What You've Been Waiting For: Map Apps!

March 23, 2017

Android and iPhone image

In late 2015, Routes & Mapping fielded a proposal from Steve Resnick, a longtime Adventure Cycling member, to help us publish our routes securely via mobile apps. Since then, Steve collaborated with Rami Haddad, our newest board director and longtime member, to make the routes available to the largest audience in the simplest way — through iTunes and Google Play.

While it has taken some time to combine this project alongside our map updates, new routes, GPX data, and database projects, we are now happy to announce the release of three route-specific, mobile apps: TransAmerica Trail, Bicycle Route 66 and Pacific Coast Bicycle Route

These apps serve as an excellent companion to our paper maps. They’re available for free download, and you can purchase the route sections you need from within the apps. No subscriptions or complex file conversions are necessary — just download the app, purchase a route section, and start riding.

App Route images

The features of these apps include:

  • Each app download includes access to a complimentary sample section of the route so you can “try before you buy.”
  • Individual map sections of the route, corresponding with the paper map sections, are available as an in-app purchase, so you need only purchase the sections you require.
  • Locate yourself on the route with your GPS-enabled mobile device.
  • Choose from two basemaps: Google Maps or OpenCycleMap
  • Route and service data is always stored on the device.
  • OpenCycleMap basemaps may be saved for offline use when you are out of cell service or choosing to conserve battery usage.
  • Distances and elevation profiles may be calculated between any two points on the route.
  • Detailed service points are available that may be toggled on and off by category.
  • One tap to call ahead for a campsite, check lodging availability, or connect with the nearby bike shop.
  • Search for additional services using the embedded Google searches.
  • Updates to route available in-app.
  • Dedicated forum discussion area for support and sharing experiences with other users.
  • Apps available for download from iTunes App Store and Google Play.

Screenshot of app

We’ll be listening closely to what you like, what you love, and what needs to change. Steve, Rami, and the Routes & Mapping team will be updating the apps based on your feedback to make sure our routes and maps are useful for everyone.

So give it a try — download the apps and let us know what you think!

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GEOPOINTS BULLETIN is written by Jennifer ‘Jenn’ Hamelman, Routes & Mapping Assistant Director, and appears once a month, highlighting curious facts, figures, and persons from the Adventure Cycling Route Network with tips and hints for personal route creation thrown in for good measure. She also wants to remind you that map corrections and comments are always welcome via the online Map Correction Form.

Comments

Colleen Welch March 23, 2017, 8:00 AM

This sounds awesome! Will all ACA routes be made available in this format?

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Jennifer Milyko March 23, 2017, 12:49 PM

Colleen,

We will evaluate the feedback from the release of these first three apps and decide how to proceed from there. Give it a try and let us know what you think!

Jenn

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Whitney Gonsoulin March 23, 2017, 10:43 AM

If you already bought routes will app be free

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Jennifer Milyko March 23, 2017, 12:52 PM

Whitney,

The app itself is free but you will need to purchase the map sections you plan to travel. This is different from the digital data we sell that can be used with any app.

Jennifer

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Chad Kurtzman April 7, 2017, 11:23 AM

I think this didn't answer Whitney's question. I have the same concern. I already purchased all of the Pacific Coast maps and wouldn't want to be forced to pay for them again to have the new app work. How does this work?

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Jennifer H Milyko April 7, 2017, 11:32 AM

The apps are a closed system. You cannot add the digital data you purchased to the app, it *must be* purchased through the app itself. There are other apps available to load the digital data into such as Easy Trails and Gaia GPS.

If you would prefer to use the Pacific Coast app and recently purchased the digital data, you may request a refund from our Sales department (cyclosourceATadventurecyclingDOTorg) and then repurchase the data you need through the app.

Jenn

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Greg H. March 23, 2017, 11:52 AM

I purchased the first section but keep getting a time out error trying to download it.

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Jennifer Milyko March 23, 2017, 1:03 PM

Hi Greg,

Sorry you're having issues. Which route app and map section are you attempting to download? This will let us test on this end and help you better.

