Gravelmap is a new website that launched on April 1st and comes to us from a web developer/cyclist from southern Oregon. After first learning of Gravelmap, I saw huge potential for this budding new resource and decided to get in touch with the site's creator to learn more about it and to give a little feedback about its current features.
Theo responded filling me in on all of the details of Gravelmap and even implemented several of my suggestions to make the site better and even more user friendly. He proceeded to tell me, "Last year, I acquired an interest in "gravel grinding," as many others have done. Here in Oregon we have lots of gravel, but finding it can be a challenge. Though the roads are plentiful (BLM/USFS roads, logging roads, etc.), when planning a route using Google Maps or topographic maps, it's not always clear if a road is accessible, legal to access, traversable by bike -- or if it even exists. As I explored, I found many great roads, not to mention a few dead ends here and there. But, more than that, I began to contemplate the idea of a resource to help other cyclists find the roads I was enjoying. As more and more people acquired cross bikes and began searching for gravel, I began to hear the same question from friends on Facebook and elsewhere: 'Does anyone know where the gravel roads are?'"
"While out on a ride about a month ago, I had the idea to build a site that would allow users to "draw" and save routes over a live map. Google Maps offers a very powerful interface for extending and adding to its functionality, and the fact that I had worked with it before made it an easy choice to use as the basis for the tool. I spent a series of late nights and a weekend or two building the route mapping engine (the components that make it possible to click, drag, and delete points on the map to create a route), followed by the pieces surrounding it -- the database on the back end, site pages, user login/registration functions, and so on. Eventually I had something that was bare-bones but functional, and I leased a hosting account and launched the site on April 1."
Because Gravelmap is so new the route database is very limited, but that's where you come in. Your added gravel routes will be extremely beneficial to the growth and usefulness of this great new resource.
"Most people who find the site simply want to know where the gravel is in their area, and new routes will help make that happen. My sole intent in building the site is to help share the passion that I have for gravel and backroads cycling. I check the stats and the route database multiple times per day and I get genuinely excited when I see new signups or new routes added -- it feels great to know that people are participating."
I am always looking for new gravel roads to ride and Gravelmap now allows me to find other user's routes in my area and I can share mine. Getting started is easy, simply click "Log in" on the top navbar and sign up instantly using Facebook or create a user name and enter an email address with a password. That's it, you're ready to start sharing your routes, voting on routes and leaving comments on routes you've tried.
Using Gravelmap is easy, visit the Gravelmap Help page for an overview of how to browse the map, add your first route and to see what the guidelines are for adding routes. Once you have added a route to the Gravelmap database or found a route you would like to try, click anywhere on the route to display more details including:
- Overlapping routes
- Elevation profile (including reverse direction, if desired)
- Export a GPX file for the route
- Vote on the route
- Leave a comment
- Embeddable route profile (copy and paste a HTML snippet to display a route on a webpage or blog)
Future plans for Gravelmap include user profile pages (click on a user's name to see the other routes they've created) and route editing. Gravelmap is also compatible with Android devices and is iPhone friendly. Images below are from an Android phone.