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A note on our PDF maps

Sunday 30 October
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When you’re planning a route, cycle.travel has always offered the option to export a print-ready PDF in one of several scales. PDF maps are great as a fallback for electronic navigation, or even as the sole means of navigation if you don’t have a phone or GPS device to hand.

Our PDF maps are a little bit special in that they’re “vector maps”. They’re not just on-screen maps pasted into a PDF, but rather, maps generated specially in PDF format. This means they look smoother and can be printed out at any scale without blurring.

Is there a downside? Well, sort of. We’re really proud of the PDF maps, but they’re hard work for our server to generate. Generating each map ties up the server for several seconds, during which it has reduced capacity to plan routes or simply serve the cycle.travel website. At busy times this can cause problems.

To help manage this, from mid-November, our PDF map export will be available for cycle.travel supporters only. This will mean we can keep providing the facility without it becoming prohibitively expensive to do so.

There are no other existing features that I’m planning to put behind this ‘paywall’. PDF cuesheets will still be available free to everyone, and so will pre-generated PDF maps for each route guide. It’s simply that generating the PDF maps takes up a disproportionate amount of server resources.

You can be a cycle.travel supporter for just £2 per month, compared to £5.99 upwards for other routing sites. cycle.travel offers lots of features for free that require premium membership elsewhere, such as multi-day routes, direct Garmin Connect transfer, private routes, (almost) unlimited waypoints – and several features of our upcoming iPhone app. Thank you to everyone who continues to support the site!

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