6 Fun Sites to Track Your Trails

Adam DuVander
Jun. 19 2009, 02:13AM EDT

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.

Adam DuVander Hi! I'm Developer Communications Director for SendGrid and former Executive Editor of ProgrammableWeb. I currently serve as a Contributing Editor. If you have API news, or are interested in writing for ProgrammableWeb, please contact editor@programmableweb.com Though I'm a fan of anything API-related, my particular interest is in mapping. I've published a how-to book, Map Scripting 101, to get anyone started making maps on websites. In a not-so-distant past life I wrote for Wired and Webmonkey.

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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.

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&amp;gl=us&amp;ptab=2&amp;ie=UTF8&am...
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