Why Use VeloMap maps for cycling?

  • High Contrast layout optimized for small size screen of Garmin GPS (1.8-4"). Clear differentiation between all street types. Separate low contrast Layout for tour planning on your PC/desktop.
  • Paved or Unpaved? Easy to spot road type. Bridges and tunnels shown. Cycle tracks and cycle lanes shown. Arrows for one way streets...... See the map legend for more.
  • Cycle relevant information like drinking water, city bike stations or bicycle shops searchable and shown prominently.
  • Cycle routes shown prominently BESIDES the streets differentiated by colour and size based on importance (other maps show cycle routes instead of streets so that you don't know what kind of street the route is on, bad for planning).
  • Navigation - Highly sophisticated Autorouting specialised for cycling. Don't cycle on big streets anymore because you got lost. The VeloMap focuses very strictly on road cycling, commuting and touring/trekking. Maps trying to focus for many purposes can never be as good.
  • Easy installation to Garmin Mapsource, Garmin Basecamp or Qlandkarte GT for on PC planning.
  • Good Documentation because everything you want and need to know for using the maps is found on VeloMap.org
  • Contourlines based on the best free (as in beer) data - viewfinderpanoramas.org - as separate download for most countries. Much higher quality in mountainous regions than the mostly used void filled SRTM3".
  • Map Incomplete? You can participate and Add missing to Openstreetmap. Every Week the maps become better and more complete! If you think anything "bicycle relevant" features are missing (but recorded and documented in OSM), drop a comment and I will try to add it.

 

New Here?:

Lots of information, don't get lost, Get Started!

 

Navigation - Find the shortest nice route -- or find the most cyclefriendly route.

Garmin offerst two seperate Autorouting modes supported by all GPS and Software. Shorter Distance will actually be shorter than on any other Garmin map I have tried (even though high traffic streets are avoided). Faster time finds nicer routes with even less traffic and makes some detours if needed. Autorouting using  Mapsource 6.16 or Basecamp v3 up to 200km trip distance without via-points. Around 100-150km with Oregon/Dakota/2010_Generation_etrex/GPSmaps. If you route over longer distances, cities are avoided except for cycleroutes crossing cities.  

Map Layout

Clean map layout 100% optimized for readability on GPS. Be assured that on the GPS maps therefore are very well readable. As for desktop use the layout has too much contrast, there is a second layout optimized for planning with Mapsource/Basecamp/Qlandkarte GT.

 

You can Improve the Maps!!

These maps are based on the freely available wikipedia like Openstreetmap Map Database. You should consider uploading your GPS tracks to openstreetmap and/or help out if you find errors or missing data.  There is a short introduction here listing the most relevant links to get you startet: Participate  

Who can make use of the maps?

The maps offered here are of course, currently primarily used by Garmin GPS users, but you don't need to have a Garmin GPS to use them. Qlandkarte GT an opensource and freely available Map Viewer can display them in all their pride, and also if not owning a Garmin GPS or buying maps from Garmin you can install the free Garmin Basecamp or Mapsource software and enjoy autorouting like you have not enjoyed before.  

Need a map for Mountainbiking or Hiking?

Head over to https://openmtbmap.org and get it. Whereas the Velomap showss non paved tracks and trails in very subtle colors, on the openmtbmap you can see difficulty gradings both for Up- and Downhill. Also mtb and hikingroutes are prominently shown.  

11. October 2021 – VeloMap Updates – New Fenix Layout and much more

The past few months most of the work has been done on optimizing the map creation and on updating things on the website and website server. After a broken power supply fan caused the websites to be down for 20 hours in August I decided that I should, after 4.5 years migrate the website to a new server (server hardware is usually good for about 5 years of 24/7 use - then it should be replaced as failures are becoming likely). The broken fan on the PSU was really troublesome as the server provider did not find it first as the server would run just fine in rescue mode - but overheat quickly in real use then shut down. I then decided to also upgrade the map compilation server and optimize a lot of processes (e.g. I noticed that the map compilation was causing way too many writes to the NVME disks and had to optimize many steps and move things to ramdisk away from NVME in order to not prematurely destroy the NVME drives. This excessive writes became apparent with the introduction of the 10m contourlines, and the VeloMap buildings layer).

