If you enjoy working with GPS tracks from various events, Trackprofiler.com might be of great value to you. I ran the Peachtree Road Race 10K last week, and putting my track into Trackprofiler was quite helpful.
I recorded the track on my MotoACTV watch, which showed a total distance of 5.85 miles. A 10K is 6.2, and if any 10K race would be precisely accurate I’d expect the Peachtree certainly would be due to it’s size, popularity and history.
Interestingly enough, when I imported that track into Trackprofiler, it showed the total distance as 10.1km — almost perfect! This made me more curious about why MotoACTV was showing such an odd number, but pleased that the raw data was apparently fairly solid.
Part of the reason is likely because of the work that Trackprofiler can do to clean up your data. Along with simply importing it properly and showing the correct distance, it offers a number of handy tools:
Join multiple tracks into one
Split and remove parts of GPS tracks
Edit tracks point by point
Create tracks from scratch and save them as GPS routes
Add elevation data if your GPS track is missing it
Add/edit waypoints to your track
Detect and remove GPS measurement errors
Detect and remove elevation errors
Add and geocode images taken while recording your track
Move entire track
Convert tracks from KML, OziExplorer, Garmin, and other formats.
A few years back, Bill Royal completed the “USA Four Corners Tour” on his motorcycle and captured the journey on GPS. He’s loaded it into Google Earth, which gives a great look at what goes into completing this famous ride.
Here is Bill’s write-up of what he did.
Here are the GPS tracks on Google Earth of one of my all time favorite motorcycle trips from back in 2010.
This tour is sanctioned and governed by the SCMA (Southern California Motorcycling Association) and requires one to visit each of the 4 extreme “corners” of the USA in 21 days or less.
My riding buddy Larry and I started our Tour at the Southernmost Point in Key West FL. We proceeded north from there up to Madawaska ME, then west from there to Blaine WA and then south from there to San Ysidro CA to complete the 4 corners. We completed our actual 4 Corners Tour (starting at the 1st “corner and ending at the 4th “corner”) in 15 days, covering 7,665 miles in that time. Of course we had the time and distances to get to the start from home (blue track on map) and then back home from the finish point (green track on map) so the entire trip was 10,544 miles covered in 21 days. For the total trip – we averaged 527 miles per day with our longest day at 846 and our shortest at 380. Each color change of the track (except for the green tack on the homeward bound leg) is one days ride. Our overnight stops are marked by the waypoint markers. We had mostly very nice weather, with the exceptions of heavy rain while getting into Madawaska ME, fog so thick that we skipped the eastern side of the Going to the Sun road at glacier National Park, and we also hit a peak hot temperature of 113 degrees as we rolled into Yuma AZ. Nothing we couldn’t handle and it all makes for the adventure of touring by motorcycle.
I did this trip on my beloved 1991 Honda ST1100 “SilverSTreak” which already had 240,000 miles on at the start. My buddy Larry rode his BMW GS. Both bikes performed flawlessly, requiring only fuel to complete the trip.
I know this style of riding isn’t for everyone, but I just seem to love putting the miles on my motorcycle. Moreover, to see so much of the country over such a small amount of time really helps bring the perspective to the vastness and diversity across our lands. Larry and I are also members of the Iron Butt Association of long distance riders and both of us have ridden motorcycles well in excess of 500,000 miles each over our riding careers.
It might seem like all we ever did was ride, but besides spending time at the mentioned 4 corner points, we also took excursions that included crossing into and back out of Canada (skirting north of Lake Erie), the Going to the Sun road at Glacier National Park (from the west entrance to the visitor center near Logan Pass – the eastern slopes were too socked in with fog), a visit to the Grand Coulee Dam, Crater Lake and National Park, the Redwood National Park, Humboldt Bay, the Humboldt Redwoods State Park, as well as significant portions of the Pacific Coast Highway and crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. All in all it was one fantastic trip that I will never forget.
When Google Earth version 4 was released back in 2006, it added a great feature that allowed KML files to have time-based data. This allows you to animate GPS content as Frank wrote about soon after.
We’ve seen great examples of this over the years, such as Google’s tips on sharing your ski trips or showing replays from a sailboat race.
I recently took the family to go sledding on the fake (but fun) snow at “Snow Mountain” a few weeks ago and recorded our tracks from a few runs on my MotoACTV watch.
You can play with those runs in Google Earth by grabbing the KML file or the raw GPX file (which Google Earth can also open).
While I was out there it brought to mind the excellent 3D model of the carving that Peter Olsen build a few years ago. When loading the GPS data into Google Earth, I noticed that most of the buildings in the area were now in 3D, including the cable car system.
The majority of these models were built by Bill Molony, who has done an excellent job of creating and texturing them in a very realistic way.
If you have any GPS data from a recent activity, try loading it into Google Earth and it’ll give you a whole new perspective on what you just did. If you have a particularly compelling track, feel free to share it with everyone in the comment section below.
Franz Graf knew he had a shaky mobile connection on his daily commute, but wanted to see just how bad it was. To find out, he wrote an Android app that recorded the GPS position and signal strength along his journey and then plotted all of the data in Google Earth. The result is a great Google Earth KML that shows cell tower strength in his area:
The image above was created with approximately 9,000 data points from his commute. He plans to release the app to Google Play so that others can use it, which I would love to download to drive around my area and see how it does. I have some idea of where the dead zones are, but this would give me a more concrete look at it.
He’s released a sample KML file so you can see first-hand how the output looks.
You can read more in his original post on Google+, and then the follow-up post where he plotted it in Google Earth. If he releases the app for others to download, we’ll certainly let you know about it.