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Creating & Importing Custom Maps
Hi, I am trying to create my own custom maps for use in Explorer but unless they have specific directions in them or a A to B start/end point, I can't import the map from Google My Maps.

I have tried saving the map layer as 'Directions from (place A) to (place B)' but this doesn't work and results in a no such child: {}LineString error.

It's fine if I use the built-in directions feature of My Maps to plot a route as it creates an A (start) and B (end) point but if I want to freehand it and plot my own route then it won't import that route into the game.

It would be great if we could import any GPX or KML file into the game somehow. For example, I want to ride from Land's End to John O'Groats in Explorer but the routes created in My Maps use roads you wouldn't normally ride on on a bike, such as dual carriageways, plus it was very buggy and had lots of random plot points all over the place resulting in the game getting stuck between plot points and I would have to use the 'Go Back' feature of the game and hope it would get unstuck or exit the game entirely and load the route again.

I found some alternate routes (GPX files) that someone else had created elsewhere that avoided such roads and used roads that you would actually be able to cycle on but I can't get this into the game as when I import it into Google My Maps, it doesn't show the directions from A to B, just a red start and green end point with the route layed out in blue.

If we could create our own custom routes without the need for directions or import any GPX/KML file then this would be great. The main issue seems to be having to have this A and B point which only happens when you use the My Maps directions feature to auto-create a route. There seems to be no way to create your own route and say Point A goes here at the start of the route and point B goes here at the end.

I hope I made sense with what I mean.
I think one of the unique features of this app is even having the ability to import custom maps. I agree that it is a bit wonky... but it is still an amazing feature.

One workaround for your route is to ask google maps to ignore highways or "carriage-ways" This is actually possible in the headset.

Driving directions can be edited on the fly...I think it is drag and click so you should be able to drag the route onto the roads you want to travel.

I'm not an expert, but "no such child" suggests that there is something wrong with the formatting of your map... usually that you are trying to import the entire thing rather than the single-layer KML file.

I have planned many long trips...spanning thousands of miles... Instead of importing a very long map... you might be better off just importing the map in various "sections". There are many reasons why this is a good idea. Sometimes there are "errors" with the VZFIT software...and losing 15 or 20km that you already completed is not as bad as losing 200.

Through breaking the route into smaller sections there can also be a bit of trial and error as you refine your mapping process... or even make detours later on.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining about it as such and I know that the problem is more to do with the way Google My Maps works than with VZFit, it would just be a bit easier to create custom maps if we didn't have to have the directions side of it as a requirement and instead you could just drop pins or something or import other GPX or KML maps from elsewhere.

I think the issue with my "No such child" error was because I was trying to import maps that didn't have A to B directions and where just custom routes. I always import the single layer rather then the entire map.

As you said, for the time being it's best to just break up the long routes into smaller sections and I have had to just accept Google's quirks where it is constantly trying to get you to use the roads it wants you to use (sometimes even when I drag a section of the pre-determined route to use a specific road I want, it still snaps back to the default route/road).

In Google My Maps you can't specify for it to avoid highways specifically but you can select whether it's a driving, cycling or walking route. It still tends to use a lot of roads you wouldn't normally ride on (even if they aren't highways, they can still be extremely busy and dangerous roads not normally used by bikes). I know the danger and busy aspect doesn't matter in this instance as it's just a virtual world but sometimes you can wind up riding on the equivalent of a highway for miles and miles when I would rather be on country roads.

It is what it is and it's the only/best thing out there that allows you to ride Google Street View in VR at the moment.
I've been doing some more tests with custom maps by creating them both in Explorer's Create A Ride section and on my desktop PC in Google My Maps for comparison. It looks like the game's Create A Ride uses the driving route only although there is an option to disable highways. When creating a map in Google My Maps on my computer, you can either do a map for driving, cycling or walking and each one will be different and use some different roads (GMM doesn't give you the option of choosing alternate routes like the standard Google Maps does) and Google My Maps doesn't have an option to disable/avoid highways.

It seems choosing a cycling route in GMM was perhaps causing the problem with missing sections, random white dots/plot points in the game and problems when jumping to the next location. I think this is because Explorer requires the use of continuous Google Street View imagery (not still images) and sometimes that's not available on certain roads or the cycling route goes down roads and paths where a car can't go and vice versa. Because Explorer generally works better with driving/car-based routes, it has problems with anything else.

This also causes a problem when creating custom routes in Google My Maps (I couldn't really create custom routes in Explorer's Create A Ride due to you only being able to input a start and end point to create directions) where you may want to use specific roads. If you create a driving route then you will be restricted to roads a car can use but you may want to go on a different road that's more suitable to cycling. You can't then switch to a cycling route and use those specific roads as it will alter the entire route.

