We are very pleased to announce another major new feature that we've added to our route planner - Terrain Inspection.
Using the various new Terrain Overlays, you can now instantly get an at-a-glance view of the type of road, surface and gradient along your route. The overlays will automatically update as you plot your route, so you can immediately see if your route goes off-road, changes onto an unmade surface or hits a steep incline - whichever you decide to keep an eye on.
Furthermore, our new Terrain Inspector lets you examine the terrain at any point on the route for an inch-by-inch analysis.
This is an exciting new development that adds a whole new dimension to route planning with plotaroute.com. Our goal has always been to try to offer the most powerful, yet easy to use route planner available, which of course requires a balance between sophistication and simplicity. We therefore try to introduce new powerful features in an unobtrusive way as possible and hopefully we've done that with these latest changes; the new tools provide another layer of analysis for those who want it while hopefully keeping things simple and intuitive for everyone. We hope you'll find them useful.
There are a few additional things to note:
Excellent, thank you
This is a truly excellent and usefull addition! Of course, there are limitations as this is based on data on OpenStreetMap (OSM), but it helps with a serious issue regarding plotting cycle routes .... occassionally, and sometimes often, the routing engine uses footpaths (which are not legal for cyclists in the UK).
See https://www.plotaroute.com/posts/2655/D/1 "I’m using Auto Plot, By Bike, Cycle Map. The route given will sometimes use brown dashed tracks (footpaths), sometimes even if a blue dashed line (cycle path) is available. It seems to ignore green dashed lines (bridleway) as expected."
This new feature does highlight this at the time of plotting a route, and will help to correct those minor errors.
No, I take the last post back! There nis still no difference between a footpath and a cyclepath. REQUEST:
The Terrain Inspector shows a cyclepath (blue dashes) as "Cycleway" and a footpath (brown dashes) as a "Footway". Could this be used as a differentiator, so that a change in colour can highlight the change in “Road Type”?
If the routing engine can’t be used to limit cycling to cycle ways (ie, noit use footpaths), maybe the Map Inspector could be used to highlight them as the route is plotted.
Thanks for the suggestions Mark. Can you share an example route where you're seeing the auto-plot By Bike on footpaths and we'll look into that? Now that we're no longer using Google Maps we have more flexibility with routing and may be able to add additional restrictions.
Sure, I'll reply by email!
It would sometimes be useful to see terrain on saved routes (a workaround is obviously to just re-edit it - I see terrain in the editor even without actually re-plotting) but even more usefully to be able to change the colours used for each surface type for more contrast between each terrain (e.g. red/blue) and/or with the base map. But this is indeed already an excellent piece of additional functionality.
That's a good idea Garry, I think we always intended to add some of the Terrain features to the View Route page as well as when editing a route, but it was more tricky from a design point of view and then other things got in the way. Thanks for the reminder. The colours already look quite high contrast though - which one's are causing you a problem?
Dark blue or black for road, dark green for off-road - I'd prefer one of them to be red. I know red's used for gradient but you can only display one type of terrain at a time so using the same three colours that are currently used for gradient for the other types would be helpful, to me at least.
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