Best PC based route planner

Kerry Neighbour shared this question 2 months ago
Answered

I want to use Locus to navigate maps when hiking. I currently plan the route on my PC, then sync the maps to my phone and then use the phone to do turn by turn navigation as I am hiking. I currently use Viewranger and this works just fine. One Sync button syncs all my routes instantly. Since Locus does not have a browser based app, this is not possible of course. But I am hoping to get Locus to do the navigation as well as Viewranger, or perhaps even better!

My first problem is the Route Planner. Frankly, it is pretty hopeless. First of all, the phone screen is simply too small to be very useful for this. The other main issue is that I find it next to impossible to add Waypoints. These are called Via Points in Locus, I think. I need to put in waypoints at trail intersections. Things like, "Turn left", "Turn Right", "Keep going straight", etc. I managed to add one or two of these Via points, but they are not visible on the route and I could not see which ones were created successfully or not. Not good. I was hoping it would be like other routing systems where the Via Point could use a special icon (or even just a text label) so that I can see all the waypoints on the route. Hopefully I just don't understand how this works?


The other "problem" is trying to edit points on a route that doubles back on itself. This is VERY common in hiking. ie an Out and Back type hike. You need to have waypoints on both the OUT and the BACK route, and as far as I can see, there is no visual way to do this as the tracks on the screen overlap.


The second small problem is the Import feature. If I create the route on my PC, then export it, there does not seem an easy way to get it onto the phone unless I transfer it first to a Cloud based storage system (ie Dropbox, etc). This works, but it means I have to double transfer files around. It would be nice if the app on the phone could connect with my local LAN to pick up the files directly.


It looks a powerful app if I can get the route planner stuff to work. Is there a recommended PC based route planner? I have tried the BRouter one and it is not bad, but it suffers from not being able to add Waypoints at all, as far as I can see.

Best Answer
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Hi Kerry,

again, direction commands are generated by used routing service when planning a route - not by Locus. It means we can do nothing with this. Try another routing service if the result is better.

Maps and navigation data are different entities, albeit coming from the same data source - OSM. LoMaps, OpenAndroMaps, Wanderreit etc - maps - visual presentation of a landscape. BRouter, GRaphHopper, Yours - routers - engine calculating routes along segments connected by nods according to predefined parameters (navigation profiles)

best regards

Michal, Locus team

Comments (14)

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Online generators.

Online route generators: Ride With Gps & Plotaroute.

- Auto generated turninstructions. (announced)

- Add free info(text) in Via(way)Points. (announced)

Export design > (dropbox sync) > import in Locus > Navigate > Go.

Pse double check the info. (= My personal hint list)

See attachment. (login)

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Thanks for those helpful comments. Frankly, I was that frustrated with Locus I was about to go and get a refund. It is so obvious to me that the developers simply do not hike with this software (seemingly) that it seems like I need to look elsewhere. The route planner is so awful and there seems to be so many bugs in displaying the route it seems like it is not worth the risk.


Anyway, Ride with GPS does seem to have a pretty good route planner (bit limited with the free version), but as you say, auto generated turn instructions. The problem is Locus does not import these instructions very well. Some came in - but some did not. And the displayed icons (if there are any at all) are all over the place. I think this is a bug because some display (sometimes). I retried TCX format and that is fair.


PlotaRoute (TCX or FIT) are also usable. They do not import that well either - the titles gets truncated, which is a real pain. The icons seem to autogenerate this time (most of the time), though, so there is that.


Seems a very painful system. But thank you for your excellent advice - will struggle on and see if I can find some combination that makes Locus usable.

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Hi Kerry,

Via points in Locus Map are not precisely waypoints with navigation commands as you understand them - via points are rather places with some other meaning - a land mark, a pub, a nice view etc. Waypoints with navigation commands are created automatically when you use the "automatic mode" of route drawing. This is made by a routing service (online GrapHopper or offline BRouter). These waypoints are displayed as small blue dots and you can edit them if they are incorrect (which sometimes, but very rarely, happens), see https://docs.locusmap.eu/doku.php?id=manual:user_guide:tracks:editing#editing_navigation_commands.

"Route planner useless on a small phone screen"

- yes and no, depending on the user's habits and skills. Many users praise us for it and many users don't use it because they need big PC screen, all of them are legit :). One way how to combine Locus route planner (which is one of the best planners on the market, at least for me) is to use Locus on your PC - yes it's possible, see https://www.locusmap.eu/how-to-use-locus-map-on-a-pc/. I myself use Bluestacks.

"edit points on a route that doubles back on itself"

- tap on the doubled waypoint, a list of available waypoints opens - select the one you need to edit:


91fc93a6763e9939cbc04f89c3212a46


"Import feature"

- I do it this way: I plan the route in my PC and export it directly to Dropbox (got it as another "virtual" drive in my PC). In Locus, I start import and select the file directly in Dropbox. It's very fast and convenient. No need to use some third part LAN-viewing app, USB connection etc.

best regards

Michal, Locus team

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Garmin tcx and fit; titles gets truncated. (Official limitation by the file standard).

