Would like to announce an update to the walkers’ Android OSM app OpenTrail. Other than the augmented reality stuff (now separated out, see recent posts), I haven’t really had the chance to add any new features to OpenTrail until now; the last release back in March included Freemap and OS out of copyright maps and the ability to add annotations in the field.
However I’ve made a start on adding new features to OpenTrail with a view to developing it into a full-featured walkers’ app. You can now search for selected nearby points of interest (pubs, restaurants, places and peaks); the POIs are downloaded from the Freemap server and then cached on the device. Also, existing annotations and walk notes are also now overlaid on the map.
I’m hoping to do some more work on OpenTrail in the coming weeks/months, the long-term aim being an open-source version of something like Memory Map. One feature I’ve had in mind for a while is for the app to display annotations and notes to the user in the field as alert boxes (probably accompanied by some form of alert sound) as they pass its location. This should be fairly simple to implement and could have a number of uses, for instance, a user could be presented with some information about a view or a place of historical interest as they pass it, or could be presented with directions at a location where it’s easy to get lost. I can envisage this working as follows. Someone follows a path, loses their way temporarily, finally finds the path, and then records instructions in OpenTrail and uploads them to the server. A later walker could then be presented with the same instructions automatically as they pass the same spot.
I’m also aiming to integrate with Freemap walking routes, so that, for example, a user could search for walking routes in their area. However, I’m planning (time permitting of course, as always) on overhauling walking routes as part of a new and quite significantly different “development” version of Freemap (running alongside the main site) in which I aim to experiment with client-side rendering using kothic-js (see last post), so addition of walking routes to OpenTrail will be in conjunction with this. The current walking routes code in Freemap is slow and inefficient, particularly now that the volume of data has increased. So I started looking round for pre-built solutions and came across pgRouting, which adds routing functionality to a PostGIS database. Got step one done here: it’s built and installed successfully and I’ve managed to import some OSM data using osm2pgrouting. Next step will be to see if it actually routes between two points quickly and efficiently; if so I plan on using it to work out a walking route of underlying OSM ways given a set of user-specified points. However, to avoid the DB getting too big (and thus, possibly, slow) the walk route functionality might be restricted to selected areas of the UK initially.
Anyway, where is OpenTrail? It’s available here, if you find any bugs let me know.