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Plan route (and navigate) on hiking trails?

Arpad Orfi shared this question 7 years ago
Answered

Can Locus plan a route (and navigate) on hiking trails of a Locus vector map downloaded from the Locus Store?

(I.e. not on streets but on foot paths.)

How?


Is this possible with OpenAndroMaps vector maps?


With any other maps?


I don’t think of a tedious job of putting a lot of points to the map and then guided by an approximate direction.

I think of that I set the start point, or even just the end point, and Locus navigates me along the foot paths, ideally only on marked hiking trails (maybe this could be set whether Locus could navigate on non-marked paths or not).


I’ve heard that there are Garmin handheld GPS devices capable of this.

They even can display elevation profile for the planned route.

Can Locus also do this if there are .HGT files present?

Best Answer
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I am a heavy user of Brouter, so I can comment some points, mainly from Brouter point of view :

1) Some routing service for true navigation ( i.e. not trivial point2point straight guidance ) is always needed. Locus does not have its own, as it was not intended to be a navigation software in the first place. Therefore Locus relies on 3rd party online or offline services. OSMAnd - which can use Brouter as well - does have its own integrated offline routing service, using data for the navigation from the vector map. Locus is more focused on outdoor activities, where OSMAnd has lack of features, while OSMAnd is more focused on car navigation.

Using vector maps just mean that eventual data for routing are available locally. But even an offline service need not to use them, using its own data instead - like Brouter. This has advantage you can get offline navigation EVEN for raster maps. Technically you need no map at all.


Even for fully offline planning and routing, with Brouter one has 2 basic options.

Using Brouter as navigation service by the same way as the online sources.

Define the from, to, viaN points and let Brouter generate GPX file, import it and go along it.


2) There is need to distinguish planning and routing. Planning is defining the route points on web planner or in Locus. Routing is applying navigation algorithm to get from a one route point to another via way network ( way, respectively highway=* tag is general OpenStreetMap term, covering all from motorways to mountain paths/trails. )

Good route planner may not be necessarily a good routing service, or may not offer such service at all. Good routing service may not be necessarily a good route planner, or may not offer the planning at all. But finally, many of them offer to download the route in GPX form. But it has disadvantage to make on-the-road decisions difficult.

3) 4) I suggest reformulation of the questions. But consider Web route planner of the Brouter http://brouter.de/brouter-web/.

You can use during the planning standard Brouter profiles from Brouter-Web offer - there is deployong the older version of my Hiking profile "Hiking-Beta"

or you can user some of custom profiles, one-time uploaded to the web, e.g. here https://github.com/poutnikl/Brouter-profiles/wiki/Brouter-profiles-collection

For offline routing, there is also GrassHopper, but I have no experience with it, may be more user friendly, but less customizable, and it has beta status , said to have some problems yet.

5) Neither best, detailed nor thorough, but you may try the above mentioned Brouter web and some of my Hiking profiles, uploaded to the web for planning, respectivelly downloaded to the profiles2 folder of Brouter android application and mapping foot-fast Brouter mode to such a profile. that you will have the foot routing available directly in Locus Navigation.

6) Yes, it is, e.g. by tayloring of standard or custom Brouter profiles. you can give all nonmarked paths a high penalty, so they would be used only as a fallback, if no marked option exists, or if a marked path would be a rudiculous detour.

It is possible only for few of them at the best, personally I know about Brouter only. Not sure how Grasshopper.

Replies (9)

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Hi Arpad,


Locus Map's ability to plan routes or navigate from point to point depends on the external routing service, NOT on used map. Navigation calculation along hiking trails is supported by several available routing services - Mapquest, YOURS (online) and BRouter (offline). Locus Map can display the calculated route elevation profile as well (navigation screen > route info > chart)

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Hello Michal,


Thanks for the information.

My related questions for my better understanding:


1) Why is so that a routing service is required if (in case of a vector map) routes are available for the Locus app? So it’s not a raster map, and because of that I would suppose that it can be deciphered from the map where each path starts and ends.

What is the reason for the necessity of an independent routing service?


2) I assume all the routing services can be used to plan the route along foot paths on the PC, then transfer the .GPX file to Locus.


3) Which routing service would you recommend for online planning?


4) Which routing service would you recommend for off-line planning?

Is BRouter the only option?


5) Can you direct me to the best description (detailed, thorough) of how to use the BRouter offline planning service to plan routes along foot paths?


6) Is it possible to constrain the planning to particular kinds of routes, i.e. only on marked tourist routes (but not on un-marked paths)?

Is this possible within all of the routing services or only in some of them?