Jennifer

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Greg March 26, 2017, 5:48 AM

Sorry, it was a network issue on my end which I've resolved. I've downloaded the first section of the Trans Am and love the app. I'll be using it on the Trans Am Bike Race in June.

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John Sieber March 26, 2017, 12:18 PM

Hi Greg,

Thanks for getting back to us and letting us know you were able to get it working. Good luck in the Trans Am bike race!

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Allen March 23, 2017, 3:34 PM

I just downloaded the free section. Man have you ever got a winner here. This will be the future of AC. Frankly I can't see the need for a paper map of route after this. I haven't used a paper map for years traveling by car. Anyway great job and hope you have much success with these maps.

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Larry Loewy March 23, 2017, 8:57 PM

Allen, I use all the electronics available to me. I never travel without my Garmin GPS, I never travel without my IPhone and now I won't travel without this. With that said I always will bring paper maps too. The battery never dies on a map or does it lose the signal. Besides, what are going to spread out in the evening when you are planning your next day.

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Rob Demetriou March 24, 2017, 6:16 AM

Hi. I purchased the TransAm digital maps last week and have just noticed your app. I have downloaded this to my iPhone, but I can't work out how to upload my maps. I am able to use them with the Easytrails app.. but would like to know how to open with this specific app. Thanks

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John Sieber March 24, 2017, 10:46 AM

Hi Rob,

The digital data can be used in a number of apps like Easy Trails or Garmin devices. It is flexible in that regard. The mobile apps only allow the purchase of the route data directly in the app. You are not able to import or export data from the mobile apps. The digital data you purchased is the same data but offers you the flexibility to use it in different apps or Garmin devices. Hope that helps!

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Tim Mooney March 24, 2017, 7:47 AM

These look fantastic - downloading now for a Pacific Coast trip this year.

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Don March 24, 2017, 1:36 PM

How do you incorporate the app maps and the addenda data (road closures, etc). ? Are the addenda data put built into the apps via updates or does a rider have to carry the paper addenda, too ?

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John Sieber March 24, 2017, 1:40 PM

The digital data can receive updates more often than the maps, but it would be worthwhile to save the pdf versions of the appropriate addenda to your device as well.

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Don March 24, 2017, 1:50 PM

I'm reading the Terms of Service... I'll be busy for another year or so.

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Rob Demetriou March 26, 2017, 5:30 AM

Hi again. Just wanted to feedback, I'm a little disappointed that I cannot use the digital maps I purchased with the App. Will any changes be made to allow this? Or do we have purchase again if wanting to use the App as a back up? Thanks

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John Sieber March 26, 2017, 12:21 PM

Hi Rob,

Thanks for providing us feedback on the app. We are collecting feedback on these first few routes and will be making updates and enhancements down the road based on the feedback. We will definitely take this issue into consideration for future releases.

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Michael McCoy March 28, 2017, 4:30 PM

Nice husky (malamute?), John.

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Nick March 30, 2017, 12:54 PM

I downloaded the Route 66 but I don't know if I'll be using it. I think the digital data on other apps along with your paper maps will be more helpful. For recreational (day) trips, 'Ride with GPS' can't be beat. For not having mobile service (here in NM that's a lot of places) and not having planned for no mobile service, OsmAnd is pretty darn good or should be if they ever do navigation on iPhone.

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John Sieber March 30, 2017, 2:49 PM

Hi Nick,

The Route Apps support both Google Maps and Open Street Maps. You can toggle between the two under the "Layers" tab that is accessible by touching the magnifying glass in the top right corner of the apps. Offline map support is also available. To test, put your device in airplane mode and you will still see the map. Hope that helps!

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Steve Rice April 9, 2017, 8:22 AM

I purchased the paper version of several maps beginning with the TransAmerica but wanted to stay north so also purchased the paper version of a series of others. I would have preferred the App but it was not available at the time. Do I now have to purchase the App versions??

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Jennifer H Milyko April 9, 2017, 10:06 AM

Hi Steve,

Yes, if you wish to use the app, you will need to download it (for free and currently only available for TransAm, Pacific Coast and Bicycle Route 66) and then purchase the map sections you need from within the app.

