Thursday, 23 July 2015

Data, Data, Everywhere

I'm still waiting on the Amazon delivery, which is starting to grate a bit. I could have done all manner of things so far today, but I've had to stay within striking distance of the front door.

The girls have gone to sleep so I am taking a break from the packing to sort out route planning. Not that we haven't had much of the route sketched out for some time - I could draw much of it from memory now, in the broad sense, but we want to cover off loss of internet signal.
Plotting a route with the ubiquitous Google Maps
In the absence of our usual friend, the generally-but-not-always reliable CTC journey planner, for France, I've drawn up our route in Google 'My Maps', which has given us a file that we can open in Maps.Me, a mapping app which allows you to view and plan routes using OpenStreetMap whilst offline. We haven't decided if we want to pay the data charges in France, given that calls and texts are free on our contract, and in any event there is a good chance that data signal will be as scarce as WiFi. Hopefully, one or two of the places we are staying at will be able to help us out with some connectivity.

Maps.Me, rendering our route on the iPad Mini
Alongside Maps.Me, which we've put on the iPad as well as my iPhone, we have Cyclemeter, a cracking app which I use in conjunction with the speed/cadence sensor on my bike, and sometimes a heart rate monitor. All of us have used this app at different times, including Thomas Ivor, who used it to learn to change gears, by working to a target cadence.Generally, when we're touring, I carry it to record a GPS trace of our actual riding, and keep an eye on the map.

While I was manipulating this dataset, I came across a very useful website,, which not only converted various file formats to suit different apps, but was able to produce gradient profiles, even colouring the line to better indicate the severity of the climb. At least we get the Exe estuary to warm our legs up on, before Devon hots up!

It's quite incredible really, how much data we generate both planning and riding - and the 'Pareto Principle' very much applies. 20 percent of the data available gives you 80% of the information you truly need. Yes, I could map out each climb to look like Mont Ventoux in a Tour de France spectator's guide - but would it help us climb them?

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