[http://zikes.website/] New OSM based (bicycle) journey planner

Dear All.,

I am a keen (long distance) cyclist and frustrated by the lack of planning tools, bit by bit, I landed with my own that I would like to share with the community: http://zikes.website/ - should it of course capture the community’s imagination. It’s a working beta with a couple of loose ends, but I use it and my friends use it and friends of said friends use it and time has come that I seek wider exposure. It’s free I might add.

The rationale (use case) is presented here https://sites.google.com/site/zikesroute/.

Of course I am interested in any form of feedback, collaboration, testers willing to take it for their first spin… and ultimately perhaps in landing the service on this list: http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/List_of_OSM-based_services#Biking.2C_Geocaching.2C_Hiking.2C_Sport

with regards

Very interesting! My area (US) isn’t covered so I couldn’t test with my known areas. But I like the available options - OpenTripPlanner addressed some of those options, but didn’t go far enough to span the needs of many cycling types.

I like the name, and I see that you are already aware of the hardware product of similar name, which is built in my home town (I am not affiliated with them). Product naming is hard, especially for something that might be available worldwide, I hope it all works out!

Thanks Mike. And sorry that i don’t do US - only a matter of $$ - but i’d like to see uptake before throwing more at it. I started with Europe as this is home - and frankly I am anxious for some feedback from home indeed.

this is discouraging.

I’d recommend the OSM-Talk mailing list https://lists.openstreetmap.org/listinfo/talk . Point them to this forum post asking for feedback.

So far I never found a route planner for my home-work commute that follows the same route I take.
Distance seems to be similar to what I do, so I wonder what’s different.
The route that I take does not have as many traffic lights as what your tool (and others are proposing).

But for the rest: the UI is pleasant and responsive.

I hope your get some more feedback from more fanatic cyclists than me.

Please don’t take at that way - in English, the forum is very little used. Mike’s suggested one of the main mailing lists; that sounds like a good place to make an announcement to me. Maybe also consider an OSM diary entry?

(by the way, I’m not trying to say that “mailing lists” are inherantly better than “forums” - I’m just saying that in English, that’s where most people are)

Traffic lights are on my agenda (in here https://sites.google.com/site/zikesroute/)

There is also our behavioural, sometimes irrational and often individual notion of “better” that is so hard or impossible to mimic. My philosophy was to let the user influence - it’s not implemented perfectly and probably never will, but I hope it will stand out in this department.

If you’re willing to share that home-work commute verbatim as you take it (possibly cutting off the bits betraying your home address) i’d like to take it as a case study. You can use http://zikes.website to do this btw: you can force a route to any stretch of a road dragging it there and you can then save and share.

thanks for the feedback by all means everyone - and i admit, i’ve let myself be a wee bit emotional :wink:

Hi Remster,

I like your tool and have played around with it for a while now. It does take a while to figure out the mechanics of the different sliders. At first I wondered why a more rural route would take me out of the woods and onto a secondary road but then I read that your are not looking at land use or the like but at road density. Apparently, the tracks in that wood were denser than the single secondary road.

I will continue playing around with it. Two issue I already found: Firstly, you seem to ignore river ferries (e. g. this one). Not sure if you do so generally or based on access tags which this one lacks for bicycles. Secondly, if I understand your explanations right and as I seem to see it working the road preference is assigned to ways purely based on the highway tag. At least for the highway=path tag this does not seem wise. A path can be anything between a nearly invisible trail in the woods or a meadow and a three meter wide smooth asphalt road explicitly dedicated to foot and/or bike traffic. While I might want to avoid the former I definitely want to use the latter. To some extend the same is true for tracks. In fact by definition there is no difference between highway = path + foot = designated and highway = footway. Thus relying on the highway tag is error prone. At least conditions given through surface, smoothness, sac scale or track type should somehow taken into account.

Keep up the good work,

[edit: typo]

@TZorn: thank you for the good word and detailed feedback.
(1) sliders - as I type this - are a coarse proof of concept. Most mostly work, but they need careful calibration. This is exactly what I have on my plate right now.
(1.1) ‘flat/hills’ conflicts with my other essential optimisation and thus fails on longer distances - fixing now.
(1.2) ‘urban/rural’ don’t actually work in any useful way. Every A-star iteration traverses three junctions towards the origin adding up the distances. The longer the distance, it concludes, the more rural the candidate is. But this breaks totally for big arteries trunks/motorways running in the middle of a city as they get qualified as rural. I believe this is exactly what you observed in the woods. I will need to spread those probes in every direction and much further, i might need to multiply it in some clever way with the highway type and stratify it (is urban/rural differentiation continuous or discrete?) - to hopefully have a more ineligible measure of ruralness. This is by far the most interesting slider :slight_smile: I have a good visualisation suite, I will experiment and land with something decent - this is next on my plate.
(1.3) ‘more/less turns’ need to turn more hybrid - it’s about punishing junctions - taking into account the direction of the turn (left is cheap in UK, but expensive in the continent). It needs to also consider the presence of traffic lights.

