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Veloviewer map - explorer tiles

Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 12:05 pm
by benp1
Following my recent sign up to Veloviewer I've been having great fun looking at my explorer score and in particular my max square. I've done a few rides to go to new area and pick up new tiles, and I'm enjoying going to new areas. Particularly in London as there are some real hidden/less-known gems around

But planning the route is more hassle than normal route planning. For the latter I'd whip out an OS map and have a look at the routes, then jump onto bikehike and stick it in. Then upload to GPS and off I go

To plan my veloviewer routes I'm doing the following

Beforehand
- using Veloviewer to find which tiles I haven't done (which isn't that easy when you're colour blind, it's shading rather than obvious colouring!)
- zoom in enough to find the tiles
- go to google maps, on the cycling function, and look for fun routes
- switch VV map between landscape, open steet and open cycling maps
- switch VV map to landscape and print screen
- dump into powerpoint
- draw lines on the map (in powerpoint) so I can see which tile is which, otherwise not obvious when printing out. (Originally used ruler and pencil on the print out but this seemed bonkers)
- print off map
- draw route on map with pen

During the ride
- use the paper map to follow the route
- keep checking google maps on my phone to work out where I am as the scale on the VV print out map is rubbish and there are no road names etc
- check that if I'm taking a detour or a different route that I'm in or out of a VV square

Part of my likes the geekery of the map and planning bit, the other part feels like it's hard work for a relatively short ride (say 20-40 miles)

I am enjoying using a ‘real’ map, even though it’s a crappy print screen, but the detail on the map isn’t great. I could zoom in a lot when print screening so that road names show up, but I’d have to have SO many screen shots to cover the ride that it would take me even longer. I could also use a normal map, but as the VV tiles aren’t indicated it’s hard to change route on the fly and know if I’m in or out of a tile

Is there any way to get a better quality map with the VV lines showing, or speeding up the process above? For example, can I get the Open street/cycle map on my GPS/iPhone with the map tile squares showing up?

Re: Veloviewer map - explorer tiles

Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 12:17 pm
by chris n
Veloviewer extension for Chrome allows you to plan routes in Strava with Explorer squares visible on the OSM map.
Strava app on your phone to follow pre-planned routes, or download GPX file from Strava to use on your GPS.

Re: Veloviewer map - explorer tiles

Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 12:21 pm
by Richard G
Is Strava still completely useless for doing off road routes?

As for how I've been doing it. Acetate on my screen (with a grid) then using GPSies at the appropriate zoom level. Old skool tech! lol

I don't actually know of any mapping sites (aside from the Strava addon mentioned above) that will show you.

Re: Veloviewer map - explorer tiles

Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 12:24 pm
by ScotRoutes
chris n wrote:Veloviewer extension for Chrome allows you to plan routes in Strava with Explorer squares visible on the OSM map.
Strava app on your phone to follow pre-planned routes, or download GPX file from Strava to use on your GPS.
The other approach I've used for some squares is to draw the outline of them (using the Veloviewer Chrome extension) as a route, then transfer that to my Oregon. I make that route visible on the screen (I use the OS mapping on the Oregon). Then I can just wander about and I know when I'm getting close to/in one of the areas I've been targeting. This is particularly useful when there is no track of any sort on the map and I might have to make the route up on the hoof (e.g. I discover a huge bog that I need to go around).

That outline route I created using the Chrome extension can also be imported into Basecamp. Then I can plan an actual route to go into it.

Re: Veloviewer map - explorer tiles

Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 12:30 pm
by Blair512
I just use the strava chrome extension and it works ok. Missing 4 squares that are in the local docks and you can't past the guard house. Just found out my work delivers there regularly so I'm going to take the next delivery and smuggle my bike in the back of the van!

Re: Veloviewer map - explorer tiles

Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 12:32 pm
by whitestone
The VV lines are actually part of Google maps on which it's based.

Not sure how much you know about Google maps but here's a quick explanation.

