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the WS Map overlaid with my own Google map

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WS Member WS Member's picture
the WS Map overlaid with my own Google map

I have recently begun to use Googl;s My Maps feqture to draw up an approximate route of > 2000 km. It seems to do a good job locating and connecting bike friendly routes.

Now what I want to do is, overlay thqt long route to the WS map; then I could narrow my search for Hosts to a corridor say 5 km each side of my route;

This would be lot less tedious research than I Am presently experiencing;

surely I am not the first to think of this;

For example, I offer this link to my own planned route :

now, wouldnt that be greqt with just the nearby Hosts to think about ?

Unregistered anon_user's picture
The only way I can think of

The only way I can think of off the top of my head would be to make one browser window semi-transparent (I don't have Windows but after a quick google, this is seems to be possible with a firefox addon) - load the warmshowers map on this browser, then on a separate browser window (it may need to be a different browser depending on how the firefox extension works) load the page with your route. Return to the warmshowers page, pan and zoom until the maps are aligned and you are ready.

This is a cumbersome work around that may not be worth the time it saves you, but until the day we have the possibility of importing gpx or kml routes into our WS accounts I don't think there is an alternative.

WS Member WS Member's picture
* ( BTW : why is a subject necessary, here ?)

Thanks Paul, I am surprised to hear that it seems so difficult, but I am new to digital mapping. I presume it must be difficult b/c it hasnt been done already

OTOH, given several factors, the present Search is very laborious in comparison to the actual Finds. Many are called ...etc.

Thanks for your reply

Unregistered anon_user's picture
Well in the same way that the

Well in the same way that the US adventure cycling routes can be displayed on the WS map it would in theory be possible for each user to import geodata (eg: a kml file which is the standard export format of google maps) and display it, but that feature is not available and has never been requested to my knowledge. I've never used WS to search for hosts so I don't know how much of a time saver it would be but perhaps it would be worth making a official feature request.

WS Member WS Member's picture
Overlay maps : official request

I have been surprised that apart from Paul Harper there has been no response from Management on this idea. I don't know if Paul is an Official Spokesperson. I acknowledge that this idea appeals to me a lot, but I don't see any other demand from Members. Still, it might be nice to have a management response, at least to say the idea is noted. Apart from here, how do I make an " official request" ?

Unregistered anon_user's picture
I'm not an official

I'm not an official representative but I do support WS prioritising the essentials and maintaining the site's core functionality - that is hospitality exchange.

WS Member WS Member's picture

Well, while I acknowledge ( again) that this idea has generated almost no interest from Members - which astonishes me - I would claim that it would *vastly* increase the " core" functionality of the system. Do I need to say , that is, making more easy the task of connecting Guest with Host ?

But to continue : while I myself do not understand how to use the GPS features of the WS profile, as I understand it Google Maps can "import" a CSV file of GPS data and display it on an existing map ( eg mine, yours etc). I can't say for sure, but that sounds like it could Import the ( now deleted) CSV file _that was a previous feature on the website. As I understand it, the CSV feature was deleted due to security concerns. That seems like an unfortunate outcome if indeed it would have helped this proposal

In any case, downloading/ displaying ALL the members for a particular region would be a lot more messy that what I propose (ie a 10km " corridor" around the Traveller's route ), as it would be necessary to manually Delete those outside the corridor...

I may have an old copy of the CSV file, so I could experiment privately with it, Rest assured, I won't be using the results for any contacting or advertising...

And, ....Not least perhaps, the "Overlay" idea would reinforce the idea that the Traveller is going to seek a particular Host because the Host is on the route, rather than planning the route to visit a maximum number of Hosts (!)

I will always be interested to hear any ideas on this in the future, either here or by private message.

Unregistered anon_user's picture
I don't know why it

I don't know why it astonishes you - there are dozens of ideas suggested on the forums that are often quite neat and nifty but the vast majority are really surplus to the requirements of a hospex site (check the github list). I've been talking about one feature (filtered smart searches for hosts) in dozens of posts on numerous threads for several years - I'm not astonished that it hasn't happened (it is in the pipeline) because I understand that resources (in terms of man hours of coding) are limited and there may be other priorities such as the Drupal upgrade.

There was a vote for what features members would like to see earlier this year and I think members also made it fairly clear that given the limited resources they would like to see WS do one thing well - hospex. Considering there don't seem to be developers queueing up to volunteer their time to WS you may just have to accept that your idea, while certainly having its merits, may not shoot straight to the top of site priorities just because you think it should.

As for csv that is just a basic text data storage format (comma separated values) - it is not specific to geographic data. I'm not even sure what is contained in the WS csv file but at the very least you will have to rearrange it to conform with whatever is required by google maps (and surely having your google maps route on one tab and your WS host map on another and following your route by clicking back and forth wouldn't be such an inconvenience in comparison to messing about with csv files in a spreadsheet ?..).

WS Member WS Member's picture

Thanks Paul ... always good to see yourself as others see you !

If you could re-read my post, you'll see I am " astonished " at the lack of interest ...NOT that it hasn't already happened
I have seen the poll on priorities for new features, but I don't see more than a long wish list, ie it's apparently un-prioritised. ( I could be wrong...)

Once upon a time, I was also astonished that we had Members who had never tried to be a Guest. Not any more though.

Cheers, and have a nice day !

WS Member WS Member's picture

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Unregistered anon_user's picture
Maybe its just not as good an

Maybe its just not as good an idea as you believe it to be? I certainly can't see much utility in it but I think the feature (being able to import geodata to member accounts) has very useful ramifications that have been mentioned in other threads on the forum (eg: publically shared past and planned trips could eventually allow hosts to search for guests passing through, guests to search for travelling companions nearby and those planning routes to consult with other members who have already toured in the area they are researching...) hence I think there is a good chance it will eventually be introduced.

The wish list is prioritised in order of votes given (ie: the first three priorities for members are - Mobile friendly visual redesign of site, Simplified hosting request, Filtering added to map and text search).

Why would you be astonished that there are members who had never tried to be a guest? I'm beginning to think that your definition of astonished is somewhat distinct from mine.

WS Member WS Member's picture
apologies for the quintuple postings

i don't know how that came about, certainly non-intentional !

WS Member WS Member's picture
I agree with the importance of what you are proposing

Hey Everyone,

I am the Registrar for the organization and I hear you all loud and clear. As most of the site work is volunteer, things take time. As a cyclist, I can relate to everyone's concerns. Just know that this issue has not been forgotten and that we will be working on It.

WS Member WS Member's picture

Thanks Paul, Ken .....

I would like my contributions here to be positive, and I apologise if they do not seem to be. I acknowledge that this particular idea may may be technically difficult, and I won't expect it to see it in my WS lifetime ( I am now in my 18th year, from memory).

I am however puzzled , Paul, why you see so little utility in the Overlay, yet you foresee that it "..may eventually be adopted.." ( or words to that effect).

Thanks for your responses. I will come back if/when I manage to find a solution.

Unregistered anon_user's picture
That's explained in the very

That's explained in the very same sentence you are paraphrasing so I don't think it is worth repeating but if there is anything in particular you need to be clarified I would be happy to oblige.

WS Member WS Member's picture
Similar but very different idea

The perfect solution in my opinion would be a feature like a dating app that will show you the closest host/riders in a circle of xxx km. You can filter on distance, feedback, responsiveness, availability, daily average distance traveled or speed...

Then a host can also tag a specific rider and follow her/his approach if you have agreed to host. Now that would be cool!

Hey! Let's meet ;)

WS Member WS Member's picture
map superimposed ...( a dummy example)

In case a picture is worth a zillion words, here is an example.

A traveler on this route need only bother trying to contact the Hosts with Green pins - the Red ones are too far off the route ! Spending time & effort on the Red pins wastes everyone's time ( Host AND Guest ..!).

While I agree that ( as mentioned above in this Thread), it's possible to get an approximation of this effect by using the "Split /Cascade Screen" effect, [ having WS Map on one side of screen, and Google on the other..] it's not as simple as my model, and IMO not as effective.

Here is the dummy map : the chosen route is in Blue. Of course, the choice of route is entirely up to the Guest/ Traveller. My example is a semi-direct one, and there could be any number of other ways to travel between any two points.

WS Member WS Member's picture
"Adventure Cycling" maps & WS

Just now, for the first time, I checked the box on the WS FRont Screen that says "...load Adventure Cycling Maps.." I have never done that before ( I am not American..) in all the years I have been a WS member - now just over 20, as a matter of coincidental fact ..

Anyway, I don't know what is supposed to happen, but my [dummy] Search for "..Omaha.." shows nothing special. such as any "AC" route map...

However, this apparent link between WS and AC suggests to me that there IS a utility to be had in relation to the idea I have tried to float here : That there would be a benefit in allowing a Member to integrate data from WS with a particular route.

Providing a possibility to effect that integration would be an asset to WS, and maybe to AC as well.

For what it's worth, bicycle activists all around the developed world ( not just in USA) are trying to produce bicycle-friendly routes that our WS members ( like others) will want to use :
Sustrans routes UK :

Eurovelo network :

I think it would be a great, value-adding idea to make a useful "link" between our organisation and these other practical bicycle initiatives.

WS Member WS Member's picture
Some have made a script... I

Some have made a script... I found it on the forum ages ago.

You put in your GPX file and spits out a epubs or xecel of all the hosts along the route.

This guy made it..

I'm not sure how much longer it'll work I guess until the new site is release later this year.

It has worked for me in the past but not used in last 4 months.

WS Member WS Member's picture
The Minotto script

It looks a good idea and quite feasable: a database selection of anything less than x Km N, S, E or W from any point of a track.
Additional filters might be neat. Availability during travel dates, responsiveness of profiles, avoiding "ghost" profiles etc...

I wonder why some people are so stubbornly saying this "not to be the WS core business". Hospitality is intensely connected with travelling, hence with track data. Others point at their veg(etari)anism as the very first important thing. I wonder how people would react if I would put my sexual preferences first. ;-)

Finding responsive and reliable hosts close to their route is so much more important for trekking cyclists.

WS Member WS Member's picture

Thanks Paul ... I have only just noticed your pointer to that very interesting application....It would be great if there was some FAQ on it, it's way " over my head" ATM ....but i can seek some advice.

I wonder ; do you remember how you found out about it ??
EDIT : is there some section such as " ..members un-official hacks & apps .." ?? I don't find this www site easy to navigate ..maybe I have missed that section ??

WS Member WS Member's picture
" ..members un-official hacks & apps .."

Hey, I have made an unofficial app for iPhone users that does what you want to do with GPS files. You can simply import either GPX or KML files to show your route on the host map.
The app is free on the AppStore ( but I have added a in-app purchase for the routes feature.
If your an iPhone user I'd appreciate any feedback so that I can improve the main functionality of the app.

WS Member WS Member's picture
Does Minotto script still work?

Tried it out. It asked my WS username and password, allowed me to upload my track, and promised me to send the result by email. Never received anything back. Either it simply doesn't work, or my track was too long.

WS Member WS Member's picture
Rajan, thanks !

Rajan, thanks, That sounds useful ...will try it out ! ( I have added it to the Summary, as below..)

Christel ... exactly *what* did not work ..? < do you mean Rajan's app ?? or the Minotto one...?? >

For those interested, i have tried to summarise the progress so far at this Google doc :

All ideas most welcome .. !

WS Member WS Member's picture
Hey, nice summary sheet.

Hey, nice summary sheet.
I have just added some instructions to my app (version 1.5.0) to help people pick up from where your instructions finish up, with some exported KML from Google My Maps. You can import the KML from various places:
1. If its hosted on the web, you can click on a link in Safari and import it.
2. You can manually add the KML file to app documents in iTunes.
3. If you save the KML in dropbox (or some other online storage service), open the file in the dropbox app and export it to the app.

I had the exact same problem as you, in that I did my planning on Google My Maps and then used Warmshowers. I tended to export my KML and save it in dropbox or google drive so that I could easily open the files on my phone with any mapping application.

I also had the problem of estimating the distance of hosts from my route, so I have included a distance estimating tool in my app. Just hold two fingers on the map and it will display the straight-line distance between the two points that you are touching. Off course the real distance to hosts will depending on terrain and roading, but I find that the straight-line distance still serves as a good starting point for estimates of the true distance and answering the original question of 'is this host close enough to my route?'.

If you do end up having a look at my app, I'd really appreciate any feedback so that it can be improved.

WS Member WS Member's picture
Minotto Script

Minotto Script didn't work for me. Size limit on GPX file?

WS Member WS Member's picture
new App ..???

Rajan , is your App a new one ..? I have a WS app already for a couple of years ( I don't know how to "specify" it), which has been useful.

If I use yours, do I drop the "old" one ..? < I wish I could email you ..>

WS Member WS Member's picture
Hey, mine is just an

Hey, mine is just an alternative to the official app. I just decided to build my version because the official one lacked features I wanted.

You can get the official app here (probably what you are already using):
You can get my one here:

You can have both installed and use them simultaneously.

I'm slowly improving the app, so if you try it let me know what you think.

WS Member WS Member's picture

Well, I just looked in the [ ? Australian ] App Store ..only the " official" one showing sign of yours ...

(I have to say, the very similar Title is something of a problem for this Consumer, tho I see why you have chosen it ..)

EDIT : Ok I found it , but only by Searching by " Rajan" [ Fernandez didn't work !] but then I find I need iOs 10 ....which I don't have...

I do think it would be useful to explain just what new features you are offering compared to the "original" ( dot points would be fine ..)

WS Member WS Member's picture
If you search the app store

If you search the app store for 'warmshowers' the official one usually tops the list. However, if you search for '' you will find my one.

WS Member grumblinggoat's picture
I am so glad to see this

I am so glad to see this thread developing!

I think the idea that Bicycle Fish is proposing here has one way or another come accross the mind of almost every long distance tourer using WS. IMHO that feature by itself would significantly improve the route planning functionality of the WS site, specially across high (member) density areas, and if combined with  a properly implemented search filter system, would also exponentially improve its capabilities for its most important goal: facilitating (efficient) hospex. 

As an active member of WS I sincerely appreciate everybody's constructive effort and dedication to the WS community and I can only hope the brainstorming goes on and yields website improvements we can all enjoy in the (hopefully not too distant) future.

Best wishes and enjoy the ride

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