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Old 11-14-2014, 12:50 PM   #1
Organic Mechanic OP
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Butler Maps has an app

so far looks pretty good.

http://ridingsocial.com/

Both IOS or Droid supported.

Has a free version which is ok but does not have the butler roads, but the subscription service does have the butler roads marked.

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Old 11-14-2014, 02:39 PM   #2
scootertrog
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Free version limits you to 25 waypoints as well. That renders it almost useless on the really twisty, multi-road routes that involve more than a couple hundred miles, IF the routing algo's force a waypoint after each turn to hold (further testing to confirm if this will be the case or not). The yearly upgrade version is rather steep. The interface seems to work well as far as picking roads on the PC, will try downloading a route to my phone tonight or tomorrow.
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Old 11-14-2014, 05:26 PM   #3
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Downloading a Route costs. The application is interesting, and some nice Edit features, but I can do all of this for free now. $50/yr is very expensive and $90/yr is, well, not for me.

Tried to logon to the iOS App using my RidingSocial Account info but after pressing the LOGIN button it just shows a LOGIN VIA FACEBOOK button and a CREATE ACCOUNT button. Indicating to me that it doesn't recognize my RidingSocial Account info.
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Old 11-14-2014, 09:31 PM   #4
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If it's tied to Facebook - I'm out. I don't do Facebook, Myspace, Outerspace, Tweeter, Twatter, ect....
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Old 11-15-2014, 02:04 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by scootertrog View Post
if it's tied to facebook - i'm out. I don't do facebook, myspace, outerspace, tweeter, twatter, ect....

+1
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Old 11-15-2014, 04:48 PM   #6
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Even though it's name is RidingSocial you don't have to use the Facebook connectivity. In fairness, Butler has put a lot of effort into this site and the mobile Apps. For me it's the high subscription cost model, not the function, that is the inhibitor - but, with a no-Ads model I can understand the desire (need) to make a living.

Best of luck to the Butler team.
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Old 11-16-2014, 05:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DRTBYK View Post
Downloading a Route costs. The application is interesting, and some nice Edit features, but I can do all of this for free now. $50/yr is very expensive and $90/yr is, well, not for me.
I admit I am an app/gear whore.
but that price puts me out.

I hope they do well!

Monk
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Old 11-17-2014, 05:11 AM   #8
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I just tried out the free sandbox, both smartphone app and website for (regular computer) browsing.

phone app functions:
record/pause
compass
miles/time/date (no speedometer, ETA, % complete, but a time and date function???)
VIEW profile (can't actually edit anything on the profile) but that's all

THERE ARE NO OFFLINE MAP options for downloading/caching that I have seen, so you'll have to have cellular service to use their motorcycling app ? mmm, ok, how does that work in canyons ?

that's about it. you can pinch to zoom, but no option to change maps, 'navigate to', or anything we're used to doing with smartphone apps. extremely limited, both in features and interface. can't even 'refresh' the tracks list from the app, or change to a different map layer/view. the fonts on road names is smaller when zoomed in, so zooming is pointless.




the online (web browser) functions:
register/login WITHOUT FACEBOOK (yay!)
upload a gpx
switch from (i guess it's) osm to satellite view
that's about it.



both the website and the app are extremely limited in functionality, and i can't see using it on the road for much more than a 'thats an app' show of about thirty seconds when friends are waiting for food at a diner. seriously, as screwed up (daily updates/changes/oopsies) as google maps is, it has more functionality and is free.

on a usability scale, i can't see using this on the road either, since it puts bright orange menus at the top/bottom, instead of useful information like SPEED/TTNEXTTURN/etc.


also, they're calling it "Butler Maps" but it's actually just gpx files that are up/downloaded for folks to follow wrapped in an orange UI, but not actually a different map or map type ?

There is no option to PRINT the map (at least on the free version) either, so DIY folks aren't gaining anything by using the service or the apps.



I wish em the best of luck with stepping into the smartphone era, but don't expect to see it lasting very long with that pricetag, for those extremely limited options.




* <--- how many stars I gave it on the Google App Market, along with a short review. They've been around for a while, and have a HUGE catalogue of routes to sell to folks, it might be better to sell the routes for $2 each and kill the current subscription idea. It just seems they would do better to sell routes than try to nag people into giving them money. I dunno.
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scrolling through the words to get to the pictures is cool, but i'm really just here for the tracks and waypoints... post some ok ?

ohgood screwed with this post 11-17-2014 at 05:29 AM
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Old 11-18-2014, 04:32 PM   #9
LachieRS
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Hey All,

We are stoked to be live and having people use the system. Thanks for the feedback, it is pretty cool to have people here talking about what we have been slaving over. So thanks for that, and having only been live for a few months we still have a long way to go in getting all the things we want on the site. We are learning and have already changed quite a few things based on feedback.

As it is being new, there is a learning curve with the site. So as much as we have tried to keep it simple as possible it is easy to miss some items. So here is my attempt to clarify some that were mentioned in this post.