GM uses "tiles" to display maps. Each tile is an image that is 256x256 pixels in size so can be manipulated in the browser using the same method that the web developer uses to size text, put in background images, etc. This is called CSS and you can apply overrides locally via something called the user stylesheet. You need to find out what the developer has called the google maps object on the site and then add something like this to the stylesheet:

Code: Select all

.googlemap .img {
  border: solid blue 2px;
}
To find out what the developer has called things you either view source or use the developer tools that most browsers ship with these days, one of the tools lets you "inspect" the style applied to each element.

So go to bikehike and apply something like the above and you'll get borders on the tiles so when plotting a route you'll be able to tell if your route passes through a tile.

Edit: the VV chrome extension probably does the above.

Re: Veloviewer map - explorer tiles

Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 12:40 pm
by Richard G
It's actually based on Open Street Maps. Zoom level 14.

But yeah, I do as I always do with routes. GPX to Garmin Edge, follow line.

Re: Veloviewer map - explorer tiles

Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 12:42 pm
by whitestone
Richard G wrote:It's actually based on Open Street Maps. Zoom level 14.
Brain fart :roll:

Re: Veloviewer map - explorer tiles

Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 12:46 pm
by Chew
Its all on the Blog
http://blog.veloviewer.com/

Its the ingenuity shown by Blair which makes this great :-bd

Re: Veloviewer map - explorer tiles

Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 1:21 pm
by Richard G
It's a brilliant little feature. Have found all sorts of stuff locally because of it.

Re: Veloviewer map - explorer tiles

Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 1:24 pm
by benp1
Yep, really like it, genius really. Gets harder to increase the max square too. When I started my max square was 8x8, I’m up to 12x12 now. I can get to 13x13 without a huge amount of effort I think, getting above that is going to take more work/time – that’s where I’d like for all this mapping/planning to come into play. Unfortunately my VV score has dropped as I’ve hit more segments and I’m only pottering but I’m not too fussed about that - I’m more of a bimbler/pootler than a racer

I can’t get the chrome extension to work as I tend to use my work laptop and it’s blocked. I can stick it on my own laptop but it’s a fair bit slower. Couple of quick questions
1- Do I need to have strava premium to be able to do the route planning in strava?
2- Even if I did plan it in strava, when it comes to route following if I wanted to take a different route while I’m out, I’m assuming that the map tile borders don’t show so I can’t work out if I’ve hit a square or not?

Scotroutes – your plan sounds pretty ingenious (though I still need the Chrome extension). Does mean that I need to use Garmin basemap to plan the route, I usually use bikehike to plan routes and I suppose I’m stuck with not being able to use that in this case

Poor old me, I’d like a paper map with the map tiles on so I don’t HAVE to follow the line and be able to go down a path/road/track that looks fun, even though following the line is usually what I end up doing!

Bob – I’m glad you had a brain fart as I was trying to work out how I’d actually manage that!

Re: Veloviewer map - explorer tiles

Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 1:31 pm
by NorwayCalling
So why is veloviewer worth its £10 a year...?

Re: Veloviewer map - explorer tiles

Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 1:41 pm
by whitestone
Ben the BF was my confusion between Google Maps and OSM as pointed out by Richard.

Why is VV worth £10/year? Why is anything worth anything? Unlike Strava where you get pretty much most of what you'd want on the free account (I think comparison between similarly aged riders is about the only thing I would want from the Premium version for example), the free version of VV is quite limited, you can only look at 25 activites for example. A tenner a year for all the work that's gone into it isn't that much really, I'm happy to pay but then I'm a bit of a geek :oops:

Re: Veloviewer map - explorer tiles

Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 1:42 pm
by Chew
1- Do I need to have strava premium to be able to do the route planning in strava?
No
2- Even if I did plan it in strava, when it comes to route following if I wanted to take a different route while I’m out, I’m assuming that the map tile borders don’t show so I can’t work out if I’ve hit a square or not?
Dont think so. I do something similar to Colin and draw the squares as a .gpx and make sure I ride into them.

