6 Fun Sites to Track Your Trails

Adam DuVander, June 19th, 2009

Route map with elevation detailsWhether for exercise, sight-seeing, or just for fun, most of us enjoy walking, running and biking our way through the city or the country side. Below you’ll find six mashups from the Programmable Web database that help you track, share and measure your excursions outside of a moving vehicle.

Share Your Workout Route

If you want a place to store or view routes that also has a community of users, run–don’t walk–to WalkJogRun (mashup profile). You can search nearby routes and view details. Each route contains mile markers and lets you edit your own copy of the route. Even better, developers will appreciate that any route can be exported to KML or GPX. This is also the only such site I’ve found that has its own iPhone app.

With a name like WikiWalki (mashup profile), you might expect an unstructured database of GPS tracks. Not so, as it actually has one of the best interfaces for entering route data. Any point can be moved or deleted, so there’s no need to get it right the first time. A cool measurement tool lets route viewers and creators to calculate the distance of specific segments.

Simplicity is key for WalkDB (mashup profile), which stores and displays basic routes. Most simply have a beginning, end and the turns in between. One feature that not every route takes advantage of are landmarks. WalkDB would be the perfect site to use to share walking tours of historic districts, for example. The only downside is that users are required to register to add a route to its database.

Get Off The Road

If you like getting out of the city and onto some trails, MTBGuru (mashup profile) is for you. Though focused first on mountain bikes, the site breaks routes into several categories, including hiking, running and skiing. It appears to only allow new routes through GPS tracks, probably because it’s hard to plot trails from satellite photos. That means MTBGuru has richer data, including how long a route took. Mixed with altitude, it makes for some detailed graphs.

MTBGuru.com

The more casual trail hound might prefer Trail Chaser (mashup profile). You can add data from a web interface in addition to uploading from a GPS. There aren’t many trails yet, but those that are there have elevation data (better to know about the 2,000 foot climb ahead of time, no?) and, in some cases, photos taken along the route.

Find the Distance–Quickly

When it comes to simply measuring distances, there’s still nothing better than GMaps Pedometer (mashup profile). No login is required, so you can jump right in. It measures elevation, shows mile markers and exports as GPX. Plus, it has a feature I haven’t seen in any other track-entering interface: it optionally uses routing to plot the path between two points, easing the job of inputting a route.

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4 Responses to “6 Fun Sites to Track Your Trails”

March 5th, 2010
at 3:13 am
Comment by: GMaps Pedometer, Now With Optional G

[...] And if you’d like to check out similar sites, read our guide 6 Fun Sites to Track Your Trails. [...]

March 25th, 2010
at 2:05 am
Comment by: Google Launches Maps Elevation Data API

[...] and bikers. In fact, there are several end-user tools that make use of elevation data in our 6 Fun Sites to Track Your Trails. Now, getting at that data is even [...]

March 25th, 2010
at 4:47 am
Comment by: Mike

Hi guys,
Very interesting material, very.
Check also our website – http://tourstart.org , it is indeed relevant to your post.
It is still in beta, but you can check our TourBuilder. When a route is done it can be downloaded in Garmin GPS format.

April 8th, 2010
at 9:16 am
Comment by: Bill F

You missed the big fish in the pond – Google Maps, My Maps
Anyone that sets up a Google account can create their own maps on the Google base with their own waypoint markers and other notations.
Here is one that barely scratches the surface of what can be done.
http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?hl=en&gl=us&ptab=2&ie=UTF8&oe=UTF8&msa=0&msid=101801227834931615797.000453466f05085e2f9f6
and you get a main page that shows links to all your maps
http://maps.google.com/maps/user?uid=103950240027887520152

You can draw directly on the map and/or upload GPS data that has been converted to KML (I use http://www.gpsvisualizer.com/map_input?form=googleearth)

If you are planning a route, you can use the manual tools to draw it, then use a tool like GmapToGPX (http://www.elsewhere.org/journal/gmaptogpx/) to create a file for transfer to your GPX. I have found this useful with the satellite image to make a rough drawing of off road trails that are not on maps. I was almost completely within 30 feet of the track from the GPS on the trail and the main errors were due to trees obscuring the actual trail on the satellite view

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ProgrammableWeb
APIs, mashups and code. Because the world's your programmable oyster.

John Musser
Founder, ProgrammableWeb

Adam DuVander
Executive Editor, ProgrammableWeb. Author, Map Scripting 101. Lover, APIs.