Ordnance Survey creates Boardman-fronted Tour de France in England mapping app

Ordnance Survey has teamed up with Olympic gold medallist Chris Boardman to launch a free smartphone app to help cyclists experience the routes that will be used in the English stages of the Tour de France in July.

OS Ride features detailed routes of the first three stages of the Tour de France. The app uses Ordnance Survey’s detailed outdoor mapping, enabling cyclists to navigate and track their progress.

OS Ride is supported by Chris Boardman MBE, who said: “The Tour de France is one of the most challenging events in the sporting calendar and I am really looking forward to it visiting Great Britain in 2014. With OS Ride all cyclists can experience the thrill of the stages for themselves, whilst using trusted and accurate maps from Ordnance Survey.”

OS Ride contains mapping for all three British stages of the 2014 event which take place on 5, 6, 7 July 2014, as well as high quality route maps for historic stages of the tour when the world’s most famous cycle race came to Great Britain in 2007, 1994 and 1974. Each stage has also been split into shorter segments.

The new app also includes five other routes, selected by Boardman, featuring some of his favourite rides from across the country, including Aviemore, Lyme Regis, Llandegla, the Peak District and the Lake District.

OS Ride allows cyclists to track their progress, speed, distance and time as well as displaying accurate height data showing the elevation across all the routes. OS Ride also allows cyclists to share their ride via social media.

Chris Boardman added: “OS Ride allows keen cyclists to record, track and share their stage achievements for both the 2014 stages and historic stages from previous tours. I especially like the option to ride smaller segments of the stages, making it accessible for a wide range of abilities and a great tool to support training programmes. This app is a must have for any keen road cyclist with unrivalled mapping accuracy showing added detail including height and elevation data. The digital maps also feature valuable tourist information for those planning to make the most from the areas surrounding the tour stages.”

Cycle satnav app now finds British Cycling clubs as well as bike shops

Bike Hub’s cycling satnav smartphone app finds quickest or quietest cycle routes & now geo-locates nearest cycling clubs, too.

The Bike Hub cycling satnav app for iPhones and Androids finds quickest or quietest cycle routes in UK and Ireland. It was released in 2010 and has always been able to geo-locate a user’s nearest bike shops (and navigate them there). The latest version of the app – version 3.3, released last week – now also locates the nearest British Cycling clubs. This is to support the Bicycle Association/Bike Hub sponsorship of Go-Ride, British Cycling’s youth cycling programme.

The media has recently reported on cyclists routed on to motorways. This is probably because the cyclists were using car-centric satnav apps. Bike Hub is cycle-specific. The cycle routing is done via Cyclestreets of Cambridge. This A to B bicycle journey planning website uses mathematical graph theory algorithms to quickly work out great bike routes. It uses OpenCycleMap, a cycle-specific map based on the community-generated OpenStreetMap.

The Bike Hub satnav uses roads and cycle paths, including Sustrans’ off-road bike routes. The app – provided free of charge by the industry organisation, the Bicycle Association – features turn-by-turn navigation, with voice instructions and vibrating alerts. Bike Hub recommends a user operates the app with a handlebar smartphone cradle. These are now widely available in bike shops and in gadget stores.

National Rail Enquiries app gets a cycling-info upgrade

The Association of Train Operating Companies’ has worked with National Rail Enquiries to upgrade its app – available free for iPhone and Android – so that people planning to cycle to a rail station or take their bike on a train can get the information they need in a couple of clicks.

The new function is an update to the existing app. It provides information on cycling facilities at stations, such as cycle parking; the rules for taking bikes on trains of different rail companies; the number of cycle spaces on the train; and whether it’s necessary reserve a space for a bike.

The app upgrade is a joint project by the Cycle Rail Working Group and has been funded by ATOC, the Enabling Innovation Team, the Department for Transport and, via the Bicycle Association of Great Britain’s Bike Hub levy fund. The app has been developed and tested in partnership with CTC and Sustrans.

Train operators have varying levels of demand and capacity for carrying bikes and so have different regulations and restrictions. The new function will make it easier for people to check cycle carriage rules and plan their journey and will encourage more people to cycle to and from rail stations.

Conrad Haigh, Head of Integrated Transport at ATOC, said: “Cycling in Britain is booming and the rail industry is playing a key role in its success, as more people than ever want to cycle to the station. Bike facilities on the rail network are improving all the time and it is important that cycle-rail passengers know what facilities are available.”

Since 2009, the number of cycle parking spaces at rail stations has more than doubled to over 53,000, with plans to add almost 16,000 further spaces by the end of 2015. Over the same period, the number of cycle-rail journeys made has increased by 14 million to a record 39 million a year.

Bike Hub app could be plugged by Apple in Maps for iOS6

At Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference, held earlier this week in San Francisco, Apple announced it was to unbundle Google Maps from future iPhones and use its own Maps software instead. This program will have turn by turn navigation for motorists but turn by turn navigation for cycling and walking would be left to third-party apps.

Apple’s iOS software chief Scott Forstall said:

“When building Maps, we looked around and realised the best transit apps for metros, for hiking, for biking, are coming from our developers. And so instead of trying to develop those ourselves, we are going to integrate and feature and promote apps for transit [and cycling and walking] right within the Maps app in iOS 6.”

Bike Hub’s iPhone cycle satnav app could take advantage of Apple’s promise. Currently the app uses OpenStreetMap and OS mapping.

Release notes included with the first developer beta of iOS 6 describe how apps could integrate with Maps:

“Apps that offer routing information, such as turn-by-turn navigation services, can now register as a routing app and make those services available to the entire system.

“Registering as a routing app gives you more opportunities to get your app in front of users. Routing apps are not limited to just driving or walking directions. Routing apps can also include apps that provide directions for the user’s favorite bicycle or hiking trail, for air routes, and for subway or other public transportation lines.”

Cycle satnav app: a video ‘how to’ guide

A video describing the functions, and benefits, of the Bike Hub cycle satnav app has been uploaded to YouTube. The eight-minute video stresses that cyclists can easily find quiet – or quick – routes using the Android or iPhone versions of the app.

The Bike Hub app uses clever routing algorithms from Cyclestreets to work out the best routes for cyclists, either A to B in towns or A to A for circular cycle tours.

The video describes a ‘search and rescue’ function of the app: the ability to quickly locate, and be navigated, to bike shops.

The app is free and was paid by the Bike Hub levy.