“Do you have a planned route?”, “How do you know where you are going?”
These are two questions I’m constantly asked when talking about cycle touring. The truth is most of the time the route is made up on the go, constantly changing and adapting to the variables of the situation. Weather, the people you meet, travel tips, traffic, and places to see, all play a role in deciding which road to take. Sure, Katie and I have a rough idea of what we
want to see while in Turkey which you can see on our initial plan map, but how we get from A to B will be made up as we go. In order to quickly adapt to a new situation maps are obviously useful. Unlike my previous tour in 2009 where I carried a bunch of paper maps, or bought them along the way, this trip we join the paperless world and attempt to go completely digital. Here is how we plan to do it.
Digital Version of Turkey Map
This was originally my paper map of Turkey from the 2009 ride. In the 3 weeks it was used on the road, it took quite a beating and there is no way it would have survived this trip, so I cut it up and scanned all the sections. Using Apple FileApp application Katie and I will be able to view the images in detail.
Google Maps are so detailed these days (for most countries), that anyone with an apple or android device can find their way. However, there is a flaw to this method of mapping – you need an internet connection or 3G/4G. Also, Google Maps does not allow the ability to store large amounts of map information offline. To get around the problem of making maps available offline I found a neat little application called MyMaps.
MyMaps uses OpenStreetMaps (the wikipedia for maps) to store specific sections of a map. I first used this application to naviagate around Kuala Lumpur on a vacation in Malaysia and it worked great. It also has a great little feature that imports maps I have made from my Google Maps account allowing me to see the planned Turkey route offline. There are also a bunch of other advantages as well as disadvantages when using MyMaps which I will go into another time.
What are the Disadvantages of going Digital?
Power – We are carrying a solar charger, but in the event that we cannot charge or ipod Touchs we would essentially be blind.
Failure – Digital stuff breaks and applications crash. MyMaps in particular seems to get temperamental when trying to cache large sections of a map
Theft – More likely to have electronics stolen than a paper map.
At the end of the day we can always role up to the nearest gas station and buy a paper map.