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Thank you for those helpful comments. It is most encouraging!


The "auto blue dots" things might be the key here. I have spent hours trying to get one simple route into Locus and it is not working. All I really want are the waypoints to be at points where I have to turn. I don't care about POI (it is usually just all trees anyway). What I want to get to work are you voice commands...ie "turn left in 10m" or somesuch. It is a bit of a pain using my current system (Viewranger) as I have to get the phone out, show the screen, try to see the display in the bright sunlight, etc. I am hopeful Locus will be a bit easier.


I just installed Bluestacks and it seemed to install very easily. It is brilliant! The answer to a maiden's prayer! Good stuff. It is a game changer.


Will retry using those blue dots - thanks

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Hi Kerry.

Sure Locus will navigate as expected by any reliable route source. Or Locus_Brouter method or by external source.

Just try it out in a short test walk nearby yours.

Virtual replay is possible for tests, but as you are new ...that's stuff for later.

See a you tube video that by a "virtual replay" shows what is possible. In real use is exactly the same...just not that constant 18kmh speed. Also auto screen on/ off is possible but of course not shown in this video.

(Most of the time = dark screen)

It takes about 12' of your time. Navigation announces the turns and the via (info) points and if the poi alerter is set also does announce nearby free wpt_poi's.

The file method as was described in the title is not important, as this was for another (succesfull) experimental set up test.

https://youtu.be/Q7AshXsAe_M

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Ok, much better. I have the 'blue dots' appearing as promised! There seem to be issues editing and adding them though.


If I click on a blue dot in Route Planner, I get the small box displayed for a few seconds that shows the name. Then it disappears. Then I get the highlight circle around the dot (looks like a white torch beam). Then down the bottom of the screen I get the options window appear. This shows the icon (correct), the navigation command text (ie "Turn Left"). Under that are 4 options. "Add and then 3 types of add". These options add another blue dot nearby. There is no context menu and no way to edit or delete the blue dot.


I try to add a new blue dot. I click somewhere on the track line. What gets created is a gree Shaping Point. At the bottom you get the options window and the Change To options listed. Shaping Point, Via Point and Navigation Command. You cannot click on the Navigation Command, only the other 2 options.


I would also love to know how to do a virtual run through for a virtual replay. I could not follow the video - but will give it another try. Very hard to follow what is going on.

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HI Kerry,

maybe you overlooked the information in the article that the navigation commands can be changed on the main map screen, not in the Route planner.

best regards

Michal

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On the contrary - I am looking at the article as we speak and it says

Adding

>Open route in Route Planner and tap the place where you want to add navigation point. Select Change to Navigation point from the popup label menu.

This does not work.


I also tried on the main screen as well. No dot is added if you just click on the route. What seems to be created is Trackpoint nnn which seems to be some sort of custom point. I can add this trackpoint, but it does not seem to allow you to change it to a navigation command.

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I finally got to add a couple of blue dots. You certainly, without a doubt, have a bug there somewhere.


You have to go into the Route Planner as the article says. Sometimes the option to add a navigation command simply does not work - it will not click. I tried it on my phone and Bluestacks, both the same. Spent hours on every combination.

I tried it again now, and it worked! Exactly the same key strokes. But then 2 automatically generated (and correct) blue dots disappeared. I added them back in manually ok. Then I tried to edit two other dots - seemed to work. But then I click on them again and nothing had changed. The edits were not saved. But then I added the two missing dots as previously mentioned, then went back and editted those two again and this time the changes were saved. Really confusing stuff.


So - after playing with this 11km hike - very simple, after about 7 hours on it, I finally have a clean and correct route! Jeez - very hard work. Some of that is certainly my fault (never knew about the blue dots). But certainly some bugs there.

Not sure if I can spend a day on each route...but will try another route tomorrow.

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I have worked out a system that works at least 75% of the time.


Show route on map.

Click where you want a blue dot. Menu pops up - select Route Planner

Click (again) where you want the blue dot. Box pops up down the bottom.

Select Navigation Command arrow. Select what you want

Go to top right 3 bar menu. Save route and Overwrite.

Click on the new blue dot and edit text, or whatever. Save route again.

Check that OTHER blue dots have not been erased. This happens a LOT. I find usually 2 or 3 will have been deleted. Add these in following the same sequence as above.


I find that if you do NOT Save the route after every blue dot added, the chance of losing other blue dots is very high. On a few occassions I have successfully added 3 or 4 blue dots in a row,


When you click on a blue dot, it shows the distance from where you are located. Seems totally useless, especially when planning. I am hundreds of km from the point. Small point and not concerned about it.


I have the show point labels to Always be displayed. They are not. I might see 3 or 4 or might see none. Usually none. I thought it was only showing auto generated labels, but no, seems totally random and usually none.


