Free day has arrived. Download now! -
The Chicago Bike Map app for iPhone is free all day Friday
The Chicago Bike Map app will be free all day on Friday, September 7, in preparation for the Open Streets on State Street event on Saturday, September 8, 2012. The event, in the same location as last year, has been slightly expanded, with a car-free segment on Monroe Street straight to the Lakefront Trail. If you don’t want to wait, you can download the app now for 99 cents and get access to a bike map on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch that doesn’t require an internet connection. What’s new in the current version?
This is a reminder that the main site has moved to http://offlinebikemap.com.
* This update doesn’t include the buffered bike lane on Clark Street between North Avenue and Walton Street currently under construction; doesn’t include the buffered bike lane on Halsted Street between 69th and 75th Streets. These will be available in the next version.
Chicagoist features my app
New web home for the Chicago Offline Bike Map -
Please update your links, RSS feeds, and bookmarks. This Tumblr will be taken down by the end of July.
While doing research on how to create an Android version of the app, I discovered some difficulty: the Google Play store only accepts apps up to 50 MB, but allows developers to extend that to 4 GB using the APK Expansion File method. I looked into that and saw that I would have to be linking in a couple other libraries, running lots of checks to see if the expansion files are downloaded, and find where on the device they’re saved, and some other stuff I didn’t have to do for the iTunes Store.
Then I thought, “Is there another way to distribute the app and bypass these difficulties?”
Amazon has an Android App Store. I’m currently looking into it, but their FAQ says they don’t have app file size limits. This could be good; I might be able to distribute my app via Amazon. It’s not the best method as users are required to go into the Android OS settings and allow “Unknown sources” and then install the “Amazon Appstore for Android” app. But, once that’s installed, the user can easily download and install any app in the Amazon app store.
I forgot to classify the Wells Street bike lane from Chicago Avenue to the river as a buffered bike lane. That will be corrected in the version after v0.3 (currently awaiting approval).
In other news, though, I signed up for App Annie which tracks statistics. It says that of all the paid apps in the Reference category, the Chicago Offline Bike Map is ranked 385.
I bet a few more positive reviews and purchases could bump that up (there are two reviews now). I don’t want to prescribe how people should review apps, but the most helpful ones do this:
1. Describe what is good about the app, and what you like about the app.
2. Describe how you’ve used the app.
3. Suggest ways the app could improve.
Originally posted on The Chainlink.
James BlackHeron said:
The biggest issue I have with Google Maps is the fact that they tend to be ridiculous when it comes to routing. It will not let you go even 10-feet worth of contra-flow on a 1-way street and this really makes some routing very difficult. I’ve resorted to just writing down loose instructions on paper with one of those old-fashioned hand writing implements as it is just easier much of the time.
The main “feature” of my app is that you don’t need the internet to use it. That was one of the motivating factors in making the app: I don’t have a data plan on my iPhone. The second motivating factor in making the app is that the printed bike map (and CDOT’s online version of it) show “recommended routes” and “marked shared lanes”. I don’t like these; they are not facilities. There’s a documented difference in the safety of streets with bike lanes and streets without (a lot of the difference has to do with the increased presence of cycling on streets with the bike lanes).
I created a map that only shows places where you get a bike lane, stripes on both sides (plus trails, where cars can’t be driven). And the color scheme was chosen so that the more dark green there is on a line, the safer it’s presumed to be:
I started Android development last night. There’s a hard road ahead in developing that. It has different difficulties compared to iOS development meaning I’ll have to learn a whole new way of developing apps.
v0.3 is awaiting iTunes Store approval (bug fixes, updated map).
I believe I’ve squashed all the bugs in v0.2. I just finished uploading v0.3 to the iTunes Store and got an email saying it’s “Waiting for Review”. I hope it doesn’t take 8 days this time.
In addition to bug fixing, I’ve updated the icons and launch images to reflect the green bikeway scheme. I’ve also updated the Elston Avenue and 55th Street bike lanes to reflect their new buffered and protected bike lane status.
So hopefully within a week iTunes will tell you there’s an update.
I found another bug today when I was testing out the app on my friend’s iPhone 4S. I opened the CTA page and tried to type in the name of a station. The page wasn’t having it. I tried it on the Metra page; same problem.
I didn’t recall this being an issue when I tested the app on my iPhone 3GS before uploading v0.2 to the iTunes Store, nor in the iPhone Simulator. So I tried it on my iPhone right there and BAM, same problem.
So after I fix the three bugs (well, one’s a map design bug), I will be working on releasing an Android version, targeting Fro Yo, 2.2. I just started looking into it today, reading PhoneGap’s getting started guide.
A few people have emailed me asking for Android support. Okay, how many of you want it for the Chicago Offline Bike Map?