Using an iPhone4 and Everytrail for website and iPhone app mapping in Bali

As I mentioned in the previous iPhone travel Apps post, one of the iPhone apps I find very useful for Travelfish.org is Everytrail. It allows me to use the phone to track where I am and also to mark waypoints (points of interest) as I go. While it isn’t accurate down to the centimetre and can have a bit of a hissy fit if the phone coverage slips (or as in my case when I forgot to turn 3G back on) it’s generally more than good enough for our purposes. I can then upload this data to OpenStreetMaps (OSM) and use it to improve the accuracy of their maps, which we in turn use in our iPhone travel apps.

We just had a couple of days off on holiday in Ubud up in the hills of Bali and as OSM’s maps were not quite up to scratch, I took a walk around the Monkey Forest Loop adding in the laneways and backroads I wanted. I’ll go back this week to do some other areas that need some work and we’re there again next weekend to do some of the rice paddy walks.

Here’s a before and after screenshot of the area in question.

Before and after screenshot of Ubud mapping

Before and after screenshot of Ubud mapping

As you can see it isn’t a huge difference, but there’s enough laneways and so on added that it will improve the usefulness of the app when people are using this map in our upcoming iPhone App for Bali — and eventually when we swap out the Google Maps for OSM on the main Travelfish.org site.

I walked the map out and the whole thing was 6.5km long and took me 1 hour 44 minutes and 57 seconds to walk out (yes Everytrail remembers everything). I also marked the longitude and latitude for 60 odd properties in the area, though we don’t place that data into the OSM system, keeping it the Travelfish.org database instead. The changes above took just a couple of hours to be reflected into the live OSM map for Ubud – not bad huh!

For reference, compare the OSM maps to Google Maps’ effort.

Google Maps screenshot of portion of Ubud

Google Maps screenshot of portion of Ubud

The Google Map for the Monkey Forest area has all the main streets more or less right but is missing the laneways I’ve just added to OSM and also some of its waypoint are totally wrong: Ibu Oka’s and Mozaic for example are both marked in the completely wrong location (off by kilometres). To be fair these are sourced from other sites (TripAdvisor is this case) so aren’t really Google’s fault, but they do serve to prove the point, there’s no substitute for going there yourself!