There are a number of options for navigating around the maps. Probably the most convienent method of moving about is to drag either of the maps. The other map will move to stay synchronised. To zoom, hover over a map and use the mouse wheel to zoom in and out. Note - zooming is not synchronised between the maps, the zoom will only apply to the map you are currently hovering over.
Alternatively you can use the map controls in the top right hand corner of either map to move and zoom.
You can also left double click on either map to zoom in one level and centre about that point (like Google maps). The double click zoom on the Google map only works while there is no route created, as soon as you start creating a route the double click zoom is disabled.
The OS map supports a drag box zoom. If you hold down the shift key while dragging you will create a zoom box on the map. After releasing the mouse button the OS map will zoom into that box. This functionality is currently not supported on the Google map.
By default the course creation screen will open up with a large Google map and a small OS map. You can swap the sizes of the maps at any time by clicking on the "Toggle map sizes" button.
A light blue "extents" box will be shown on the map that is zoomed out the most. This shows the extents of the other map. This can be useful if you lose the position of the smaller map due to big differences in zoom level between the maps.
Once you have a route displayed you can use the "Go to Start/End" button to centre both maps on the start or end points. The button will toggle between start and end so you may need to click it twice to get to the desired point.
Click on either map to start creating a course. The start of the course will always be identified by a green marker. The end of the course will similarly be identified by a red marker.
Click on another area of the map and a course will be created between the two points. The method of creating the course differs slightly between the two maps. The Google map has a "Follow Road" mode. If this checkbox is ticked then the couse will follow the road as best as possible between the two points. If this checkbox is not ticked the course will be created as a straight line between the two points. The OS map does not have a follow road mode.
The Google follow road mode is very useful for creating routes that follow roads; it saves a lot of time and mouse clicks. You will however get unpredictible results if you try to use follow mode on an off-road section as it will try to direct you to the nearest road.
You can modify the follow road algorithm in the Options window. You can choose either Driving or Walking modes and whether to avoid motorways and A roads or not.
Keep clicking to build up your course. You can swap between maps at any time, e.g. building up the road sections on the Google map (using follow road mode) then swapping to the OS map to create the off road sections.
Alternately, if you want to create a road only route, you can use the drag edit facility. With follow mode selected click on your start point and then on your end point. A route will be created between these two points. Select drag edit mode and drag the route to follow your desired course.
Note - you may save a course at any time (by downloading to your PC) and then subsequently upload it back to the site to continue working on it.
Any time while creating a course you can undo your previous input(s) by clicking the Undo button. This works in two slightly different ways. If you have follow mode enabled, the undo will remove the whole of the last course segment added. If you are not in follow mode, the undo action will only remove the last track point.
The are a number of editing controls explained below:Drag Editing
As the name suggests drag editing allows you to edit your course by dragging route points around on the screen. As it is computationally intensive drag editing is not permanently enabled; you must enable and disable it via the Drag Edit Mode button. Drag editing and course creation are mutually exclusive modes. Drag editing is only active in the large map.
There are two types of drag editing: single point drag editing and route dragging. In both cases a route marker is overlaid on your route. This becomes visible when you move your mouse close to the route.
Single point drag editing is the mode that is always active in the OS map, and in the Google map when Follow Road option is not selected. If you drag the route marker then a single point will be moved or added. If the route marker is on a vertex when you start to drag then that vertex will be moved. If the route marker is between two vertices, then a new point will be inserted between the two vertices located at the drag end point. The route marker snaps slightly to the vertices to make vertex selection a little easier. Try zooming right in if you're finding vertex selection difficult.
Route dragging is similar to the route drag facility on the Google Maps website. It is the mode that is active in the Google map when the Follow Road option is selected. When you drag the route marker the route will be recalculated to pass through the drag point. Note - if you hover for about half a second over a point on the map while dragging you will see a preview of the new route. You are not committed to this new route until you release the mouse button. Therefore you can preview several options before finalising the drag.
After completing a route drag you will see a black dot appear at your drag point. These black dots designate hard points. Subsequent route drags will not alter the position of these hardpoints.
As you might suspect, route dragging knows nothing about off road routes. Therefore hardpoints are automatically added at the beginning and ending of any off road section you enter on the maps. This should protect your off road section if you choose to route drag on a route with on-road and off road sections.
