training software - 1284m
    Motion Based - 1528m
    SportsTracks - 683m?????

    Taking the GPX plot and loading into the web based mapping programs, I have

    MayMyRide - 223m (I suspect it's 1223, but they don't have a 4 digit display!)
    Bikely - 994m

    Looks like MMR is more accurate... but I don't know what's happening with SportsTracks, looks like it's halving it!!

    http://www.mapmyride.com/ride/france/gargilesse-dampierre/449069653
     
  6. OP
    OP
    Crackle

    Crackle Pah Staff Member

    Location:
    Wirral
    I think MMR is actually saying 223m, which, if your Garmin is right, is wildly innacurate and extremely puzzling. Are they the actuals off your Garmin or is that the software estimating it. Not quite sure how the Garmin units work.

    Anyway there's a shocking difference betweem all of them, it's going to need a bit of sorting this.
     
  7. OP
    OP
    Crackle

    Crackle Pah Staff Member

    Location:
    Wirral
    Yello, if you download the raw data csv from the ascent profile, then for that route you can see how MMR adds it up. It looks like it's got quite a few little undulations which MMR isn't counting, sort of 20/30m differences but overall MMR appears to have got it about right according to it's profile data (I'd need a map of the area to really check) i.e. are those peaks really at 274m or higher or lower.

    I'd say the 1500m from your Garmin software seems a bit wild, maybe it's totalling from sea level or something?
     
  8. yello

    yello Guru

    I reckon you're right about MMR. If I switch the display to ft I get a 4 figure display.

    The peak heights are right according to the IGN map I'm looking at. A low point of 144m and a high point of 382m. So I'd say a total ascent of 223m isn't likely. Interestingly, I looked into the way that SportsTracks accumulates ascent and it smooths the data according to a calculation. There's a deal of conjecture on their forum about the best settings for this but by removing the smoothing and setting the gradient percentages according to a semi-consensus, I get 1525m of ascent.

    That's exactly what SportTracks was doing. Because the 305 takes snapshots along the way to plot the route, the software has to use a methodology to calculate and accumulate any ascent/descent values between those snapshots. I guess, in crude theory, if you climbed and descended 300m between snapshots (not possible, I know!) the software would calculate no altitude change and that 300m would not be accumulated.

    I don't have the track still on the Edge otherwise I'd look at the figures it says... maybe it accumulates as it goes. I'll have a look next time I do a ride.
     
  9. OP
    OP
    Crackle

    Crackle Pah Staff Member

    Location:
    Wirral
    :biggrin: Wow! I'm not sure if that's any clearer then. What puzzles me is that if you just do a rough count of major ascents on your route using the profile data on MMR, I count (very, very roughly) at least 300m of climbing. If you take in all the little undulations, that's probably another 100m so I reckon 400m of climbing which looking at what isn't added up on the CSV file, seems reasonable. So I could believe the 683m from Sports Track, Bikely's stretching it a bit at 800m but 1500m seems way too high: That's very confusing :ohmy:

    Now If I put another route of mine into MMR, which is largely flat, no more than 50 feet between any part of it with the exception of one small climb near the end, then MMR tells me there's no ascent. Which is nearly right, in fact there's probably a couple hundred feet in total. This is the route.

    http://www.mapmyride.com/ride/united-kingdom/corran/78395673

    What's interesting to note is that the profile has it there's a hundred foot climb at ten miles - there isn't. So I wonder then how accurate the elevation data is in the first place. Also from reading around a bit, even the GPS devices are prone to elevation error on the hardware itself, which makes the whole thing a bit of a guess.

    I think for the moment I shall play around with MMR a bit more and see if I can make a bit more sense of it by comparing it to OS maps. I'm currently thinking I'd rather underestimate and apply a fiddle factor, than overestimate.
     
  10. twentysix by twentyfive

    twentysix by twentyfive Clinging on tightly

    Location:
    Over the Hill
    Not something I do very often (once maybe?) is to count all the contours the route crosses on the OS map. Knowing the height difference between contours one can then estimate total ascent/descent simply by dividing the number of contours by 2 (for a loop route only) and multiplying by the height difference between contours. I should think that's a pretty good way of getting the answer. But you need patience, good eyes and the maps......

    For routes which aren't loops a similar technique could be employed I think.
     
  11. OP
    OP
    Crackle

    Crackle Pah Staff Member

    Location:
    Wirral
    ;) Blimey! I just tried a little bit of that and my eyes kept crossing.

    I did in the process discover that there's spot heights against one of the roads I cycle. Not others, just that one. So I'm going to add it to MMR as a route and print out the csv data and sit and compare it to the map.

    MMR also has a new mapping interface which is still in Beta. I tried it and it works a lot better and faster. You can also exclude water sections if you take a ferry. Being Beta though it is still buggy and half way through my route, began to scroll uncontrollably when I tried to move a point.
     
  12. OP
    OP
    Crackle

    Crackle Pah Staff Member

    Location:
    Wirral
    Gentle bump to see if anyone has anything else to add?
     
  13. Fnaar

    Fnaar Smutmaster General

    Location:
    Thumberland
    I use mapmyride as it's the first one I got to grips with, and i blindly accept the figures it gives me. :sad: That's probably why I'm not rich and i drive a crap car. :rolleyes: