All the Kurviger(.de)

TL;DR: In this post I’m taking a look at why I use map and route planner, and why you should give it a try because it creates some fantistic twisty routes.

Route planning is often the unsung hero – or villain – of a day out, as we curse missed turns, closed roads or things simply beyond anyone’s control like a road sliding away, or being blocked by a tree.

There’s a wealth of sites, devices and applications available for us to find the best way to get from point A to point B, and potentially a few points in the middle. However, many of these sites and applications make this bizarre assumption that you want to get there as quickly as possible on the straightest roads. How very bizarre. One that I find myself using quite often is

Why Kurviger? Well, let’s take a look at it.

It’s a map and routing site based on the OpenStreetMap map base, with a few sub-versions available. It has all the usual functionality of a start, end, mid points, extensions, points of interests, petrol stations and all those kind of things – it also has as a nice list of GPS coordinates of your set points which is nice too.

One of the fun features is how you can ask it to calculate a route for you – as fastest, fast and curvy, curvy or super curvy road types. The latter really is a fun thing to try – a lot of turns, often going a longer, more scenic way also.

Here’s a simple example from here in Japan, where Kurviger makes hugely different routes depending on which algorithm we ask for – straight, or super curvy.

As a motorcyclist, I like this kind of feature, partly to find new roads to places I know, but also for just creating something fun to ride.

The site now also has an account system so you can create your route and save it on their server for the next time you need it. You could also technically just bookmark it, as much (I suspect not all) of the data is in the URL you’re looking at. I currently export mine as a gpx track, which I can also upload later if I want to do another version of it. I then use these gpx track files in my smartphone OSMAnd+ app to use as a navigation file. One other way to find routes on the site is via ‘tourcodes’ which are rides created or recommended by various magazines and journalists.

Kurviger themselves also have a mobile app, although I haven’t used it that much so I can’t give a full review, but it does seem decent. They also have a forum if you have questions, which I’ve used a couple of times, and found the response to be quite and helpful.

So this is all well and good as a website to mobile app, but what’s it life in real life? As you can likely imagine, when we get to super curvy, Kurviger is going to find some small and real backwater roads. Better to say ‘ways to go’. A few times I’ve been down real agricultural dirt tracks. Once I ended up on a basic concrete service track just a couple of metres wide, riding a meter above some rice fields, which narrowed as it got to the real road. It was a beautiful ride, with my only fear being someone coming the other way! Another time I ended up in a road in the hills so rarely used there was debris all over it which was a fun hour clearing a safe path for my road tyres. Yes, it would have been quicker to back, but where’s the fun in that?

These are not a Kurviger issue, but highlights it will choose any road it has in its system. If you’re of the right mindset though, it’s a great way to find some interesting routes and server something up if you’re drawing a blank on where to go that day.