What started 7 years ago as one-man’s attempt to show that utility cycling in Prague was indeed feasible by making an unofficial cycle map has grown into one of the best information sources on urban cycling in the country. There are a few blog posts every week ranging from media monitoring, new infrastructure reviews, inspiration from abroad to in-depth analysis of economic efficiency of city’s investments into different transportation solutions, how to improve cyclists and pedestrians coexistence or why obsolete technical and legal requirements end up with unusable cycleways. We also organize campaigns to contact political representatives or provide individual consultancy on finding the best cycle route.
Yet the map remains one of the key elements of the site. The original one drawn in a CAD over a commercial map was replaced in 2011 by OpenStreetMap based solution. We wanted to show as much information as possible so we developed a custom mapnik style (opensource) featuring details such as surface quality (the line is solid on smooth surface while dashed on unpaved or poor ways, cobblestone streets are drawn with square texture) or car traffic levels.
The map application also consists of 3,000+ POIs (some of them were imported to CycleStreets database and you can find them in the CycleStreets Photomap).
The next logical step was to incorporate a journey planner. At first we wanted to develop a custom one, but fortunately we found CycleStreets and it proved to work well. It took us the whole 2012 before we came up with the official release. The process was difficult mainly due to differences in OSM tagging conventions and legal rules between the UK and Czechia, our numerous feature requests on routing algorithm (many thanks to Martin and Simon for implementing them) and last but not least due to OSM license change – significant portion of Prague was gone as one of the key early mappers declined the license.
Anyway, the effort paid off and we can claim to have the best journey planner integrated into our site.
Editor’s note: This collaboration started when Martin was on holiday in Prague. By co-incidence, CycleStreets received an e-mail from Václav asking whether we planned to cover Prague. Martin e-mailed back saying he happened to be in Prague, and we met up the next day!