1) Waypoint limit for the free version - yeah it's a bummer, but we had to do this. We are using the google maps business edition and it is expensive. They impose this limit to 26 waypoints. As many of you are probably aware there are ways, programatically, to get around this limit. Unfortunately though, this generates more "hits" to the API. Being on the business account this does have a limit that is surprisingly small. So we made a decision to provide 26 for free users and unlimited for premium users so we can be sure to at least pay for the very expensive google maps business account.

scootertrog - you mentioned that this is just not enough. It is not ideal, but we believe we have made the planning tool so simple it should be possible to create a really long ride with a little bit of finessing the route. Anything you create on the map is "dragable". So if you create a path between two sections and it does not quite take the path you want, you are free to drag the orange route to wherever you want and it will "snap" to the road you need. Then drag accordingly to stretch your waypoints out :)

2) Facebook - For sure we want others than people on facebook to register. This is just convenient if you have a fb account, you don't need to fill in yet another form and register. Just hit the fb button and you are in but definitely not required. You are totally free to add an account using just an email and password.

DRTBYK - If you can send me a personal message, I would love to sort out the issue you are having with logging in/creating an account.

3) Downloading a route costs - So just trying to clarify what this means I will attempt to explain it in the following way. We have drawn a distinction between the Butler colors and routes. Basically our goal is to provide a guide for what a good road is and creating your own route to do it this cool road. This is the essence of the Butler colors. We provide a color guide to good roads. Who are we to tell you how to get there :) So you are completely free to use the route planning tool and use the colors as a guide to good roads, and then use our planing tool to create route accordingly.

As far as costs for doing this. It is completely free to create a route and sync it to your app. Although to be able to download the GPX file for your GPS device, this is part of the premium service as well as viewing the Butler colors on the app.

Speaking of Syncing, ohgood, if you pull down on the my rides page. This triggers a refresh and syncs with the API much like the facebook feed. Let me know if you have any problems with this. A few versions ago we had a bug on this, so this may have crept back in :(

4) Offline Maps - We are really happy to have implemented the offline map mode for the iOS (Android in the next release). This is the switch on the my rides page, there is a little popup that tells you the approximate file size and then downloads all the layers for the map so you are able to see all your route even if you don't have cellular access.

Unfortunately, google does not allow for the caching of their maps, so we have had to use the OSM for the app. They are not perfect, but are generally pretty good. I have not noticed their street names being too small. I will need to look more into this and if we are able to increase the default size that OSM delivers.

5) The App - We have a bunch of functionality in the pipeline. The biggest thing we wanted to come out with was the viewing your rides created on the site, recording over these rides as well as being able to track anything you ride with your app.

ohgood - we don't do a speed dial for a specific reason. This would use yet another connection to the satellite/cell service. And it would need to be a very regular connection to display accurate speed. As a consequence it would use more processing power and cause a quicker drain on the battery. We figured as you probably have a speed dial on your bike already, you probably don't need it on the app also and then get a little more from the battery on your phone. Which is important.

ohgood - Notice the ability to hide the dials to show the entire screen without any of the dials or recording options. I just took another look at the app, and went back to our discussion on colors for the dials, we actually thought thought the darker dials would bring out the lighter color of the map to make it more visible and not distracting. Let us know any other thoughts here. I actually think we should move the dials to the left and right side when the phone is in landscape mode to make more space in the middle of the map. When they are visible there is not much map visible. Maybe on the next release :)

6) Planning a route on the app on your phone, is a tricky one. We want to make this awesome, rather than underwhelming, so we have not included it in the app for now. This also goes for turn by turn directions. We will be implementing it, we just want it to be awesome.

7) Regarding the site not being Butler Maps and just GPX files. If you are familiar with our paper maps we color code the good roads. These colors are available on the premium version of the site. Whenever we update or release a new paper map, it is pushed to RidingSocial first. So things are always up to date with our most recent color layers (or Butler Maps). It is true that you can upload and download GPX files. We knew this would be important so we included this functionality. But, you can actually look at it even more simplistically than GPX files. We are just making points on a digital map, whether those points are colored and are where the good roads are, they are points you have planed on the site or they are points you tracked on your app. They are all just lat and long points really. We have just tried to create an easy to use system around that :)

8) Printing - we have an awesome site butlermaps.com you can get all our maps in printed form there ;) haha, sorry I had to throw that in. To be honest, we have not thought much about printing a route or the maps. Having the ability for offline maps really means it is not needed, but for the tactile people out there we are aware of peoples need for this. If we get a bunch of feedback about it, we will look into it with a higher priority. We just don't know about this at the moment. Personally of the several hundred people I spoke to at IMS over the weekend there was about 5 people that asked about printing.

