Wednesday, October 09, 2013

The Runners and Cyclists Route Finder

Strava, the popular tracking app for cyclists and runners, has released a new route finding and route creation tool called Route Builder.

The application allows joggers and cyclists to create or find popular routes between any two (or more) locations. Users can add two or more points to the Route Builder Google Map and instantly view a suggested route.

Route Builder includes two options to adjust the suggested route by 'popularity' and 'elevation'. The popularity option allows you to view the most popular routes between two locations based on Strava's entire database of users' tracked routes.

For example, in the map above you can see how selecting 'popularity' returns a longer, more attractive route that takes you through the park rather than the shorter route along a busy road. The elevation option will simply return the flattest possible route.

Each route suggested by Route Builder includes distance markers and an overview of the route's length, elevation gain and the estimated time to complete the route. An elevation graph is also provided so that you can view the elevation profile of the entire route.

If you are interested in how Route Builder was created Strava has written up a really fascinating post looking at the mechanics and algorithms behind the application. Introducing Route Builder explores how the A* algorithm (shortest path finder), geohashes (an algorithm for lat/long positions) and algorithms for popularity and elevation have been optimized to create a very fast and effective route builder.

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