Not knowing if you have/have not achieved the square until you get home is sometimes half the fun :-bd


Completely worth £10 a year.
You can try the free version (limited to your last 25 rides), to see if you like it. Much more functionality than Strava Premium at a fraction of the cost.

Re: Veloviewer map - explorer tiles

Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 1:49 pm
by whitestone
Chew wrote:
Not knowing if you have/have not achieved the square until you get home is sometimes half the fun :-bd
Indeed. There's that "Oh, fek!" moment when you realise that you turned down the wrong lane.

I've a few isolated squares that I need to visit to start upping my score - currently I've three 8x8 blocks in progress. Unfortunately one of them will involve the A65 :|

Re: Veloviewer map - explorer tiles

Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 1:52 pm
by ScotRoutes
benp1 wrote: Does mean that I need to use Garmin baseCAMP to plan the route, I usually use bikehike to plan routes and I suppose I’m stuck with not being able to use that in this case
Anything that lets you see multiple routes on screen at the same time would do.

Of course, you can also print out the map from Basecamp (and other systems) so if you plot the outlines of the squares as your route you'd then have a map showing them.

Re: Veloviewer map - explorer tiles

Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 2:08 pm
by Richard G
NorwayCalling wrote:So why is veloviewer worth its £10 a year...?
Data porn.

Re: Veloviewer map - explorer tiles

Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 2:21 pm
by benp1
NorwayCalling wrote:So why is veloviewer worth its £10 a year...?
As many have already said - the data analysis is amazing

I haven't signed up to Strava Premium as I wouldn't use the functionality offered so it isn't worth it. VV offers similar stuff but the way the website works means you can overdose on the data

Things like seeing your own heatmap, combined with the map tiles, and different map backgrounds, means I can go to areas I haven't been before. Though planning it out isn't as straightforward as I'd like (see above!!)
Chew wrote:Dont think so. I do something similar to Colin and draw the squares as a .gpx and make sure I ride into them.

Not knowing if you have/have not achieved the square until you get home is sometimes half the fun
The not knowing part is quite fun, but I'd be a bit irritated if I missed one too! :grin:
ScotRoutes wrote:Anything that lets you see multiple routes on screen at the same time would do.

Of course, you can also print out the map from Basecamp (and other systems) so if you plot the outlines of the squares as your route you'd then have a map showing them.
Can you draw the lines in something like BikeHike without the Chrome Extension? The lines are a good idea

Re: Veloviewer map - explorer tiles

Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 2:27 pm
by Chew
Can you draw the lines in something like BikeHike without the Chrome Extension? The lines are a good idea
Its way easier in Strava Route Builder if you switch it to 'manual'

Re: Veloviewer map - explorer tiles

Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 2:30 pm
by Bearbonesnorm
Bear with me please ... I know nothing.

Just signed up with VV, where are these squares to be found?

See, told you - nothing :wink:

Re: Veloviewer map - explorer tiles

Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 2:33 pm
by Chew
Go into 'Activities'
Switch from 'list' to 'map' (top right hand corner)
Tick the 'explorer' button an the bottom and zoom in.

You'll see the squares you've passed through, for the rides you've recorded in strava


I'm assuming you've gone via 'update' to extract the data from strava first?

Re: Veloviewer map - explorer tiles

Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 2:42 pm
by Bearbonesnorm
Brilliant, ta.

Re: Veloviewer map - explorer tiles

Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 2:43 pm
by Bearbonesnorm
I'm assuming you've gone via 'update' to extract the data from strava first?
Well, all the info's there and there's lots of squares on the map, so I assume so :wink:

Re: Veloviewer map - explorer tiles

Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 2:46 pm
by Chew
Ah, it might do that automatically when you first register.
After every ride you'd have to update it.

Plenty of options for type 2 exploring :-bd

Re: Veloviewer map - explorer tiles

Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 3:01 pm
by Richard G
I went up a hill on the Winter Ride Thing just to go down it again. lol

Gotta get dem squares.