A lot of the auto generated blue dots are wrong. 25% or more so I have to edit/add a LOT of blue dots. A lot seem to say things that are for cars. ie Stay on the Left lane or similar. How this ever happens on a small dirt hiking track where there are no lanes is beyond me. I have seen blue dots in the middle of a straight track, saying "Keep left". Does not make sense. I am in Hike mode. And of course the blue dots disppear as mentioned, so I seem to add a LOT. Adding blue dots to overlapping sections (ie and out and back route) is very hard. You never know which part of the route you are on (the out or the back part).


If I was not using BLuestacks none of this would have been possible. Doing this repeated blue dot stuff on a small phone screen would have been a nightmare. At least with Bluestacks I can now actually SEE the blue dots.


Apart from the weird Route Planner (and the bugs) it is looking very promising. Will use it on a hike this weekend.

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Hi Kerry,

thank you for your extensive testing. Locus Route planner has been in the app for a few years now and we haven't registered much complaints about it. On the contrary, a lot of Locus users, including those who were acustomed to the previous old method, praised us for its intuitivenes and easiness to use. So I'm quite surprised you are so upset.

You've reported disappearing of navigation points. I'm not able to replicate this problem and nobody else has reported it recently.

You've reported not displayed point labels despite their setting to be always displayed - again, not able to simulate - this setting regards only points that are not part of a route, like geocaches.

Navigation points with direction commands are generated by used routing service when planning a route - not by Locus. All available routing services in Locus use the same data - OSM. Only their algorithms vary. You wrote that "A lot of the auto generated blue dots are wrong... 25%". Perhaps the OSM database in your area is not precise enough? Here in Europe I haven't experienced so many problems.

The issue with car-relevant direction commands is known but again, it is generated by the routing service. Nevertheless, we'll think about a way how to deal with it.

best regards

Michal, Locus team

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Just generated a route - took about 10 minutes! Only had to edit 3 or 4 blue dots. None got "lost" this time. I am sure a lot of my confusion is just being new to the sofware. But I am a software developer myself and have decades of experience in this area. I have also used mapping software (Garmin) going back before the internet. So I am no novice to all this.


The Point labels - you are correct - I was not using separate standalone points. My problem.


I am not complaining or anything - so far it seems a good system. The Route planner is a better one than the Viewranger one I have been using for years. As long as the blue dots don't disappear. This is a real time waster as I am continually scanning my whole route to see what has disappeared. So any time I do something, I re-check the whole route. None disappeared so far tonight. Might do a few more routes to see if there is any pattern to this. Might also change the routing service to BRouter. Initial tests seem to indicate it is the same.


Did one route ok - probably changed 4 out of 10 blue dots. The next route - big troubles. The dots are just wrong.


I have one segment of the route coming up to a sharp right turn, it then goes 48 meters then it goes straight through an intersection. The blue dots here are back to front. The first one (should be Turn Right), but is Straight. The next one (should be Straight) is Turn Left. I click on one of the dots to edit it - the box comes up and shows the Route, and BOTH blue dots are listed. They are 48m apart and a big distance on the screen - about an 1". Not close together. This is confusing as I do not know which one to edit as there is no way to tell from the list. It would be helpful if the list was in order along the route, perhaps? I click on the other blue dot (an inch away) and it comes up with just the two options (the Route and the blue dot), which is correct.

The next blue dot (100m down the track) shows Bear Right. It is actually Sharp Left.

The next dot, Stay on Left Lane should be Straight.

The next dot, Bear Left should be Turn Left.

The next dot, Turn Right - correct!

The next dot, Straight - correct!

The next dot is correct, but when you click on one, BOTH dots are listed, as earlier.

The next dot, Bear Right, should be Straight.

The next dot, Sharp Left - correct.

The next dot, Bear Left, should be Turn Left

The next dot is missing - should say Turn Right. Add it in

The next dot, is confusing. It shows 1 dot, but if I click on it, it lists 2. Bear Left and Turn Left. Neither are correct - it should be Veer Right. I delete one dot ok (although one is still displayed. They must be in exactly the same location). Change the other to Veer Right.

The next dot is Turn Left, should be Straight.

The next two (and final) dots are correct, but you get the double list popup as before.


So there you go. A typical route generation for me. Pretty close to 80-90% incorrect blue dots. None disappeared, which is great.


I use OSM maps here all the time. They are great visually and seem very accurate. I don't know about the routing data. I am in Australia.

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Hi Kerry,

again, direction commands are generated by used routing service when planning a route - not by Locus. It means we can do nothing with this. Try another routing service if the result is better.

Maps and navigation data are different entities, albeit coming from the same data source - OSM. LoMaps, OpenAndroMaps, Wanderreit etc - maps - visual presentation of a landscape. BRouter, GRaphHopper, Yours - routers - engine calculating routes along segments connected by nods according to predefined parameters (navigation profiles)

best regards

Michal, Locus team

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Thanks. Can you recommend any other routing services? I have tried GraphHopper and BRouter.

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Hi Kerry,

as I've written, Locus Map offers only three routing services - GraphHopper, BRouter and Yours. All of them are sourced in OSM data, all have different algorithms. You haven't tried Yours but in my opinion it is the weakest one of those three.

best regards

Michal, Locus team

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no worries. Thanks

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