Thanks,

Arpad

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You can find many of your questions answered in the online manual.

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I am a heavy user of Brouter, so I can comment some points, mainly from Brouter point of view :

1) Some routing service for true navigation ( i.e. not trivial point2point straight guidance ) is always needed. Locus does not have its own, as it was not intended to be a navigation software in the first place. Therefore Locus relies on 3rd party online or offline services. OSMAnd - which can use Brouter as well - does have its own integrated offline routing service, using data for the navigation from the vector map. Locus is more focused on outdoor activities, where OSMAnd has lack of features, while OSMAnd is more focused on car navigation.

Using vector maps just mean that eventual data for routing are available locally. But even an offline service need not to use them, using its own data instead - like Brouter. This has advantage you can get offline navigation EVEN for raster maps. Technically you need no map at all.


Even for fully offline planning and routing, with Brouter one has 2 basic options.

Using Brouter as navigation service by the same way as the online sources.

Define the from, to, viaN points and let Brouter generate GPX file, import it and go along it.


2) There is need to distinguish planning and routing. Planning is defining the route points on web planner or in Locus. Routing is applying navigation algorithm to get from a one route point to another via way network ( way, respectively highway=* tag is general OpenStreetMap term, covering all from motorways to mountain paths/trails. )

Good route planner may not be necessarily a good routing service, or may not offer such service at all. Good routing service may not be necessarily a good route planner, or may not offer the planning at all. But finally, many of them offer to download the route in GPX form. But it has disadvantage to make on-the-road decisions difficult.

3) 4) I suggest reformulation of the questions. But consider Web route planner of the Brouter http://brouter.de/brouter-web/.

You can use during the planning standard Brouter profiles from Brouter-Web offer - there is deployong the older version of my Hiking profile "Hiking-Beta"

or you can user some of custom profiles, one-time uploaded to the web, e.g. here https://github.com/poutnikl/Brouter-profiles/wiki/Brouter-profiles-collection

For offline routing, there is also GrassHopper, but I have no experience with it, may be more user friendly, but less customizable, and it has beta status , said to have some problems yet.

5) Neither best, detailed nor thorough, but you may try the above mentioned Brouter web and some of my Hiking profiles, uploaded to the web for planning, respectivelly downloaded to the profiles2 folder of Brouter android application and mapping foot-fast Brouter mode to such a profile. that you will have the foot routing available directly in Locus Navigation.

6) Yes, it is, e.g. by tayloring of standard or custom Brouter profiles. you can give all nonmarked paths a high penalty, so they would be used only as a fallback, if no marked option exists, or if a marked path would be a rudiculous detour.

It is possible only for few of them at the best, personally I know about Brouter only. Not sure how Grasshopper.

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Thank you guys for your answers... I'm just going to add some notes:


1)vector data that you download when acquiring "vector maps" serve as basis for in-app rendering of raster map tiles that are displayed on screen, NOT for routing. Of course they could be used for routing but there is no in-built routing engine in Locus Map that could process it (however, we are considering developing one :)) - therefore it's necessary to use a third party engine or app.

2) I've no information that the routing services implemented in Locus Map can be handled also on a website. Nevertheless, there are many websites that provide engine-assisted route planning with GPX export.

3,4) each routing service has its pros and cons. We recommend to test yourself what is the most convenient for your needs. BRouter is not the only offline option as Libor has already mentioned but I personally don't have any experience with Graphhopper either.

5) BRouter can be used as any other routing service in Locus Map despite you have to install BRouter app first from Google PLay and download offline routing data pack. Then there's an alternative way of using BRouter for navigation, check http://docs.locusmap.eu/doku.php?id=manual:user_guide:tracks:planning:brouter

6) completely answered by Libor, thanks again!

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Hey Poutnik,


You are awesome!

It’s incredible how well you summed up this complex topic.

I’m impressed.

Thanks.

Hat’s off to you!


Best,

Arpad

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Very interesting!

Now I have many useful profiles in BRouter folder and use them via BRouter from inside Locus ("alternative method")


But I have a question: ; why can't I see those profiles in "Compute route" dialog? I thought that Locus should find its transport types within BRouter Profiles folder. I guess it isn't this way.

Is it possible to add profiles in Locus set?

What's my goal? Well, I can more easily control the creation of my routes with "normal" Locus method than with alternative one (that force me to set all waypoints together "before", not "while" computing the route); very often mountain trails can't be computed with any profile and I have to trace my route manually for a while, coming back to routing service when it become reliable again.

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Could you post a permalink ( very bottom right ) from http://brouter.de/brouter-web/

about problematic routes, with eventual coment what you want to achive ?


