« Cyclopath Tutorial: Part 1 | Main | Cyclopath Tutorial Part 3: Editing the Map »

Cyclopath Tutorial Part 2: Rating and Finding Routes

The fastest way to start using Cyclopath and getting some benefit out of it is using its route finder feature. It’s also one of the features that most users are already accustomed to thanks to other popular route finders. Let’s take a look at how to use the route finder.

On the left side of the interface, you will find the “Routes? panel:

tutorial2a.JPG

At first, until we ask it to find a route, it will be empty. By clicking on the “Find New Route? button, you will be presented with the following popup:

tutorial2b.JPG

Inputting addresses to search for here is pretty straightforward. But there are three more things to be aware of. First, besides addresses, you can also search for points. Points are those locations of interests that can be found throughout the map. For example, in the following screenshot, Mariucci Arena, Williams Arena, and TCF Bank Stadium are all points. This means that you can find routes to them by writing their names instead of street addresses.

tutorial2c.JPG

The second thing to be aware of is the sliders at the bottom. One says Bikeability and the other says Distance. Cyclopath has a few ways of measuring bikeability, which we will talk about a little more later in this post. You can ask the route finder to find a route that is more bikeable or a route that is shorter.

The third thing to be aware of is that this interface may change somewhat in the near feature. As we are still in Beta development, some really cool features are currently in development. So stay on the lookout for these cool changes!

After you write in your source and destination addresses, click on the “Find? button to get your route. (click on the image to view a larger version)

tutorial2d.JPG

You will get the route displayed on the map and the directions (included distance of each step) on the left. You can get a nice, printable version of the directions by clicking on the “Printer Friendly? button.

Now, let’s get back to bikeability. How is bikeability computed? The base case is based on a formula that takes into account aspects of the blocks such as usable shoulder space. Now comes the fun part. You can affect this computation by rating blocks. That’s right. How you rate blocks will change how the route finder computes bikeability. If you rate a block as excellent, the route finder will give that block preference. If you rate a block as poor, it will be penalized by the route finder. You can even rate a block as impassable to have the route finder avoid it altogether. By the way, for blocks you haven’t rated, if a reasonable amount of other users have rated it, their averaged rating will be given priority over the base formula. Cool, isn’t it? Now, let me show you where to apply the ratings:

tutorial2e.JPG

When you click on a block, the Item Details panel will open. Here, you will be able to see the estimated rating of the block and the option for giving it your own ratings. Keep in mind that you have to be logged in to use this feature, so be sure to register! Once you have rated a block, all you have to do is save changes and your ratings are ready to be used the next time you search for a route.

tutorial2f.JPG

By the way, blocks you have rated will be colored differently depending on the rating you give them. Check the Map Key at the bottom of the map to see which colors correspond to which ratings.

tutorial2g.JPG

Now you should know how to rate blocks and find routes. Have fun rating!

Comments

The route finding feature is quite reminiscent of other route finders like Google Maps and MapQuest. It's easy to see how users would get accustomed to using this feature quickly. It looks good.