For a change, this month we don't visit a site with eye-catching climbing pics, the latest news out of the mountaineering world, nor beta about an exotic iceclimbing route... this time it doesn't have anything to do with climbing at all!
As site of the month, we've chosen an online routeplanner this time... Climbers are some kind of travellers too, aren't they?
There has to be a good reason to break with the good tradition of reviewing CLIMBING sites... and there is, imho.
The routeplanner consists out of three parts: the standard routeplanner, i.e. by road; a routeplanner by railroad, and finally one by plane.
The standard routeplanner is excellent, it would surprise me when there was another one on the Internet, which could even come near this one. To illustrate it's grade of detail, you can not only enter the town you live in, it even contains every parish! And it covers entire Europe. The results come with a little map with the travel route (you can zoom into) and a detailed route description.
Regarding the rail planner, I conducted some tests, and my conclusion is that it works even better than the Belgian railroad company's (NMBS, www.b-rail.be) own planner! This means, it contains the same (correct!) information, plus some extra's, like a little graphic. Only the price calculation doesn't always work out well. This site is one of the few places where you can plan European railtrips without making 10 phone calls first, or puzzling together your route with information from all separate railroad companies.
Unfortunately the airway part is not that good...
Enter your departing place and destination, and it will bring you to some dark commercial site (yes, about aeroplanes), but you won't get flight information.
Anyway, this is not important... Flying is to expensive for me, I only want to climb.
This is on of the handiest websites I've ever seen (next to Belclimb of coarse :-) ) It's level of detail does have it's price indeed, and this is... speed. At some moments of the day, you better make you've also got something else to do, to soften the pain of waiting.
The routeplanner is a part of the Webster www5.tiscover.com, in it's entireties also an interesting site, but it would bring us to far from climbing.
Have a look: http://www5.tiscover.com/1Root/routenplaner/...