So I could eventually test my hiking profiles, how they work there...

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Well, not could, but IS a problem.. Brouter does NOT route off the ways. No ways = no routing.

So it is not a Brouter issue, but OSM mapping issue.

Brouter can route you along the near invisible paths through deep wood or a mountain ridge, IF they are mapped in OSM. BUT it cannot route you even along the freshly new opened motorway, if not added to OSM map yet. :-) Abilities raise and fall with what IS or IS NOT in OpenStreetMaps.


With lack of ways, it is better to use GPX guidance.


If you want, you can register at OSM webpage and add the missing pieces yourself, there are available 2 web editors and 1 java based editor. The Brouter routing data are generated from OSM maps several times per month these days.

BTW, using Mountain-hiking.brf profile, I was able to generate the route with the only waypoint, at the top of the Sentiero no2.

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Oh yes, this is the problem on openstreetmap side, of course!

I've already added the missing short piece of path to OSM (about this point: if I want to update BRouter files must I delete the older ones before? It seems to me that doesn't exist any update option in Brouter, am I wrong?)

Well, OSM problem, but my point is another: because such problems can easily happen in certain places, would you really think I could every time go and modify OSM, wait BRouter update its files, download them and finally in Locus plan my route, would you? ;)

So, I'd prefer use the more flexible Locus way to create new routes than Brouter one, that's all.

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For the current version, AFAIK, you have to delete the old Brouter segment files before uploading new one.There is announced some testing new Brouter 1.2 version, that uses smaller files, in folder segments4 instead of segments4, that *may* update the file, if I understood it well. But you can always download the files manually, or via some scripts.

It looks like the Italians may be lazy mappers.. ;-) No, I do not think you would wait let say 10 days for the update, nor that other offline or online routers would do better. But it is not necessary to wait. Navigation and guidance can be combined, even in advance planing. there is no need to choose one or the other.

Comparing navigation and guidance. one has to realize that both have their strenghs, drawbacks and flaws. If a user chooses a bad method for the purpose, and the method fails, it is not a fault of the method. With expectations of a magic, the disappointment is the user's fault. ;-)

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He he he! Lol.


Lazy?! A lot of work, on the contrary, and today for tomorrow! :D

More seriously: neither navigation nor guidance, in most cases. I need reliable lines on a reliable map to plan trips not just for me but for other people, the nearest to reality I can draw. I often use them for didactic purposes.

After all I sometimes use Locus to "draw maps" (and Locus let me do so).

Oh yes, I have to acknowledge: at the moment the best router tool I found for my purpose is Outdooractive. Pity that it is just online, and more: OA android app is nothing, compared to Locus!

Thanks for this conversation and for your tips, sorry for jokes :)

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Then you use guidance, whatever forms it takes, to follow a piece-wise line. It may be GPS making you to follow the azimute or emaps, as well as a papermap, following the orientation points in terrain.

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I mean, optimum is to combine in context of Android device the below ( paper maps are different story )

for off-the-way, following chosen waypoints , whatever way they are prepared (waypoint set or GPX) or followed ( e.g. voice or e-compass or visual directions or checks the map )

for on-the-way, not to bother with manual point creation when the router(*) can generate them from 2 or few points, if the route is satisfying. Again, whatever way the route is created (2-few waypoints for realtime service or GPX) or followed.( as above )

(*) - router in navigatiion sense of generating route between 2 points, i.e. not planner )

P.S. Jokes are fine.

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I don't know if I completely understand what you write, but you seem to me pointing in the wrong direction. I'll try to explain better my prosition.


I'm not talking about my own trips: if I would walk alone, your tips could be right, but, let me say, in most cases I could walk even WITHOUT Locus and Brouter.

No, my goal is to plan trips for an association, i.e. for me and other people.

They may need to see the trip course before to decide their participation. Maybe I could draw it manually on a map, but this is what we did before Locus, Brouter, gpx, internet, pc, electronics and even electricity! Now with one gpx file they can see the journey virtually on a map, change map view, flat or 3d...

But I need an accurate route, more than for navigation or guidance.

Well, I could use for this purpose one of many online services we know, but I prefer Locus, I really love Locus. Yes, I admit: I'm Locus-addicted!

I prefer inner Locus method to "add new route" because it let me toggle between routing service and manual way in case OSM does'nt know some paths or segnents yet, as in my example; but I would also choose betwen routing profiles directly inside Locus, not just in Brouter server mode (that is made, I guess, for "permanent" settings). That's all.

Oh yes, maybe I pretend too much, I can set Brouter profile in server mode... And, actually: I can live even wthout this feature ;)


Bye

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aaaa

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The topic can be separated to 3 independent steps

How the initial route as initial point set is prepared ?

