Geospatial – News

The Swiss Bicycle Route Planner from Pro Velo Bern and the City of Bern

15 July 2015

The association Pro Velo Bern and the city of Bern used to publish over the past few years a printed bicycle map, showing the best bicycle routes in and around the city. With the spread of smartphones and new technologies, the association decided to initiate and maintain an online bicycle route planner. Camptocamp supported Pro Velo Bern in designing the system and created the solution for them. This blog shows the concepts and technical solutions of the new bicycle route planner.

OSM Data – Crowdsourcing for cyclists

One of the main points during the concept phase was the choice of the data used. The bicycle route planner should use 100% of the OpenStreetMap data. The data is already near-complete in Switzerland concerning street data and is free to use. But the usage of OpenStreetMap gives another important advantage: Pro Velo Bern can motivate their members and users to complete and correct the data by themselves, thus supporting the crowdsourcing strategy of OpenStreetMap and, at the same time, minimizing maintenance costs for their application while keeping a very good data quality.

OSRM – an Open Routing Engine

As for the data, the routing engine is Open Source-based. The Open Source Routing Machine (OSRM) is a well-prooved and extremely performant routing tool. It is used on for car routing, but on the base of it lies an active Open Source software project. OSRM can be used with OSM data or with your own data, and the routing profiles can be adapted with a LUA configuration file to the means of transport.

Bicycle Profile in Order to Find the Best Bicycle Routes

The routing profile has been adapted for Pro Velo Bern for the specific needs of cyclists in Switzerland. The bases for the profile have been the basic bicycle profile of the Swiss OpenStreetMap community and, mainly, the bicycle profile of iBikeCPH, a routing application for Copenhagen. One of the differences with Copenhagen is though in regards of the Swiss topography: the routing profile of Pro Velo Bern integrates the vertical drop differences while calculating the routes and therefore choses flat, but slightly longer routes over very steep routes.

The routing is available for the whole Switzerland and is updated on a regular basis with new OSM data.


Responsive and Intuitive

The bicycle route planner has been developped as a responsive website, while keeping a special eye on mobile usability. The mobile website has been designed for a very easy use and is based on the most recent Open Source libraries:

  • Openlayers 3 for the map component
  • Angular / Bootstrap for the GUI elements
  • NGeo as the connector between Openlayers and Angular / Bootstrap

The result is free to use on

Have fun cycling!

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