  • guilty as charged, matter of prioritisation (they’re not that common in Europe and present a bit of a complication - are they a highway?). But i offer a stopgap solution (rubberbands that can be inserted into a route) in the spirit of it being a non-nanny planner: http://zikes.website/?user=TMBx&journey=Zbhk_poeQgumCyGcr5wxNw
  • that’s correct. That’s how it works right now. I do tune to the presence of bicycle=yes on these - concluding someone explicitly thought it was suitable for bicycles - see Tiergarten in Berlin - all those blue ones (https://www.opencyclemap.org/) are paths decorated with bicycle=yes. I do not account for surface or smoothness indeed - first of all - matter of priorities, second - i have an impression that I cannot count on them being there. I can perhaps punish those with explicitly poor surface…

I also gave it a quick try.
I’m focused on mountainbiking.
Normally i use brouter for planning routes. (heavy mountainbike profile)
Or brouter in osmand for guiding me home when i run out off energy (fast profile)

My conclusion (at this moment):
-Brouter > Zikes for finetuning.
Like previous said (surface, width,…)

-Zikes > Brouter for user interface.
Really wish that Brouter had the sliders. Makes it much more user friendly.
Also like the possibility to save the project. (like to adapt my route for some days)

-Breakpoint (sorry if i missed it). I really need to put intermediate points to make a route.

=> Please go on, and make this perfect :wink:

Thanks @kbentekik!

If by “breakpoint” you mean the ability to insert an arbitrary via point, then every route can be dragged to wherever. Just hover on it and a drag-marker will appear. The tutorial demonstrates this - if you dismissed the welcome message, you can run it from About->Tutorial.


Thnx for your reply.
Viapoints work the way you explain it. (just like Brouter)
I must have missed this in the tutorial.

From mountainbike-point of view:
Surface, smoothness and mountainbike-scale are very important.
Whats also important: Clear indicator (on the map) or warning when a path or road is forbidden for cyclists or private.
No problem to cross 100m on foot (or descent stairs by foot), but we must know in advance.
When planning a trip, we can’t see which paths are forbidden. (i have the same problem with Brouter)

By the way: Really like the red lines to mark high ascent-level.
(A cat > mouse)

  • duly noted, but scratching my head how to UX-it. I presume brouter could be an inspiration. Could you write me a pm on how to quickly see this? http://brouter.de/brouter/ is very wordy.

Exactly. Although today zikes won’t take you through a stretch of a road forbidden for cyclists (zikes strictly obeys access tags) - i have it on my roadmap for November to offer a means to relax this restriction with visualisation on the map (some warning marker and colouring).

The ‘more cycleways’ slider is very useful, on the other hand. Found it tweaks zikes’s routes close to my preferred ones. Could you quickly elaborate what is taken into account there? The help popup says, regional and national routes are observed. No local ones? That reminds me I still want to look into tagging some routes here in the vicinity.

Ferries are quite common on the rivers Rhine and Elbe and probably on the other big rivers in Germany and Europe, too. With bridges being spaced by car distances the ferries offer convenient crossing for cyclists on a short Sunday afternoon ride. And I would say it is not uncommon to have more cyclist on a ferry than cars in summer time. So in a router specializing on bike trips I would really like to see those. I have tried the rubber band and it does indeed work as promised. But (sorry again) this is only useful when you know where the ferries are and the default Mapbox background map unfortunately doesn’t even show them.

I would second that. There is many wrong tagging out there (vehicle = no where it should be motor_vehicle = no for example) and in many cases (not on motorways obviously) pushing your bike is an option. So you could assign high cost to it but try to avoid completely (with exceptions like motorway). Same for steps.

Glad it comes useful. First of all, of course the immediate way attribution processed here: https://bitbucket.org/purbanski/zikes/src/1fac0ad804ce7c56617cd012687fb36f1d2d6a24/python/lib/osmsql/pyBicycle.py?at=master&fileviewer=file-view-default#pyBicycle.py-215

wayAttrs.has((KRoute, KBicycle), KYes)

evaluates to true, iff way has attribute k=“route:bicycle” v=“yes”

let me know how readable this is.

Second, as much as you should recognise all those attributes, “route:bicycle” is what i retrofit from relations.
namely, a way, in the process of importing, will gain “route:x” iif it belongs to a relation that:

This pulls in all kinds of networks (local, regional, national and international).

