Author Topic: FrontPack: new mobile app for cycle touring  (Read 7425 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline steveres

FrontPack: new mobile app for cycle touring
« on: July 09, 2014, 07:00:52 am »
As a lifelong cyclist and longtime member of Adventure Cycling, I wanted a simple app that I could use to find and follow routes, post my location and photos, and help me find food, shelter and gear from the road. 

So I built FrontPack. Think of it as a minimalist version of MapMyRide + Google, built for bike touring. A smartphone cannot [yet] replace the need for dedicated GPS device but it puts everything in one place and I always have it with me.

It’s available today on Android, soon to be on iPhone.  Registration is free. You can upload routes, download the app and follow your friends from the web site at http://www.thefrontpack.com.

Feedback welcome.

Offline staehpj1

Re: FrontPack: new mobile app for cycle touring
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2014, 09:11:02 am »
A smartphone cannot [yet] replace the need for dedicated GPS device but it puts everything in one place and I always have it with me.
Really?  I'd be curious what needed functions a dedicated GPS has that a smart phone can't provide.  I never considered any form of GPS a necessity, but smartphones seem to supply the functions I want in a GPS.  I own a handheld GPS and typically leave it home when bike touring and when backpacking.

I'll check out your app.

Offline steveres

Re: FrontPack: new mobile app for cycle touring
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2014, 09:15:20 pm »
It isn't any one particular function as much as it is about redundancy.  GPS devices often have better battery life and are more tolerant to water. Smartphones have better information, including Search and blogs. Smartphones are also much more versatile because of the apps.

I led a small group of family and friends across Central Europe last summer and was very happy to have both devices, plus good paper maps.

-Steve

Offline Ralphieboy

Re: FrontPack: new mobile app for cycle touring
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2014, 03:31:25 pm »
Don't use a smart phone for navigation; haven't found any with suitable battery life. Any phone I've used dies long before mt Garmin 800. Sunrise to sunset, my Garmin 850 is operational.

Offline SlowAndSlower

Re: FrontPack: new mobile app for cycle touring
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2014, 01:10:55 pm »
Sounds like a nice app. I would like more info on what is required to run it. How does it work when you don't have data service (3-4GL) available or access to Google?

Offline steveres

Re: FrontPack: new mobile app for cycle touring
« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2014, 12:02:23 pm »
For offline access...

When you mark a tour as a “favorite”, the app downloads the track and waypoints to the device so you don’t need network access to follow it. As long as you viewed the route in sufficient detail when you were online, the Google “map tiles” (the images that comprise the map) will be available offline. This isn’t perfect, but it works pretty well.

We’re releasing a new version in a few weeks that resolve the issue with offline maps. When you mark a tour as “available offline”, the app will download the “map tiles” in the background (from Open Streets, not Google, due to license restrictions). Depending on the tour, this will take some time (10+ minutes) and use considerable bandwidth but once complete, the map and route will be 100% available offline.

Some features, like sharing photos and messages, work perfectly offline; they’re posted to the web once you go online. Other features, like finding food and lodging nearby, or posting your location in real-time, do require network access.

Offline SlowAndSlower

Re: FrontPack: new mobile app for cycle touring
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2014, 03:00:27 pm »
Steveres: Thanks for the explanation on the offline usage as I see that being the main advantage for a standalone GPS unit today.