At long last, we can now accept donations!
Donations will help us develop new features, pay for new server equipment to increase the speed of the system, and to improve functionality by paying for non-Free data sources (e.g. the Postcode Address File – see blog posting to follow).
In a month or so we’ll be needing to pay for our server hosting costs, so donations will be useful. We’ve been applying for various small grants to help with this (and are in the running for a funding award – if we get enough votes!) We’re working up to apply for some larger grants also and working on our Local Authority strategy in terms of longer-term sustainability.
A key issue in the longer term for the system will be keeping up improvements to the quality of the routing quality, as well as getting the speed up. This means spending a lot of time on the algorithms, and money on server equipment, as well as making sure we are well-embedded in the cycling community so that we can get feedback – a crucial resource.
As cyclists, we know about the sometimes complex choices that are made on the ground about what direction to take in a cycle route. Details like path widths, traffic issues, surface quality, hills, etc. are all things we are working to factor into the system so that the system mirrors as much as possible the human-decision making processes that go into route choice. Clearly this is complex, hence why CycleStreets doesn’t always get it right (yet!).
We even now take account (where the data exists in OpenStreetMap) of the number of steps on a bridge in the case of areas where a walkable short-cut exists!
Simon has been doing an enormous amount of work on adding new features into our custom routing engine in the last few weeks, and tells me that a torrent of blog posts about these changes will unleashed soon! (He’s currently “in the zone”!)
Donations will give us both financial and moral support so that we can make CycleStreets the leading cycle route-planning service in the UK.
CycleStreets is run on a not-for-profit basis: our company documentation lodged with Companies House when we set up the company in July includes a not-for-profit clause.