So, thanks for reading through all this. We hope this helps in clarifying a few items. Lots of you guys are techies and fully capable of working out your own solutions and have done so successfully. Our ultimate goal for this site is creating an ecosystem where people are able to keep all the rides they plan and all the rides they track in one simple system. Rather than folders of GPX files from your GPS, and futzing around with basecamp or going through the the 35 easy steps to get your ride into gpx you have created in google maps. Then with the added benefit of creating a community of riders where people can share their rides REALLY easily in many different formats (with RidingSocial members, GPX downloads and embedding the route like I have done below). We are hoping that this convenience saves people a bunch of time and people are then happy to pay for the premium options (also don't miss that we have a monthly option for $8.99 that can be cancelled at any time and you don't lose any of the rides you have created).

Thanks for your thoughts. We are loving that the site is live and people are interacting with it. Please let me know any additional thoughts or comments.

Lachie

Here is what embedding/sharing a ride looks like as promised from above.

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Old 11-18-2014, 04:56 PM   #10
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wow. I'm just. .... humbled.

thanks for the point by point. that's pretty rare, and nice to see.

I'll keep up with your development and enjoy the ride.
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scrolling through the words to get to the pictures is cool, but i'm really just here for the tracks and waypoints... post some ok ?
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Old 11-18-2014, 10:13 PM   #11
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LachieRS,
Firstly, thanks for the quick and in-depth replies to our postings. It's always a good thing when the vendor is active in product feedback. I hope you don't feel like we are beating up on Butler or this product in particular. In my case, I have several Butler printed maps and am impressed with them! :)

Unlike members ohgood or DRTBYK, I'm very new at GPS via the smartphone (ios in my case). Probably like most, my experience has been with a Garmin standalone unit, and also like most, not entirely happy with it's performance or limitations. Since you went so into depth with your post - I feel I owe you a better explanation of my concerns. Just based on your response, I feel like Butler is going to at least consider what the end-users think.

A- Waypoint count

Being a Garmin GPS user, it's been my experience over the years, that the unit would randomly "alter" my route on occasion, out on the road. The route would look perfect on my PC, but sometimes it would create a little side route or just jump to another road on the GPS. Adding a Waypoint after each turn helped to keep the route on-course. Sometimes, a Waypoint both before and after are required. So, when I laid out a typical 250 mile Ozark ride on the Butler app map, out of habit I put a Waypoint after each turn. 26 Waypoints don't last long at this rate, lol. If I understand you correctly, I should not have to consume so many Waypoints with the Butler routing engine. If this is the case, great!

B - I wouldn't have a problem with a 1-time purchase of an offline color-coded Butler map. I'm a non-data plan iPhone user, lol. I didn't go as far into it as ohgood did, but if this is an online-only app, I'm out of the game anyway. The free app without the Butler color-coding doesn't really offer me anything new. Caveat - I have not had a chance to download a complex route and check it's reliability or usability out on the road, and due to the crappy weather, not sure when I'll get a chance in the near future. Right now - my current GPS app of choice is CoPilot Premium, so in my case, that is the app this Butler app will be competing with.

C - I will readily admit, it was very easy to lay out a route and use the application the very first time I opened it up. I have a very short tolerance when it comes to learning a new program, lol. I absolutely hate reading instructions or tutorials. The programmers did a pretty good job with this. :)

There's a lot of folks on this forum that know their GPS stuff, they've helped me tremendously. I'm sure they'll be happy to offer a lot of valuable insight.

Oh - it's good to know I don't have to participate in a social media fad to use the program. Thanks!
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Old 11-19-2014, 09:03 AM   #12
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I'm in...

....just signed up for year of premium.

your paper maps rock, i have faith in you guys.
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Old 11-19-2014, 10:35 AM   #13
LachieRS
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Thanks 10/10ths :) Appreciate it!

scootertrog - never felt beaten up :) Just wanted to be transparent on what we are doing and why. These forums are important to us!

I do understand your thoughts on the waypoints. 26 is a little limited and having unlimited would guarantee accuracy when planning. Hoping that this limit from google will change or we get around it and are able to provide unlimited without too much extra cost.

Also a data plan is the idea for this when on the road to see where you are going. Although, you are still able to track your route and save it without a cellular data plan. GPS works without this. You would just need to open the app when at home or at a wireless network and your ride will upload to the site.

ohgood - thanks, its good to see comments from critical thinkers. Helps us deliver something better.

Please let us know anything else.

Lachie
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Old 11-19-2014, 10:53 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DRTBYK View Post
Even though it's name is RidingSocial you don't have to use the Facebook connectivity. In fairness, Butler has put a lot of effort into this site and the mobile Apps. For me it's the high subscription cost model, not the function, that is the inhibitor - but, with a no-Ads model I can understand the desire (need) to make a living.

Best of luck to the Butler team.
Bingo.

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Old 11-19-2014, 12:48 PM   #15
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I download the Android app when it was first released and got as far as entering my login information. Unfortunately, from there I would get stuck on a screen reading: Connecting to Server, then followed by a message "Unfortunately, RidingSocial has stopped."

Clicking OK just cycles through the Connecting and Stopped messages until the app crashes. Clicking Report leads me to Google's report form which I submitted once.

I tried uninstalling and reinstalling, to no luck. Help?

I'm using a Casino G'zOne Commando 4G running Android 4.1.2
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