A problem arises with routes uploaded from GPS units or downloaded from the database. There is no hardpoint information stored in these routes - so any route dragging will destroy the off road sections. Therefore you can manually add your own hardpoints by ctrl-clicking on the route while in drag edit mode. If you add hardpoints at the start and end of the off road sections these will be safe from subsequent route drags.
Note - you can't undo drag editing operations. However if you ctrl-click on a hardpoint you will get an option to delete the hardpoint. You can then re-drag the route. Note - the ctrl-click works better on the Google map than the OS map at the moment.Cut to End
As the name suggests, the Cut to End facility allows you to cut out the tail end of a route. When you click the Cut to End button it becomes highlighted indicating you are in cut mode. If you then click on your course (on either map) it will cut out the section from that point to the end of the course. Clicking on any other part of the map while in cut mode has no effect.Reverse
The Reverse button does simply that: it reverses the course such that the start becomes the end, and the end becomes the start.
As new track points are always added to the end of a course, the Reverse button allows you to add points to the start of a course (by reversing it and making it the end). In this way you can load a course from the database, cut out the interesting bit, then add your own start and end sections to it.
The Reverse option is also useful if you find a route in the database and want to download it to your GPS - but it's going in the wrong direction. Simply reverse and you're away.
To merge two routes firstly draw or upload the first route. Then open the Options dialogue box and click the "Merge Route" button. Then upload the second part of the route using the Upload Route function. The two routes will be joined by a straight line between the end of the first section and the start of the second. There are automatic hard points put in either side of this link section so it can be drag edited without fear of disturbing the rest of the route.
Once you have clicked the Merge Route button you will not be able to continue creating your route on screen. If you want to cancel route merging then go back into the Options dialogue box and click "Cancel Merge".
There is the facility to add either Points of Interest or Coursepoints to your route. The POIs are intended to add information to your route - for example to indicate a car park at the beginning of a ride, or a pub at the end of a walk. These are only displayed on the website and are not downloaded to your GPS.
The Coursepoints are intended for Garmin Edge and Forerunner users. When downloaded to your GPS these cause a message to appear on the GPS as you reach them. Coursepoints are only downloaded in TCX files and in GPX track and route files at the moment.
To manually add POI or coursepoints, click on the "Add POI/Coursepoint" button. You will be given a choice whether to add a POI or a Coursepoint. The button will become highlighted, indicating you are in "add POI/CP" mode. After you select the point type, the next click on either map will add the selected point type to your course. A dialog box will appear prompting you for details.
Note - Coursepoints will be attached to the closest track point. You cannot have two coursepoints attached to the same trackpoint. The following coursepoint types are supported:
The type of the coursepoint dictates the icon displayed on the GPS (shown above). The name of the coursepoint dictates the text message that appears. You can only enter names for the last two types: Generic and Danger. The others have the same name as the type.
Alternatively you can choose to add coursepoints automatically. Select 'auto' in the options window and coursepoints will be added automatically as you create your route. This only works when creating routes in follow road mode on the Google map. The Google directions are not perfect and you will find it will miss some junctions and add other coursepoints in unnecessary places. Therefore you should check auto coursepoints before use.
When you come to download your route, you can choose a coursepoint warning distance. So if you have added a "Left Turn" coursepoint on a corner and choose a warning distance of 50m, the coursepoint will be triggered 50m before that corner. Note - Generic coursepoints are not advanced by the warning distance. Therefore use Generic coursepoints for those information type coursepoints that you do not want to move - e.g. "Cafe" or "Start".
Note - Garmin Edge and Forerunner GPS units are restricted to 100 coursepoints. This coursepoint limit is not per route - it is the total number of coursepoint for all your stored routes. If you try to download a course that causes the coursepoint limit to be exceeded then either the download will be rejected or the number of coursepoints will be truncated. For this reason there is a running total of the number of coursepoints in your current route shown on the "Add Coursepoint" window.
If you want to exit "add POI/CP" mode without adding a point, just click the button again to deselect it.
Click on the POI or CP to display the POI/CP information. In the information window that pops up there is also an option to delete that POI/CP or all POI/CPs.
Both POIs and CPs are saved when you save your course to the database.
