With Spring on the US East Coast, came a dramatic surge in use of our web-based Trip Planner and our smartphone app for Android and iPhone. So it’s a good time to highlight what’s new and what’s on the horizon for these tools.
Since the last time we wrote about them, we’ve made important advances for both. First, it’s easier for users to add shared data – for example, scenic photos or the locations of public restrooms or bike shops. On the administrator side, it’s easier and faster for the ECGA team to approve those additions. (It’s important that we can efficiently screen the information for the protection of users, and that updated data is available quickly.)
We’ve also refined the aesthetics. The default base map for the Trip Planner is easier on the eyes and offers a great contrast for added route lines. Phone screen brightness dims fairly quickly in order to conserve battery power. So, later this year, we will add a new feature to give users the ability to keep the screen bright. Like other GPS-enabled apps, ours uses battery power pretty quickly. Those out for a quick trip (or using a hub generator and a Sinewave or other charger to power their phone) may wish to keep screen brightness high.
We’ve also made great strides in adding navigation capacity to our complementary routes. The Maine Coast and Old Colony routes (the one that includes Cape Cod) are fully navigable by Trip Planner or app now. Navigation capacity for the Historic Coastal Route (VA and NC) will be completed soon. Next on the docket: Florida’s St. Johns River-to-Sea Loop, and the complementary routes in the NYC and Philadelphia areas. We are excited by this progress!
Finally, our Trip Planner now has a first-class cue sheet, complete with map and elevation profile. You can print or save as a PDF, in addition to saving as a GPX file for use on your Garmin or other bike-mounted GPS device, should you prefer that to using the ECG app.
Most importantly, these tools are for you, and are made better by you. Each time you contribute a scenic photo, bike shop or public restroom to the database, you improve the tools for all users. We are so grateful for your support and participation! More advances are coming, and we’ll provide more updates when they are available. For now, happy navigating and happy riding!