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Old 11-20-2012, 11:16 AM   #1
Dr. Benny OP
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Question [IDEA] Trip Planning Software - FEEDBACK WANTED



Hey guys,

I've bumped into an issue several times over the years as I planned road trips and business trips so I've mocked up an idea for a web application to solve this problem. I'm wondering if anyone else has experienced the same headaches... Sometimes it's great to let the road take you and travel without a schedule. Unfortunately, we're not always given that luxury so we have to plan out our trips. Google Maps makes it easy to see the route but i've often wanted to keep track of dates and stopovers.

In the example, let's assume I'm riding across the country and I want to visit some friends and family along the way, spending a few nights at each location. If the list is short, I can keep it in my head. If it's a longer trip I'll either write it down on paper or keep it in Excel. This works great if plans don't change, but if they do it can be a hassle to figure out if staying an 2 nights longer in SLC, an extra 3 nights in Boulder and an extra night in Chicago will bring me into Buffalo on a Tuesday or a Saturday...

I've also had the same issue while planning multi-leg business trips where I'm visiting several locations and during the planning phase, I have to adjust my itinerary several times before locking it down. I've poked around the internets and interwebs for a solution but the options are slim. Have you used something similar?

So I put together this simple mockup of a solution. It's basically Google Maps (something we are all familiar with) and it has the added functionality of being able add in the # of nights you plan to spend at each location and the corresponding dates. This should make it much easier to visualize than an excel spreadsheet and simpler to adjust if plans change.

I'm not a software guy but I have a friend willing to build a prototype for a few bucks. The question I have is, does anyone else have this problem? Would you find something like this useful?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts!
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Old 11-20-2012, 10:25 PM   #2
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I find that Microsoft Streets does a pretty decent job. Plus I put the routes in my GPS. I break the routes into small segments that I change each day.
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Old 11-21-2012, 09:28 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Benny View Post

does anyone else have this problem? Would you find something like this useful?
Nope I wouldn't use it. I only use google maps to give me a rough idea of the length of a proposed trip. From that I decide if how long of a time slot is needed. Actual rout planning is done with paper maps on the road and at rest stops.

Walter
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Old 11-21-2012, 09:43 PM   #4
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Your idea does show some weaknesses in current route planning software that you could address. But it doesn't seem strong enough idea to build a whole new application around. If you could layer it on top of Google Maps or another mapping product such that the full functionality of underlying product is still accessible and your super-route planning stuff elegantly overlays, then maybe you'd have something. But I'm not enough of a mapping web application guy to know if this is possible.

Whatever you do, keep in mind that whatever you base it on could add your functionality to their product at anytime and undercut you.

I guess I'm saying you've got a good mapping feature idea, but not a good new mapping application idea.

Take a good look at Streets and Trips which has layover capability. I never used the feature, but it may already be able to do what you are envisioning.

- Mark
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Old 11-22-2012, 01:20 PM   #5
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I am interested and have used the TRIP PLANNING and MS Street and trips since 2006 and both have been all you mention and much more. SO i do not know how you could compete unless you sell it around 2-5 usd then you could have something.

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Old 11-22-2012, 07:50 PM   #6
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Possibly niche it more toward motorcycles. Allow options to chose saddle time or daily miles and/or road type on google maps. Input points of interest you want to see and let it show routes with daily miles, gas stops, and hotels/camping along the way. That would be the best to just simplify trip planning.

Work with advertisers and sponsors, like Best Western-who has been working at becoming a "bike friendly" hotel chain. Live links to local information pages, ect.

Use google maps as a platform and utilize the layers for maps, satellite view, and topographic with printable pages.

These days, you have to have something that will work on Android or iphone. Set it up to automatically save data to the phone in low cell signal areas so the user hardly notices it in a canyon somewhere. Save contacts (hotel numbers, AMA service, etc) in a easy to use interface. Then you'll be getting somewhere.
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Old 11-23-2012, 09:19 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lovin' it Strom View Post
Possibly niche it more toward motorcycles.
These are good suggestions. Make the layover feature more targeted towards motorcycle touring and then add other targeted features that address the special trip needs of bikers.