Also I reworked the whole map creation to create bigger tiles so that you can install larger areas to your devices without suddenly missing an area without any notice because of hitting the 2048 or 4096 tile limit. Devices with 4096 or higher possible tile limit should now be fine with map tiles averaging around 8-10MB (so 4096*8 >> 32GB sd card limit of Garmin devices). I still recommend to only install 6-8GB of maps to a device for speed at boot and search functions (deactivating a map in the GPS device menu does not help with speed of boot or search) but bigger tiles are always a good thing.

 

Besides countless bugfixes I also worked on a map layout compatible with the 64 colour display of the Fenix 5/6 watches. This was rather complicated as the Fenix watches not only, only have 64 colours - but many of them are hard to distinguish while other colours are so low in contrast that they are hardly visible. I've listened to both user feedback and also got a Fenix 6x to work on it locally. The resulting colours are a bit different from the other maps - and look horrible on Mac/Windows PCs - but work pretty well on the watch itself. Yes the map display on the Fenix cannot compete with dedicated devices - but with the optimized layout it works pretty well to not get lost. Planning a route or a track on the Fenix is pretty cumbersome - but following a route/track downloaded from the net / created in Basecamp works very well now.

 

Here are some pictures of the map with the new fenix layout - reflecting pretty accurately how the maps look in reality (the sunlight is already a bit low, with stronger sun contrast is better, in shadow contrast is worse - as normal for Garmin transreflective displays):

100m fenix 6x  800m fenix6x pro

120m fenix 6x fenix 6x pro

Notice how the vivid the colors are on the screenshots - other Garmin GPS devices do not have such a huge difference in screenshot vs real life.

 

 

So I had to really look for the poppiest of the 64 colors to get a nice rendering. I actually feel the problem is the pretty high DPI of the Fenix watches. they reflect sunlight much worse due to high DPI - with say 60% the resolution things would still be very sharp from normal viewing distance - but with better contrast (Still the Fenix 6x is really good for hiking - for mtbiking I think it is a backup only. The screen is simply too tiny.  For hiking it's great and much better than other smartwatches due to the great battery life - which could not be achieved with OLED display). Also due to the high DPI the Fenix layout now uses the widest lines I've ever used. E.g. contourlines are 2 pixels wide instead of 1.

 

 

While many people really like the new layouts introduced in July - others preferred the higher contrast of the old layout style. So I backported some important improvements to the old wide/clas layout and they are now included as wide legacy and clas legacy layout. With the introduction of the Fenix layout and the legacy layout I decided to retire the thin layout - however I optimized the clas and clas legacy layout to work better on some older edge devices which before were used best with the thin layout. I cannot maintain too many layouts so the thin layout had to go. Also I spent many hours optimizing the contrast on the new modern (yellow streets) layout so it's easier to differentiate bigger from smaller roads.

 

And another big update that is visible to all VeloMap users - I decided to move the buildings into a separate layer for the VeloMap just like the contourlines. Before I had gradually decreased the buildings shown to improve map drawing speed on GPS devices and a better contrast for the rest of the map - but it is hard to satisfy everyone here. Some people want to see buildings, others feel they slow down the map in bigger cities as well as simply not needing them. Now you can chose to display them or not and activate/deactivate them just like the contourlines. I guess that most OpenMTBMap users want buildings - so for the OpenMTBMaps they buildings are not in a separate layer. 

 

There are quite a few more fixes on the installer - e.g. the size calculation of maps to be installed was wrong for maps with .7z files for inclusion. Or for some months highway=footway in the OpenMTBMap by default was only routable for foot. I had made a mistake there causing this bug some time ago. Natural=stone (France only) and natural=rock, natural=valley, natural=gorge as well was some other new OSM keys are now displayed. Also I worked on optimising other outdoor features like ridges, couloirs and aretes

The batch/bash files had not been fully compatible with 10m contourlines. 

