Getting Out Of Dodge
Details are starting to emerge about security arrangements planned for the G20 Talk-Fest to be held in Brisbane during the third weekend in November.
As more information is being released, it is becoming abundantly clear that moving around the city is going to be a right royal pain in the backside for a lot of Brisbane-ites in the week leading up to and during the event, with most of the city and surrounds being made a “Declared Zone”
What exactly is a “Declared Zone” ?
Is that where everyone dresses in their Gone With The Wind costumes shouting “I do declare!” ?
Hmm… Not likely.
Anyway, the Queensland guv’mint has gazetted a public holiday for November 14. So The Pillion and I have decided to get out of Dodge for the duration. Of course, we’ll be taking the bike.
So I’ve spent the last few weeks trolling the internet searching for, and booking, accommodation for our adventure. We know where we want to stop, but not exactly how to get there. That’s probably not a bad thing, who knows, we might stumble on a few interesting places… or get hopelessly lost.
While I was in the throes of planning our trip using Google Maps, I was listening to an episode of the Law Abiding Biker podcast when one of the presenters mentioned a mapping and trip planning website called Roadtrippers. So being the stickybeak* that I am, I went and had a poke around said website, even though I was quite happy using Google Maps to plan our trip.
From initial perusal, Roadtrippers appears to be based on Google Maps; What isn’t these days?
The similarity ends their though, because it offers additional functionality that could be handy for people planning a road trip. Like me 😀
It allows you to plug-in way-points for your journey, much like Google Maps, and from this it will calculate travel time and distance in either miles or kilometres, just like Google Maps.
What makes this site different is that you can turn on places of interest (POI’s) like national parks, scenic lookouts, cafés, restaurants, entertainment, accommodation and camping etc that may lie on, or near, your proposed route.
By selecting POI’s, the route is adjusted and the distance and travel time is recalculated. BUT. Only the POI’s that are within a user defined band are presented to you, so you wont be overwhelmed with irrelevant information that’s out beyond the black stump*.
Let me explain.
Say you were heading north up the Bruce Highway from Brisbane to Rockhampton. Like in the screen grab above.
You set your way-points and then set a zone up to 50km (30 miles) wide. A pink band will appear and places of interest will populate within that band. So instead of travelling from Brisbane to Rockhampton and relying on tourist signs along the way to find places of interest, you can pre-determine POI’s by clicking on attractions that lie within the band you have set, and add them to your itinerary.
There are several variables that can be set when you save your trip too.
Besides naming your trip and giving it a short description, you can choose to make your trip discoverable (public), select between petrol or diesel, select miles or kilometres and enter your fuel economy in miles per gallon or litres per kilometre. The fuel economy feature is handy in that Roadtrippers tries to estimate your total fuel cost for your trip.
For me, the fuel cost estimate was way shy of the mark. In Australia we pay anywhere from $1.40 to $1.70 a litre for 91 RON depending on where we are in the price cycle. More if you’re in the outback and even more if you fill up with 95 or 98 RON.
Unfortunately at time of writing I cannot find a way to alter the per litre (or gallon) fuel price so that it more accurately estimates the total fuel cost for the trip. In time, perhaps the makers of Roadtrippers will add this functionality to their coding to support this option.
One neat little feature that I like, is that you can share your trip with your friends via a link. Here, I’ll show you what I mean, here.
Once you’ve had a poke around the itinerary, clear it and have a play with the Brisbane to Rockhampton map. Have read of the explore dialogue box. Once you have done that clear it to access the option icons on the top left and adjust the “Miles From Route” slider to get a feel of how it all works.
From the website:
Roadtrippers is currently perfectly equipped to help you plan a USA road trip, such as Route 66 or a Canada road trip. European road trips, Australian road trips, and other countries are coming soon!
Although the makers of Roadtrippers say it’s only good for the United States at this time, I’ve used it to plan our little junket. It offered more options and has more functionality than Google Maps, and I can sync it to my phone for turn-by-turn-navigation if I want to. Both iPhone and Android are supported.
Android Screen Grabs
Roadtrippers has been around since July 2011, and is still in development. From what I have seen and used so far, the software looks promising. The makers take on board user requests, and updates appear to be regular.
Maybe you can use it to plan your trips. I’d be interested to know your thoughts.
Oh, and what do I think about the G20 Talk-Fest?
Frankly, I don’t give a damn. (Says he, in his best Clarke Gable voice)
- Law Abiding Biker Podcast website: Click here
- Roadtrippers website: Click here
- Stickybeak: An inquisitive person.
- Black Stump: An imaginary point beyond which the country is considered remote or uncivilised.