Crazy Idea for creating new maps Automated 3D map using video

(Peter Lin) #1

I’ve been thinking about how people could make new maps for Zwift and it feels like the technology has come a long way. I came across this paper on automating it with computer vision


If someone built this and used a couple of GoPro camera’s it would significantly reduce the cost of creating real world maps. A tool like this could totally open up Zwift.

(Maurizio Gigliotti) #2


(Peter Lin) #3

Thanks for the video Maurizio. I knew there were companies working on this stuff, but I hadn’t seen that video. A lot of the technology exists and is mature enough, so someone just needs to put the pieces together.

(Eric C. (Zwift HQ)) #4

And then everyone is riding on their own map and you’ll get, at most, 1 other person riding with you. :wink:

(Peter Lin) #5

LOL that could happen, but hopefully Zwift grows so big that there’s tens of thousands of people on Zwift all the time. Then your local bike club can do a local ride with other locals. I would love to ride the roads of Belgium or France.

(Eric C. (Zwift HQ)) #6

That would be pretty awesome. I think we’re pretty keen on keeping the routes hand-crafted for now but the future is bright :slight_smile:

(Peter Lin) #7

I understand the desire and need to control things. If someone makes a world that’s too high res, someone else on an old computer and 1GB video card would suffer. Being a programmer fascinated with AI technologies, my brain naturally day dreams about crazy stuff. Hopefully in 2-4 years Zwift will have enough users that this kind of thing starts to become appealing. There’s so many places I’d love to ride, but could never afford it. Crowd sourcing the map making in the future would be awesome.

(Josh Lewis) #8

If you want to ride video routes of places in the world, there are already other sources for that, like bkool.  Zwift is a bit different.  I do look forward to a larger map for watopia island, and maybe at least 7 different venues so each day of the week can have its own course.

(Mark Hewitt) #9

The hand craftedness of the routes is Zwifts biggest strength IMO. There just need to be more of them. They’re just taking their sweet ass time rolling them out. 

(Mark Hewitt) #10

The way I see it there should be two main areas:

  1. Watopia - This should be massively expanded on the current loop, with an extensive road network where you can choose where you want to ride.

  2. Real world course - At the moment this is just Richmond. But hopefully more real world places will be added, so we’d have something like 5 or 6 of them in rotation.


Now ideally you should be able to choose between 1 & 2 when you start the game. But I realise that might mean that everyone chooses Watopia and the real world course is empty - so a rotation similar to now would work fine, but unlike now make it so that it’s not the same course on the same day of the week! 


Obviously even just that is a lot of work, but I think achievable for 12 months time? 

(Peter Lin) #11

@Josh - I took a look at BKool. It’s interesting. Hopefully they keep improving it. It’s nice to see what they’ve done with the available GIS data to automatically generate a 3D world. I used to do 3D modeling, so I like the idea of being able to create my own map to share with my buddies. Automation is just my way of being lazy and doing something fun. I giggle at the idea of creating a virtual route based on the real world and getting my buddies together for a group ride when new england weather is toooo cold.

(Bastiaan Gaillard [HIK - C]) #12

There will be a extension for Watopia soon as you can see before you start with the climb. Hopefully it will be available in December… great for the holiday season.

(Rich Rivet) #13

@ Peter Lin

I’ve used BKOOL for the last ~18 months (more so in the winter months, I’m a New England rider too), and right now you can easily upload the GPS of any route you create (I use and then ride it in the 3D simulator, maybe with your group, but typically you’re riding stuff like that alone. Zwift needs to keep their course offerings small so that there’s lots of people riding in the same course. Adding more courses will destroy the social aspect that Zwift is all about, IMHO.  

(Peter Lin) #14

@Rich Rivet

thanks for the info on BKool. I don’t own a BKool trainer, so I can’t try it. Right now there isn’t enough people to populate a dozen courses with 200+ riders all the time, but my hope is that it grows to the point that it does. I’m an optimist, I hope in the next 2-4 years Zwift gets 1 million users. When that happens, it should be feasible to expand things a bit so that local clubs can make virtual group rides. I know about a dozen people in central MA that use Zwift regularly. It would be great to get the gang together and do some of our favorites routes virtually. I’m just day dreaming, but it would be awesome to map Mount Greylock Century and see if I can do it on the trainer.

(Rich Rivet) #15

@Peter Lin

I did the Kings Tour of the Quabbin  (125 miles, 7,500 ft of ascent) this past season, and I now have the Mt Greylock Century (with 11,000 ft of ascent) on my radar for next year! I can’t fathom riding either of those century distances on a trainer, even if it was with a group. 40 miles (about 120 minutes) is just about my limit, before hand/shoulder fatigue sets in. There’s just not enough variety of movement. 

(Peter Lin) #16

@Rich Rivet


I do the KTOQ double every summer with my friends from 7hills wheelmen. Some of my friends have done 5-6hr trainer sessions in the past before Zwift existed. I also do Mount Greylock century which is about 11K of ascent with 3 Cat2 climbs. Technically the south approach to greylock is Cat1 climb, but sometimes people say it’s more like Cat2 because of the middle “flat” section.