Have a great trip!

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Steve McDermott April 24, 2017, 11:45 AM

One piece of information I would like to see on your route map profiles is the elevation gain. The profiles in and of themselves are helpful, but it would be helpful to know the amount of climbing in terms of elevation gain in each section. As you know, when bicycle touring fully loaded, it is not always about how many miles you will be riding, but also how much climbing will I be doing for a given distance. For reference, I've completed the Trans Am, the Oregon and California coasts, the Sierra Cascades from Anacortes, WA to Lake Tahoe, CA. Another thing I would like to see is a word document for your turn by turn directions. The directions on the map sections are difficult to follow when you get into more urban areas. Before I use your maps, I always take the time to put together cue sheets using your turn by turn directions as it is easier to follow in that format. It is also a safety issue. Thanks for listening.

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Jeff Lee April 29, 2017, 8:50 AM

I found out about the app and downloaded it just before I did a little tour recently that included some of the Kentucky TransAm route (https://www.cycleblaze.com/journals/dogs/)

In general I found it useful, especially given that I was carrying a 12-year-old TransAm map that is now out of date. While I'd like to see the turn-by-turn directions in the app, I do think it's useful without them.

Also, I liked the low price (although maybe that was a special "introductory" offer?)

I would be hesitant to pay the same price as the paper map, since the paper maps contain the turn by turn directions, and other info. Maybe there could be a way to have a bundled price that includes a map as well as a corresponding download for the app.

Thanks,

Jeff

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Jennifer H Milyko May 1, 2017, 7:08 AM

Hi Jeff,

I'm glad you are having a good experience with the app! I believe turn-by-turn directions are on the wish list for the future.

The app was created by an independent company and is sold only via iTunes or the Google Play store which means it's not possible for us to sell it in our online store alone or in print-app bundle. The initial pricing of $1.99/section was available through April. It is now at it's regular price of $4.99/section.

Best,

Jennifer

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Doug Strange May 6, 2017, 8:38 PM

I downloaded this and loaded two maps onto my iphone. Now I would like to also see those same maps on my iPad when at the camp / motel to plan the next day. Do I need to repurchase the maps for my iPad as well?

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John Sieber May 8, 2017, 12:39 PM

Hi Doug,

The iTunes store keeps track of your purchases, so you should be able to install the app on additional devices using the same account. When you go to purchase a map section you already own, the app store will recognize that and will not charge you for additional copies as long as you are using the same account. Hope this helps!

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Pavel January 26, 2018, 6:58 PM

I'm glad to see you doing this. I downloaded the Southern Tier as I'm considering riding it this next spring and I downloaded the sample map. I am very pleased to see the offline ability but wanted to suggest that you incorporate a feature to touch the screen and give the user directions to that point from wherever they are, instead of needing to pick two points. Not being able to test the sample map, as it is so far away - does the app work that it shows the cyclist on the map under way? I am a bit disspointed that one app can't handle all the different routes as I plan to often not ride the whole route, but to string several routes together in a loop instead. It's a great first go however and I hope more maps get added quickly.

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John Sieber January 26, 2018, 7:02 PM

Within the next month, we will be releasing a new app that will include the option for the full Adventure Cycling route network. The existing and new app both show the users current location as a blue dot. The icon in the upper right corner of the map will move the map to the users current location. Hope that helps!

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Gillian Dobbin May 6, 2018, 3:53 PM

Hi there! Apologies in advance if this questions has been answered elsewhere. I saw on another FAQ on your site that the GDMBR will be included on this app in time for the paper maps being released/updated in June. Is this still the plan? I want to ensure I have the most up to date maps for starting the cycle at the end of June and the app version would perhaps work out better for me as I am traveling until then so finding a location to have the maps sent to is difficult. Thanks and good work on the app :)

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John Sieber May 7, 2018, 9:50 AM

Yes, the GDMBR should be released on the Bicycle Route Navigator app at the same time that the paper maps are released.

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