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July 22, 2005
Location, Location, Location
There's plenty of cool stuff to do with GPS, but this may be one of the coolest things, at least if you like to spend your weekends with your butt firmly planted on a bicycle seat: mapping out bicycling routes and rides. I'm a semi-frequent road biker. Recently bought a pair of the fancy shoes. I'm not serious enough yet to ride with a GPS monitor strapped to my arm, but if I was, I'd be all over the MotionBased Web site. It's a subscription service, based in Sausalito, Calif. (near Mt. Tam, where mountain biking was invented) that allows you to map and analyze your biking activities. (also hiking, canoeing, running, etc.)
Using a computer and cable you can upload all sorts of info about your rides, including time, distance, elevation, and heart rate, and weather. Once the info is in the system, you can do all sorts of comparing and analyzing your performance on different routes. You can also link your MotionBased data with Google Earth to superimpose your routes on Google Earth satellite maps.
There's some really interesting community stuff, as well. You can share your routes and performance data with others. One amazing feature: "Dot racing." You feed in your data about a recent ride on a particular route, others do the same, and you can watch dots representing the different riders "race" around the route laid out on a map.
MotionBased has a blog.
Here's a site that links to all sorts of GPS/recreation sites.
Also check out my biking friend and BW colleague Steve Baker's recent blog item asking about biker route sharing, "Wanted: Global Bike Maps."
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Folks interested in this topic may want to check out my book, GPS Mapping - Make Your Own Maps (http://www.MakeYourOwnMaps.com). I'm an avid biker and did 99% of my field research on my bike, so I guess you could say that it's written from a biker's perspective.
Posted by: Rich Owings at July 22, 2005 08:14 PM
Wow, Google Earth is amazing! I also found a website that lists cool sights you can visit with Google Earth and Google Maps..
Posted by: Mark at July 23, 2005 05:17 AM
GPS tech is going to go crazy as it gets smaller and more embedded. Wait until your cellphone, camera and MP3 player have built in GPS! Heck why not have a GPS on your bike just like in a car ?
A nice FREE alternative to motionbased is SportTracks - save your subscription fee and buy some nice running shoes. :D It has zoomable maps, shoe tracking, weather forecasts, heart-rate, tons of features - oh yeah and it also drops your GPS track into Google Earth!
Check it out:
Posted by: Eric Ross at July 25, 2005 09:15 PM
Wait a minute, I've got a GPS on my bike! ;-) Seriously though, thanks for the zonefive link. Another great option for outdoor enthusiasts wanting to track their performance is TopoFusion (www.topofusion.com). It automatically links digital photos to where you shot them along your track, and that's just one cool feature.
"We were desert mystics, my friends and I, poring over our maps as others do their holy books." - Edward Abbey
Posted by: Rich Owings at July 27, 2005 07:49 PM