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Cyclopath Tutorial: Part 1

I am really enjoying the project I am working on, Cyclopath. It’s an awesome geowiki for cyclists in the Twin Cities. But for the first time user, it may be a lot to take in. It has a lot of neat features that most people don’t expect to see together (e.g. map editing and route finding). So I decided to dedicate my next few posts to explaining the basics of Cyclopath. I won’t cover all there is to say about it (that’s what the user manual is for), but I’ll try to focus on the most important aspects. Also, Cyclopath is still in Beta, so new features and changes occur frequently. Anyway, this should still prove to be useful. Enjoy!

Part 1: Getting Around Cyclopath

Cyclopath is at its core simply a map. That is why the most obvious thing you will notice when you visit it will be a map of the Twin Cities. Everything revolves around this map. After you have located the map (shouldn’t take you more than a few milliseconds) you can then start focusing on all the other awesome stuff lying around. Here’s an overview of some of the stuff you’ll find (labeled on the picture below for your convenience):

A) Help Button – If you get stuck, this is the place to go! This opens a new window with help information.
Log in/ Register Button – You can use Cyclopath even if you’re not registered, but that’s no fun. Please register!
B) Item Details Panel – This panel displays information about blocks (as in road segments) and points (as in locations of interest). It remains empty until you select a block or point.
C) I’ll talk about these other panels in later tutorials. For now, just take my word that they’re very useful!
D) The map, just in case you couldn’t find it.
E) Navigation – You can move around the map by either dragging it or using the navigation buttons here on the upper left. The plus and minus buttons are for zooming in and out, respectively.
F) Editing tools – Since this is a geowiki, it means that you can edit the map. That’s right. You can change information, points, and even the road segments themselves as you see necessary (try not to vandalize though). The set of tools on the upper right are used for editing, but we’ll delay the explanation of these tools for another tutorial. For now, all we need is the select tool.
G) More Tools – These are a few settings and tools. You can save any of your changes here. The four checkboxes toggle connectivity (which shows you which blocks are connected to which blocks), Watch Regions (we’ll talk about this later), Aerial Photos (so you can see what the map really looks like), and Sticky Intersections (we’ll talk about this later too).
H) Map Key – If you forget what some of the colors and shapes mean, just click on the map key for a refresher.

cyclopath1.jpg

Viewing Item Details

When you are zoomed close enough, you can click on points and blocks to view their details. The screenshot below shows what that looks like.
A) A selected block – When you select a block, it is highlighted with blue and all its vertices are shown. Its information is then shown on the left.
B) Points are in the shape of circles. They too can be selected to display their information.
C) Name - The name of the block or point, which usually shows on the map.
D) Type – For blocks, you can select the road type.
E) Flags – Some more options to set for blocks.
F) Ratings – We’ll talk about this more in the next part of the tutorial, but basically this is where you rate blocks.
G) All blocks and points can have notes associated with them. This is where you can see and edit these notes. Blocks that have notes appear on the map highlighted with purple.

cyclopath2.jpg

If you’re a new user, then you probably aren’t interested or confident enough to start editing right away. Take some time to explore the map, clicking on different byways and points to see their information.
I hope this brief introduction helps. Let me know in the comments section if you have any questions!

Comments

Interesting... Being so far from the Twin Cities, I'd probably have no use for it, but it certainly looks very interesting and useful... you should do a geowiki of the Hudson Valley next...

Was looking for info on that. I wrote it off as yet another price, but I'm going to consider it yet again.