Technology Sets Wheels Turning on Online Bike Map

Mobile phones and tablet PCs could soon join the humble bike pump as an Australian cycling essential if a plan for an online map of the nation’s bike and hiking trails gains traction.

Esri Australia’s Professional Services Manager for South Australia and self-confessed cycling tragic Andrew Fellows peddled the innovative concept at the national Tracks and Trails conference in Sydney last week as a response to the huge growth in recreational cycling. The 2011 Australian Bicycle Council Annual report lists cycling as the nation’s fourth most popular recreational activity; recreational cycling has been increasing at a rate of around 20 percent each year for the past five years.

Andrew said the concept, which relies on GIS technology, would show riders the most scenic track to take, where they could undertake emergency repairs, or even help them locate the nearest pub for those with a hard-earned thirst.

“Our vision combines Geographic Information System (GIS) technology, GPS, mobile devices and a centralised website to create the ultimate interactive track and trail information hub,” he said. “It would enable riders to search for tracks that suit their skill levels, the length or time they wanted to ride, or the trail’s proximity to their home or office. They could also register for messaging services, so a restaurant might let them know about the daily lunch special as they approached its location.

“Tour operators could use the map to partner with other businesses on a trail and develop a service that encompasses all the local wineries, for example, or nearby artisan shops. Maintenance tasks could be recorded, logged and scheduled, with messages automatically sent to contractors’ mobile devices when jobs need to be done.”

Read more on GIS

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