How the points are connected ?

How the final route is followed ?

Both ways - generation of intermitent point and just plain straight joining share a lot in the first and the third step. The particular ways are technical details, less important from principle point of view.

Off then paths is the point joining the only way. On tha paths is the following paths more precise, and sometimes in high mountains even safer.

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Brouter engine has available to evaluate the path slopes by its extra data from SRTM, and also OSM SAC scale ratings , surface quality and trail visibility data, often available in East Alps region) .

I recommend OpenAndroMaps vector map for the outdoor use , namely Ost /West Alps, plus Elevate map style , where you can easily check visually the OSM trail attributes.

One can prepare GPX files by Brouter-web in advance, with visual check with OpenAndromaps in Locus , available raster maps and online photo maps.

This can be complemented, if needed or wanted, with off the way free GPX routing.

Together it can provide high quality GPX routing files. that can be followed by either way the Locus offers.

In result, the hiking group can e.g. visually follow the GPX route on Android device map, when the file data was in advance partially created manually,partially generated by recording of route generation run.

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Yes, that's what I always do, exactly.


I find useful also Freizeitkarte map (and map style), based on OSM too.

Ah, Libor, for your happyness: trying to create the same route as above, Outdooractive fails even more (a lot!) than Brouter/OSM ! :D :D :D

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OutdoorActive offers impressive scope of hiking / biking profiles.


But I have found their result often strange or at least "interesting", comparing them each other, or wrt the expected outcome, given by the profile name.

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The intended Brouter modus operandi is to expose toward applications navigation modes car/bike/foot fast/short, while mapping those modes to particular profiles is internal Brouter thing. It is done by launching Brouter, choosing Server mode. You will select a profile, nogo points the profile should respects and finally the navigation mode or modes, which the profile is to be mapped to.

This is used by Launching Foot navigation in Locus, when router service is set to Brouter. Navigation config dialog of Locus has only one foot option, addressing foot-fast navigation mode of Brouter. Choosing the particular profiles has to be done by the above Brouter procedure.

I used Brouter exclusively with OSMAnd until recently, so I am not fully familiar with Locus yet. I am not sure if direct navigation supports waypoints in Locus. Brouter interface is said to support it, but it does not work in OSMAnd, said there is an issue on OSMAnd side.

So if I want to use waypoints, OR if I want one time usage of particular profile

then I use Locus quickpoints to generate in Locus waypoints from via1 ... viaN to, Launch Brouter , select Profile in Brouter, generate GPX toute, import to Locus from mapitems , follow the route.

What do you mean by Trail cannot be computed by any profile ? Are they mapped in OSM maps ? Or just profiles generate other route than you want ? The latter is addressable by waypoints or nogo points.

If you are not interested in a particular route but the only thing that matter is the destination,, and if you trust the chosen profile mapped to foot-fast, the most simple thing is to choose destination on the map interactively and then to lauch foot navigation. Eventually to define 1 or 2 nogo points to ban particular circular areas.

If trails are not mapped, then guidance without Brouter is the solution.

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After test, it seems Locus + Brouter Navigation DOES support waypoint in direct navigation launching, if viapoints are configured in navigation dialogue.

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Libor, by "direct navigation" you mean Menu > functions > Navigate to feature? If yes, only two via points are possible to be inserted. Therefore, if you need more via points, use BRouter for route planning in Add new route function and then select navigation along the route, or the above mentionen alternate procedure with quick points adding via and no-go points.

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Yes, I mean that. Hmm, I see. I am just learning Locus while using it.

So, with more than 2 viapoints one has these options :

1) Locus way of Add new route to create a route to follow

2) Brouter launch by Locus to generate GPX route to be imported, ( with points below best stored in dedicated Brouter waypoint folder in Locus )

a) ( positive selections ) by defining from, viaN, to default Locus points for Brouter


b) (negative selection ) by defining nogo areas to repulse the routing

ab) combination

3) Prepare a complex route online ( e.g. at Brouter-web ) and download and import the GPX.

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So many options, each with their distinct advantages and disadvantages. Maybe some time into the future there will be a single integrated method that combines the best features of the current FOUR options 1)Navigate to 2)Add new route 3)external BRouter 4)import from online GPX.

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That single method already exists, and its name is Locus. Fortunately,

it keeps them separate, as it could combine also their complexities..

:-)

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Thank you Libor for so much interesting information and all of you guys for your flattering words! We're pleased you are "Locus addicted" and we'll be doing our best so that you have still the reason to be in such state :)

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