Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Waze And Mean(Ass-Bastige)s

Footage from Wiley Pardue Road that I shot, today. If ya look closely, you'll see some chickens.

Now, as to the topic at hand... I am here to try to point y'all to some Android-specific applications that can help you to plot the Next Great Ride.

My Tracks (click image to enlarge screenshots): The best free GPS tracking/mapping software out there, bar none. Turn it on when outdoors, tell it to record your track, and at the end of your ride, you can export it to an easily-sharable Google Maps page that not only outlines your route, but reports your average speed, average moving speed, distance traveled, elevations... you name it. If you have a general idea where you want your ride to go, My Tracks will help you record it so that when you get home, you can refine it and research aternate routes further using Google Maps. And since it records the route, others can follow it (or lead the ride when you're not around). Also, if you're just out exploring, use My Tracks, and it will show you where you rode even when you aren't sure. Lots of great ways to use it to plan a future ride.

Waze (click image to enlarge screenshots): Another handy app I just tried out for the first time on Monday's ride. What Waze can do is not much different than your run-of-the-mill GPS for a car, except that it has social networking capabilities. That is, the more people in your area that use Waze, the more it can tell you about traffic conditions, as it automagically updates on traffic slowdowns based on users' (recent) histories on a given route. But it also does the ordinary GPS stuff -- turn-by-turn voice direction --which is why I wanted to test it, yesterday. I knew where I was going; I just wanted to see how Waze reacted to my ignoring its recommendations.  :) It did a pretty good job, only failing to tell me in time that I needed to take a right from Little Pond Creek onto Sam's Creek (it spoke up as I was making the turn, heh). Overall, impressive... and it might suggest a route to you that you hadn't thought to take, before, as well.

I'm kind of a safety-nut, so I only put in one ear bud to hear Waze's female voice give me the turn-by-turn, but I could hear it clearly, and it was somewhat intuitive what the few sound effects meant (such as, "you chose to go a direction I had not anticipated... recalculating").

Anyway, I want to encourage y'all to start putting together and leading some rides. I'm honestly a little tired of doing quite so much leading, so I'm looking forward to doing some following for a while.

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