Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Kakao Map shows bicycle routes with elevation, calories, and route preferences

Kakao Map keeps getting better and better. The app interface was already released in English, and now they have added some nice customizations to the bicycle directions feature.

Kakao Map bicycle directions. Image: Kakao

It can route your bike ride one of three ways:

  1. Bike path priority (자전거도로 우선) - route your ride so that it makes most use of actual bike paths
  2. Shortest distance (최단거리)
  3. Most comfortable (편안한길) - i.e. route with the least elevation gain 

It also shows the estimated calorie burn of the route, and a quick map of elevation along the way.

If you look at the promo photo above, you'll see a small elevation map at the bottom of the first screen. The possible routes are shown on the map, with the pink one designating actual bike paths (Han River Bank route, from the looks of it, which is indeed a nice cycling route if you can avoid the loitering people at certain intersections who can't understand the concept of a bike path), and the blue your basic streets or sidewalks. So if you don't want to die, stick to the pink.

This could be a nice update because one think I used to dislike about Naver Map's bicycle route feature was that it wasn't really a bike route at all. It would always recommend streets I knew to be dangerous for cyclists, with no bike lanes and even no sidewalks. Let's see if Kakao's recommended routes are any better. I used to get out biking a bit, before I let the beer and snacks have their way.

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