When inspecting the result of the above i additionally encountered:

When relaxing the access restrictions I would like to annotate the route with warnings. Ideally such warning should state for instance:
“This route segment is marked as inaccessible for bicycles because it is exclusively for pedestrians. You may need to dismount here.”
However, my routing server cannot afford storing all the attribution (RAM) and it only knows the bare fact of inaccessibility - not its reason.
If i could generate a latlng link (not way id as i don’t store those either) somewhere to the read-only OSM database so the user could inspect the attribution themselves to reason why it is inaccessible - that could be one way of solving it.

Can anyone think of such read-only db that can navigate to a latlng coords and present nearest ways. Similar to this: http://www.openstreetmap.org/history#map=19/52.52516/13.41019 but not history rather its tip.

Hi Remster,
I contributed bicycle related features and improvements to Graphhopper in the past and going to provide an open source application addressing the same goals. In contrary to your project I’m focusing on offline usage as I know that when one is on the move network connectivity is problematic. The preliminary name of my project is BikeTourPlanner. Its features are described here. There is no release yet as I’m currently waiting for license friction free OSM2Vectortiles data. But the described functionality is available for developer testing.

I am very impressed by the amount of energy which you put into your project, which you seem to be maintaining just on your own. Incredible :sunglasses:! I like your story and would like to discuss ideas about the popularity index you mention, as I did do some experiments with this, but I’m not yet convinced about the value of such a feature.

Your routing engine seems to be sufficiently fast with the load you currently handle. For me the longest possible segment was 700 km which took about 6-8 seconds. But I believe that you will run into load problems quickly when your page becomes more popular. The great thing on your concept is of that one can try it out without the need of downloading data. The suggested routes seem reasonable at first glance, but what I have learned during Graphhopper maintainance that it does take a lot of time and community feedback to discover and improve corner cases.

The colors of the GUI look nice. But for my taste there are little bit too many sliders as mentioned before. I would recommend to provide presets for the most common bicycle type such that not every user needs to start with a preset for e.g. race bike.
Usage of the right mouse key always pops up the default browser popup window for me, this is quite annoying.
The “terms” button on the very right buttom is inaccurate, as you are pointing to your Mapquest tiles provider page. Here you should place your terms.
The feature I like the most is your tutorial and the perfect texts in there. Your English is very good. This must have been a lot of work. Why didn’t you implement this for my application :frowning:

Hi, I checked it out, did some tests, and I like it ‘technically’.
I do not plan to use it, I do not do long-distance trips often and also Slovakia is not covered.
But looks good generally, GUI looks good too, usable, configurable, everything is there.

Sorry for the belated reply - i have been in a trance working on:

(1) relaxing restrictions - so one can choose to be lead on a short stretch and against traffic of one way street or through a pedestrianised stretch - either walking one’s bike or breaking the law (at one’s own discretion - this is the no-nanny bit in my manifesto :wink: - this is now done.

(2) Ctr-Z for important changes - adding/deleting/dragging route points or fiddling with routing preference sliders - this is a working prototype and deployed, but more test are needed.

@MiroJanosik: thank you for the good word - i hope i will find a way to cover more eastern europe.
@ratrun: Thank you as well! This is by far the most encouraging feedback i’ve received to date.

The basic scenario i see here is that there is either:

  • a famous route that just everybody takes because it’s so scenic. Chances are you’re in the area exactly to ride it, but maybe not - maybe you didn’t do your research. Take Canal du Mi’di. Whatever business you have going from Toulouse to Caracassone - i think you may appreciate if this scenic road is discovered for you.
  • that bit in HydePark (sorry i know London too well) that is going between Marble Arch to Hyde Park Corner is by far the nicest way of navigating north<->south London. All Londoners know it and take it. Which is why i hate it (too many muppets on Boris bikes :wink:
    But email me pls if you like to discuss.

Yes. In a way, i’d like to have this problem to solve. The app is trivially scalable - but this of course comes at a cost.

I agree with that. I keep seeing strange things all the time. I also see it as a natural evolution of a product. Gradual improvements keeping the thing useful at all times.

Has anyone mentioned that? What sliders do you see redundant? I could have difficulties defending ‘fewer turns’, but otherwise
i see them (as a cyclist) a quite useful tool-set.

There is one preset provided (‘vanilla bicycle’) and anyone can trivially (i hope) add their own. The sliders aren’t that complicated to play with and playing with them is part of fun. I could offer more presets indeed and I will when i see more people asking for them.

You’re the second person telling me this. Indeed - the default popup is useless here. I could mirror them or I could offer ‘basic’ on left and ‘advanced’ on right. Or could just move everything to the right. Any suggestions here?

Well. I’ve lived in London now most of my adult life (omg, time flies) so it better be.

thanks again