As you create your course elevation data is downloaded for each track point. If you tick the "Show Elevation Data" checkbox the elevation data will be shown in place of the smaller map.
The elevation graph is interactive: if you click any point on the elevation graph a marker will appear on the course at that point. If the clicked point is not currently visible on the map, the map will re-centre at that point.
If you click and drag on the elevation graph, the corresponding section of the course will be highlighted on the map. Again the map will re-centre and zoom to best show the selected section of the course. The elevation graph itself will zoom into the selected section. To show the whole of the elevation graph again, click the "Back" button just above the graph.
Note - the units of the elevation graph are feet-miles or metres-kilometers depending on the distance units chosen.
The Upload option allows you to upload a track from your GPS to view on the maps. The Download option allows you to download a course to your GPS.
If you have a Garmin GPS then routes can be transferred directly to/from your GPS. This requires you to have installed the Garmin Communicator Plugin - see here.
Note - later Garmin GPS units (e.g. 705) are mass storage devices. These appear as Removeable Storage Devices when you plug them into your computer - like USB memory sticks. Don't use the Garmin Communicator Plugin with these devices, you should download as a file directly to the appropriate folder on your GPS unit.
If you don't have a Garmin GPS, or don't want to use this facility, then routes can be transferred from the website as files. You can then use your own program to transfer to/from your GPS. Supported file formats are:
|TCX||Upload and download. For Garmin Edge/Forerunner only|
|GPX Route||Upload and download. GPS exchange route format.|
|GPX Track||Upload and download. GPS exchange track format.|
|KML||Upload and download. For Google Earth.|
|TRL||Upload only. Tracklog format. Note, only the later version 3 XML tracklog files are supported, not the older version 2 binary format.|
|TXT||Download only. Text file format.|
|GPXX Route||Download only. For Garmin 705 only. (see note below)|
If you download a TCX file directly to a Garmin Edge or Forerunner, the route will be saved as a course (under the Training option). This allows you to do track based navigation. The big advantage of this (over waypoint based navigation) is that you can store many more trackpoints than routepoints.
If you download a GPX route to a Garmin Edge or Forerunner, the route will be saved as a route (under the Navigation option). This allows you to do point to point (waypoint based) navigation. The major disadvantage with this form of navigation is that you are limited to 100 waypoints.
Note - with TCX files you can set the average speed so as to be able to use this course as a virtual training partner in a Garmin Edge or Forerunner unit.
The GPXX Route option allows Garmin 705 users to do SatNav type navigation and not be restricted to the 100 waypoint limit. Hardpoints in the route become 'via' points. You can add hard points by ctrl-clicking on the route while in drag edit mode (hard points are the black dots). You will need to add via points for off-road sections - or disable the 705's route recalculation (if possible). Update - feedback from users is that there is no difference between using GPXX routes and GPX tracks on a Garmin 705.
Downloading as a GPX track does not work on Garmin Edge/Forerunner 205/305 units. It may however allow users of other GPS devices that don't support TCX files to do track based navigation - and therefore overcome their waypoint limit. I have not tested this on anything other than a Edge 305 - if you have other GPS units you're going to have to experiment. Update: GPX tracks do work on the Garmin 705.
The course title box allows you to enter a name for the route. This will become the filename if downloaded as a file, and/or the course title if downloaded to a GPS.
If you upload a track that does not have any elevation data in it, the elevation data will be automatically updated. This only works for UK based routes.
If you have a GPS unit that only supports a limited number of trackpoints per track, you can use the reduce route facility in the options window to thin your route prior to downloading to your GPS. This reduces the number of points in your route while attempting, as best as possible, to maintain the shape of your route. Note - you will lose your coursepoints when thinning, so add coursepoints after thinning.
Clicking the Print button will open a new window showing only the current large map and the route. This screen can be printed using the browser's print facility. The print map is displayed in landscape format.
The type, initial position and zoom level of the print map is based on the current large map, however the print map can be dragged and zoomed (using the mousewheel).
Note - the Ordnance Survey licence agreement only allows you to print a maximum of ten paper copies of a single screenshot. Max print size allowed is A4.
Note - if you print preview an OS based print map on IE6 the route is not shown - it is however correctly printed.