Digital Finds

joseph dot reeves at thehumanjourney dot net


Apr 15, 2009 by Joseph Reeves

I got a couple of good responses to my last post on the subject of racing myself; Marcus Bauer suggested a new screen for the FreeRunner, which sounds like a very good idea. We could also try and fit another battery or two in the presumably enlarged case to aid outdoor performance; so yes, I'm officially interested in that one. Pete Reed provided a link to his additional suggestions on the subject. And Chris, I'd be more worried about giving it some beans in one of these ;) but anyway, I digress...

Fleshing out my application idea then:

The application displays OpenStreetMap or WMS tiles depending on the level of complexity required. OSM would probably be enough for most, although custom WMS tiles of a racetrack, for example, would be quite nice.

The application would support either starting a new race, or loading a previous race produced by either yourself or a third party. Starting a new race would begin recording your trip to a standard gpx file; you ride around with the map centred on your current position. Once you've finished the gpx file is saved and you can return to the starting point.

At the starting point you select load and select either the gpx file you just produced or one that you've saved for some time, downloaded, been given by a mate, etc. You start riding your bike and the previous gpx file is played back on the map along with your current position. I've mocked it up quickly below:

The red dot shows your current location and speed. In green is displayed the location and speed you achieved at this point in the race last time you ran it. Also in green is displayed your last attempt's speed at the point you're currently at (although I'm not too sure about this feature - testing would be required to see if it was any help).

The display map could automatically zoom in and out (within predetermined limits) to give you an easily read graphical representation of the scale of your defeat / victory. The map would centre halfway between your current and previois position. The red/green dots could swap colours to indicate your position in the race. The TangoGPS friends feature could display other users, perhaps even with a smiley/sad face to depict their race status.

Lets say in this example you've been riding for 30 minutes (don't ride on footpaths, by the way, but do go up The Garth, bonus points if you can ride down the brutal steps without a dab/serious injury); when you rode this last week you'd climbed to the top of the hill after thirty minutes and were zipping along nicely. This time, however, you're not doing too good; you're still climbing and at a slower pace than you did it last time.

Most of the code required for this is, I think, already completed; it all just needs to be wrapped up and packaged as something new. Drop me an email if you want to pay me big money to hear my ideas code this up. If anyone wanted to pay for this, we could provide it through OA Digital

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