 

Personally my left knee is creating me big problems and I hope I can soon get stem cell cartilage (ACT) replacement - as I hope not to need a knee replacement not even being 40 years. But my past bad crashes from snowboarding and skiing, amongst 3 ACL replacements and a lot of meniscus removed have rendered my knee unable to do many sports. I hope to return stronger than every before during the last years but this will take quite some time to heal. 

 

28.07.2021 – New Wide_Easy Layout for VeloMap

Yesterdays post was about the general improvements to the layout of the OpenMTBMaps and VeloMaps. Todays post is about the new easy layout for the VeloMap (based on wide layout - as most users now have GPS devices where the wide looks better than the classic layout due to higher DPI). The OpenMTBMap had since many years an easy layout - with less detail (though based on classic not wide before the updates). For the VeloMaps - which do not need to show strong differentiation for offroad trails - this was not so much needed. Especially as there existed already the "race" layout - for racing bicycle which is heavily reduced and only shows important information for people using racing bicycles.

However quite a few people never took time or are not interested to know if there is a cycletrack/cycleway running alongside a road. Nor do they want the best contrast or are they interested in knowing if there is a footway or a pedestrian street. Or if some street is considered a service street or a residential street. The easy layout does not show those differences and keeps it simple. The colours of the steets is similar to google maps - while trying to still maximise contrast on your screen but without changing the colours too much.

It still differentiates long distance cycleroutes from regional/local cycleroutes. Why do I consider this essential? Well if you follow along for example the "EV6" - commonly known as Danube Cycle Path / Rivers Route you don't want to be confused at intersections with many regional cycle routes which route is the EV6 and which is the regional one. Yes I already render the long distance ones thicker - but I still consider that the colour should be different. So International and National cycle routes are shown in blue, while regional ones are shown in black (this is not only applying to the easy layout, but to all VeloMap layouts).

 

The principle to understanding the map colours is still very easy - streets also for cars are shown in bright colour. Pathes that are either not allowed for cycling - or more suited for mountain bikes only due to bad surface - are shown thinly or in brown colour. Black/dotted black is used for pathes/streets with good surface and usually no / not much cars. Very thin dotted black are used for unknown way quality (often private pathes or access to houses)

 

So let me show you some Screenhots of old vs new, or just the new easy layout:

 

First an old screenshot of the VeloMap Austria - Park Schönbrunn in the wide layout.

vs the improved new wide layout - the big differentiation here is that I show national parks and similar now only transparent in green - not overlaying anymore. Plus toned down the buildings and sports places:

and finally the much simpler easy layout. Note that in the top right - the wide layout shows the cyclepath on the Mariahilfer Straße (light blue dots) - which are left out in the easy layout - also of course the different colour scheme for roads:

 

Some more examples:

A good overview of the street colours in the easy layout for the VeloMap. Motorways and trunk roads are in orange. Primary/Secondary/Tertiary roads are shown in yellow - Primary roads in the most flashy yellow - while tertiary are thinner and in a less bright yellow. The EV6 and EV9 in blue, regional cycle routes in black.

The Danube in Vienna - and the blue EV6 danube cycle path. Sadly I cannot easily influence which lines are shown on top of each other. The garmin map format is not supporting a layering/ordering of lines. So the blue marking for the cyclepath sometimes disappears behind other roads. This is especially happening if in OSM parallel ways are mapped as separate ways - instead of using the cyclelane/cycletrack keys. Zoom in further to avoid confusion.

70m easy - at 70m for most cases it becomes very easy to follow the cycle routes. Also good to see here - the difference in oneway arrows. The ones made up of two triangles besides the road - are only for cars. While the ones consisting of a thinner single arrow are valid for all vehicles including bicycles. Tell me in a comment here if you would prefer I do not show oneway arrows that only apply to cars in the easy layout. I am a bit unsure about it. Do you still want to know this (usually you have to ride much more careful if only cyclists are allowed to go in the opposite direction - and the danger of being in an accident is a lot higher) Or should I leave those arrows out in the easy layout and only show oneway arrows that apply for both cyclists and cars?