As an example, I tried to create a custom route that closely followed the coast of Cornwall and Devon. I had Google Earth opened in one tab in my browser and Google My Maps in another, I wanted to be able to see exactly which roads had Street View as I assumed they would be usable in the game. When creating my route, I selected a driving route at first and dragged the little blue line where I wanted it to go, I had to make adjustments along the way by dragging the line and creating little white dots (plot points?) to make the route use specific roads. I constantly checked Google Earth to make sure I was only using Street View roads (I wanted to avoid as much "Jumping To Next Location" as possible and make the route smooth and continuous). I found that sometimes the line in My Maps wouldn't use specific roads I dragged it to (I don't know if that's because I ran out of plot points to adjust the line or not), I then checked Google Earth and went into Street View on some roads and found signs indicating they were cycle paths and didn't appear to be used by vehicles. So I changed the route style from driving to cycling so I could use those paths but then found this changed the entire route and that I had the opposite problem where the cycle route wouldn't use roads that only a car could use. It would also use paths/lanes that didn't have Street View.

So it seems that custom mapping is very difficult to do in My Maps and you're best using the driving route but then this will use highways as you can't disable them (unless of course you drag the line away from them). If you want the easiest method then create a route in Explorer itself with the Create A Ride feature as you can disable highways on that but you can't be as specific about where the route goes. There are also some problems when trying to input the start and end locations, I found a few instances of "No data for that location please try another" despite there being continuous street view data for where I wanted to place the pin or the locations I searched for.

Importing smaller sections/maps of an overall long route is better but I am not sure what is an ideal size for these sections or stages if you like and how customisable they can be. Another route I am interested in doing is The Great Tour which is a cycle route around the whole of the UK (excluding Ireland). I am not sure if those smaller sections would be better suited to the game or if it's even possible to create custom routes based on these. Perhaps I shall just have to create routes in Explorer based on each section using whatever route it creates and be happy with that.
One option you have is to create a multi step path. So if you want to make sure your route from point a to point b goes down main street, make a map that does from point a to one end of main street to the other end of main street to point b. It has been awhile since I created a map outside of the app but if I remember correctly you can have 10 such waypoints.
Thanks for the suggestion and I have tried multi-point directions which may work better over much shorter distances but not really for what I want to do.

I have created multi-point routes (so from point A to B to C and so on) and then Google My Maps directions has worked out a route between each point. Due to Google's rules/method by which the algorithm decides which roads will be used (which is based primarily on speed and which roads get you there the quickest and are the most direct route), it seems to really restrict where you can drag the road.

For example I have been trying to create a map based on the Deloitte Ride Across Britain route which goes from Land's End to John O'Groats It is divided up into 9 stages and so I have created a My Maps map with each stage set as 9 points on the map (or 9 sets of directions). I am then comparing my map with the Deloitte map and dragging the generated route to use the roads that the Deloitte map uses.

This is proving almost impossible as for some reason I get a certain way along the map with reasonable success in forcing the map to use specific roads and then suddenly it just stops working. I try to drag a section of the road somewhere else and it just snaps back to it's original position. This continues on for the rest of the route, even though I was able to drag previous sections perfectly fine (well, relatively fine, it still wouldn't let me drag to some roads but overall it would).

I have tried using driving, cycling and walking routes but the same problem occurs, after a while I am no longer able to drag parts of the route where I want it to go. Here is a link to the map I am trying to create:

Hopefully if the link works, you will see there are sections where the road just won't move to where I want it to go. I have created a layer with the Deloitte route imported in as a KML file, this is highlighted in red with the Google created route in blue. The route seems to stop being draggable from around Bodmin onwards. I only imported the first two sections of the Deloitte route, so after section C, there is no more red route layer as I just wanted to test with the first few sections to see if it would work.

The problem with not being able to drag the route after a while also occurs when using the drawing function to create directions by clicking on a point on the map and then literally drawing along which roads you want to use before finishing at the end by double clicking the final point. The map's routing is constantly trying to go where it wants to which is fine as I can always drag the road elsewhere but after a while it just stops working and I can't manipulate the route anymore.

As I said in my previous post, I don't think this is anything to do with VZFit and is just a limitation of using Google's My Maps but being able to make truly custom maps is really difficult if not impossible. I have lots of ideas for doing long-distance rides and would love to be able to create fully custom maps (as long as they stick to using Google Street View covered roads) but that is just not possible with the limitations of the My Maps system.

The Deloitte Ride Across Britain site provides links to mapping of each stage using the Ride With GPS app/route planning software. This is great as it can exported to lots of different file formats such as GPX and KML but unfortunately I can't just import these direct into the game (via the VZFit Ride Upload site as normal). Nor can I import them into Google My Maps and export them as KML files for use in the game as they don't contain the directions data required. Hence the reason I was attempting to use them as an overlay to then create my own custom route with directions over the top but this too has proven to not be possible.

For now I think I will have to just make do with whatever routes I can create in My Maps or in the game and get used to the fact that customisation is very limited and I probably be best sticking to whatever route Google comes up with (even if it means miles of boring A-road sections with not much to look at other than lots of traffic).

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