A device that maps and monitors the topography of roads for cyclists. Along with an open source platform for users to share journey readings and compare routes.
The system and object we have created and developed uses a collective open source approach that builds upon an already strong cycling community and a growing acceptance of the need for a safer cycling environment. The system combines a motion based method of data collection and these existing platforms to create a tool and database that is implemented and used by the cycling community as a whole to map the topography and quality of roads. Any cyclist can use the device and system as the object can be attached to any frame with ease and directly connects the users online profile. The appeal and use plays on the curiosity of road quality not only on a personal level but also in a wider communal sense that could then be used by existing systems such as councils and road agencies to improve the quality of roads. The object works by being placed on the users bike and is then turned on and off in order to measure the topography of sections of roads or journeys when and where the user sees fit. The mapping device inside the object is based on an Arduino electronic prototyping platform, details of which are openly available to the online community via the website. This includes the schematics, necessary parts and detailed instructions on the programing and coding so that anyone could replicate these and create their own device. The data recording is achieved through the vibrations being picked up by an accelerometer, which are then converted into a live data stream that can be accessed online in an interactive real time updating interface. The data is visualised using a traffic light based colour coded system, green being a smooth surface, orange rough surfaces and red representing larger impacts such as potholes. With options within the online interface to change the visualizations of the impact parameters so that better or worse roads could be highlighted. When the data from different users and bikes over large areas come together, a visual language begins to become apparent with networks based purely on the quality of the surface of the roads. Road quality is not only mapped by the visual language created by the device, but is also interpreted and humanized through the option on the site of a linked twitter feed. These are accessed via individual user profiles where users can post and share updates and experiences. This generates a sense of depth within the user and cycling community in relation to the roads by rapidly sharing personal accounts with one another. We hope the system will begin to highlight and bring to light the importance of road quality, which in turn would begin to create a safer infrastructure for the cycling community.