Given the dev costs, I doubt the economics pan out, but it would be a fun project.

- Mark
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Old 11-23-2012, 05:48 PM   #8
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The only things I can think of at time that would endear a program (other that what is currently available) to moto riders is one that showed repair shops and highlighted curvy roads.
Otherwise, what is already being sold/available (vehicle travel planning), seems to cover it.

Maybe this fits more into moto-specific travel guides, but those are already prolific, at least so in NA and Europe.

Or, maybe I'm reading ths wrong...?
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Old 11-24-2012, 09:26 AM   #9
Lovin' it Strom
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lone Rider View Post
The only things I can think of at time that would endear a program (other that what is currently available) to moto riders is one that showed repair shops and highlighted curvy roads.
Otherwise, what is already being sold/available (vehicle travel planning), seems to cover it.

Maybe this fits more into moto-specific travel guides, but those are already prolific, at least so in NA and Europe.

Or, maybe I'm reading ths wrong...?

I haven't used any specific downloadable software, but have been using google maps and the Harley map, to plan my trips. The problems I have run into is I can't just enter in specifics, like saddle time and stop for lunch (places approximately 2 hours into the trip), or maybe I want to stop and hike for an hour at a waterfall. The available applications I am using don't account for that.

The difference is, a car app for cagers just gets you there, as fast and straight as possible. We usually don't ride the same way, to us it's the journey as much, if not more so, as the destination. Here is the difference I would like to see.

My home in Bailey, CO to Grand Junction, CO
Start time: 9:00 a.m. Desired arrival time: 6:00 p.m.
By Car: Travel time: 4 hrs 23 minutes, arrive at 1:23 p.m.
Drive south 285 to Hwy 9 to I-70 then slab it.

By Motorcycle (Range of bike: 275 miles, Desired time to breaks= 2 hr - Multiple route selections.
Recommend: Loveland Pass (adds approximately 30 minutes to I-70 route 4 hr 57 min saddle time)
Independence Pass (5 hr 27 minute saddle time to destination)
Monarch Pass (5 hr 33 minutes saddle time to destination)

Choose route: Independence pass
Available Fuel along route: Fairplay, CO, Johnsons Village, CO, Buena Vista, CO, Aspen, CO, Basalt,...
Suggested food: Aspen, CO
Suggested points of interest: Independence pass summit
Walking tour of downtown Aspen
Glenwood Hot Springs
extended ride to Rifle Gap off of I-70 (adds about 30 minutes to ride)
extended ride Grand mesa Scenic Hwy (adds about 1 hr 30 min to ride)


Ride calculation: Leave 9:00 a.m., arrive in Grand junction: 6:00 p.m. (includes 2 hr 3 minutes of stops for 40 minute lunch in Aspen, 15 minute rest at Independence pass, 1 hr in Glenwood Hot Springs.
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Old 11-27-2012, 09:09 PM   #10
Dr. Benny OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sorebutt View Post
I find that Microsoft Streets does a pretty decent job. Plus I put the routes in my GPS. I break the routes into small segments that I change each day.
Good feedback. The $39 price point and downloadable software for Streets might make a web application more attractive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Walterxr650l View Post
Nope I wouldn't use it. I only use google maps to give me a rough idea of the length of a proposed trip. From that I decide if how long of a time slot is needed. Actual rout planning is done with paper maps on the road and at rest stops.

Walter
Thanks for the comments, Walter. I like your analog style

Quote:
Originally Posted by markjenn View Post
Your idea does show some weaknesses in current route planning software that you could address. But it doesn't seem strong enough idea to build a whole new application around. If you could layer it on top of Google Maps or another mapping product such that the full functionality of underlying product is still accessible and your super-route planning stuff elegantly overlays, then maybe you'd have something. But I'm not enough of a mapping web application guy to know if this is possible.

