Hokkaido Report Via PlaceMe

PlaceMeWhen thinking back about past rides  we often focus on the roads taken and the destinations more than the stops. However, if you try out the iOS/Android app PlaceMe, it is easy to be reminded of all the forgotten places you stopped along the way.

Want to find that ramen shop you stopped at again? Did you forget the name of the campsite you stayed at, or the location of those awesome sunset photos you stopped to take? PlaceMe has you covered. It is a dead simple set-it-and-forget-it app. You simply set it to log any location you stop at for more than five minutes, direct it to send daily logs to your Evernote account, and that is it. At the end of each day you will get a summary of all the places you have been.

As an example, here are the maps for the twelve days of my Hokkaido trip earlier this month. (Click the first image to view them as a slideshow.)

You can see from these maps that my first day, riding from Hamada to Kanazawa, was a long ride with few stops. On the other hand, the ride from Otaru to Kutchan was overwhelmingly beautiful, and you can see that we stopped numerous times to appreciate the views. Using this data, I can fairly easily pinpoint the locations of all the photos I took with my DSLR, which does not have GPS data on its own.

The daily log that gets uploaded to your Evernote account actually includes details for each stop. If the app knows the location, it will create a link to the location’s Google+ page. If it does not know the location, it will give you the route number and city, which may (or may not) successfully link to a Google map. Take my final day as an example:

Here you can see that my first location is set at 9:59 p.m. on the 14th. That would be the apps best guess at where I was staying that night. It seems to have selected a restaurant near my hotel, but close enough… The next stop is a convenience store, Lawson’s, where I stopped to use an ATM and to drain the water from my boots. (See The Long Ride Home for the full report on this rainy ride.) The next stop was at 12:15, when I stopped to get some gas at Dr. Drive. As I had been riding for seven hours in the rain at this point, my next stop was 20 minutes later in a McDonalds to get some food and warm up a bit. Miraculously, the rain stopped while I was warming my hands around a cup of McDonalds’ infamously nuclear hot coffee, so the last stop before home was on route 9 in Gotsu, where I stopped at ゴリラ酒 (“Gorilla Alcohol”) to get some beer so I could warm up with a shower beer when I got home. (It seems there is a website for everything these days…) By the way, the route 9 link above is a perfect example of how this app fails for unknown locations outside of the USA.

shower beer

My data for the day ends in Gotsu, as I did not really move from home after enjoying my shower beer.

So now that I’ve shown you how I use this to track my stops when riding, how would you make use of this app?

Disclaimer: If you plan on cheating on your spouse, murdering someone, or just participating in some anarchy, you might want to turn this app off. The author will not be held responsible if  you accidentally place yourself at the scene of a crime.

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