Whatever you do, keep in mind that whatever you base it on could add your functionality to their product at anytime and undercut you.

I guess I'm saying you've got a good mapping feature idea, but not a good new mapping application idea.

Take a good look at Streets and Trips which has layover capability. I never used the feature, but it may already be able to do what you are envisioning.

- Mark
Hi Mark, I had planned to use the Google Maps API has the framework. You're right though - it may be a good feature but not substantial enough to be an application. Thanks for your thoughts.
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Old 11-27-2012, 09:11 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lovin' it Strom View Post
Possibly niche it more toward motorcycles. Allow options to chose saddle time or daily miles and/or road type on google maps. Input points of interest you want to see and let it show routes with daily miles, gas stops, and hotels/camping along the way. That would be the best to just simplify trip planning.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lone Rider View Post
The only things I can think of at time that would endear a program (other that what is currently available) to moto riders is one that showed repair shops and highlighted curvy roads.
Otherwise, what is already being sold/available (vehicle travel planning), seems to cover it.
Good stuff guys! This would certainly solve a pain point. Thanks!
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Old 11-27-2012, 09:13 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lovin' it Strom View Post
I haven't used any specific downloadable software, but have been using google maps and the Harley map, to plan my trips. The problems I have run into is I can't just enter in specifics, like saddle time and stop for lunch (places approximately 2 hours into the trip), or maybe I want to stop and hike for an hour at a waterfall. The available applications I am using don't account for that.

The difference is, a car app for cagers just gets you there, as fast and straight as possible. We usually don't ride the same way, to us it's the journey as much, if not more so, as the destination. Here is the difference I would like to see.
Thanks for the input Strom!
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Old 11-28-2012, 10:36 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lovin' it Strom View Post
I haven't used any specific downloadable software, but have been using google maps and the Harley map, to plan my trips. The problems I have run into is I can't just enter in specifics, like saddle time and stop for lunch (places approximately 2 hours into the trip), or maybe I want to stop and hike for an hour at a waterfall. The available applications I am using don't account for that.

The difference is, a car app for cagers just gets you there, as fast and straight as possible. We usually don't ride the same way, to us it's the journey as much, if not more so, as the destination. Here is the difference I would like to see.

My home in Bailey, CO to Grand Junction, CO
Start time: 9:00 a.m. Desired arrival time: 6:00 p.m.
By Car: Travel time: 4 hrs 23 minutes, arrive at 1:23 p.m.
Drive south 285 to Hwy 9 to I-70 then slab it.

By Motorcycle (Range of bike: 275 miles, Desired time to breaks= 2 hr - Multiple route selections.
Recommend: Loveland Pass (adds approximately 30 minutes to I-70 route 4 hr 57 min saddle time)
Independence Pass (5 hr 27 minute saddle time to destination)
Monarch Pass (5 hr 33 minutes saddle time to destination)

Choose route: Independence pass
Available Fuel along route: Fairplay, CO, Johnsons Village, CO, Buena Vista, CO, Aspen, CO, Basalt,...
Suggested food: Aspen, CO
Suggested points of interest: Independence pass summit
Walking tour of downtown Aspen
Glenwood Hot Springs
extended ride to Rifle Gap off of I-70 (adds about 30 minutes to ride)
extended ride Grand mesa Scenic Hwy (adds about 1 hr 30 min to ride)

Ride calculation: Leave 9:00 a.m., arrive in Grand junction: 6:00 p.m. (includes 2 hr 3 minutes of stops for 40 minute lunch in Aspen, 15 minute rest at Independence pass, 1 hr in Glenwood Hot Springs.
This is a great conceptualization of a motorcycle-specific road app. I love how you broke the trip down with motorcycle options.

A GPS/Map software package that offered that level of input, flexibility, and personalization would be a product I would definitely buy.
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