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Use online maps to calculate running distance
  [vote for,

For many of us runners, tracing out reliable running distances can be a pain since we must drive the route using a car or ride the route using a bike to measure it. Additionally, like many runners, I like to vary my routes day by day for variety and a change of scenery.

I propose a waypoint system that can be used with online map services (such as http://maps.google.com/) to trace out and measure an arbitrary route's length.

Clicking on the map in this mode will draw a series of dots connected by a line. A running total (har, har) of the length of the line will be displayed near the map scale. By using a number of waypoints along intersections, one would easily be able to measure how far he or she has run that day.

Thank you for your feedback.

victor, Apr 18 2006

Simla, but different Route_20Nudge
However, if you can do one, you can probably do the other. [DrCurry, Apr 20 2006]

Tobyk's Gmaps Pedometer http://www.tobyk.com/maps/
Clickable google maps route calculator for runners. [Heathera, Apr 21 2006]


       That's a very interesting idea. The normal routing software is all about A to B at shortest path, not "find me a path of distance X".   

       I don't think it is, by any means, a trivial algorithm, but I guess that mapping software has the weighting of edges already so I don't see why this couldn't be done.
Jinbish, Apr 18 2006

       It sounds like you either misunderstood my idea or are adding an idea of your own. I wasn't thinking of having the map create a route of distance X, although I had considered another idea of Random Route Creation.   

       This idea is for you to click on the map, probably at intersections, to create a series of waypoints. The map software, using the scale of current view, should have no problem calculating how far it is between your waypoints.
victor, Apr 18 2006

       Alternatively, some pedometers are quite accurate these days.
Shz, Apr 18 2006

       I just use my GPS to calculate distances like this.   

       This seems like a pretty good feature for map tools. Google earth and maps seem to know the coordinates of where you click.   

       In a truly arbitrary route, you may cut through vacant lots or through buildings or other places that aren't actual roadways: assume a continuous path between successively added waypoints or drag between waypoints like a multi-point line in drawing software or connect the dots after the waypoints are added to specify the actual path?
half, Apr 18 2006

       [Shz] I don't find pedometers to be that accurate for running (as opposed to walking) but maybe those are just the one's I've tried.   

       [half] I was thinking that the software would automatically connect the dots in order as you click. There's no reason to stick to just to roadways, on the map or in real life :)
victor, Apr 19 2006

       Seems like this should be relatively easy for map tools to do - the hard bit is going to be entering your route into the tool.
hippo, Apr 19 2006

       Pedometers are inertial measuring equipment that measure not distance, but number of steps. You can then USE that to find the approx. distance, but you have to input your stride. Pedometers are by no means all that accurate in distance. Lets say your average jogging stride is 3 ft or 1 m; for a half a mile, you slow down and walk at half-meter strides. Whoops! Average stride goes down! Now you have to recalculate, but darn, I didn't count all my steps.   

       So +   

       [giantnap] I have alwaysw loved that site.
DesertFox, Apr 20 2006

       Ah, righto [victor], I was adding a level of complexity there... The more simple waypoint model would be a useful guide when examining the maps (you still get the bun).
Jinbish, Apr 20 2006

       Heathera: neat little app, but unfortunately, it has no map intelligence - you have to plot the route exactly - it simply draws its route lines directly between markers, not following navigable streets. But it does seem to directly Bake victor's idea.
DrCurry, Apr 21 2006

       Indeed. I've been using it all spring to measure my running routes. Actually the lack of street knowledge has turned out to be useful because some of the newer roads I run on aren't on the Google map yet.
Heathera, Apr 21 2006

       So, if your stride length is different than the length you programmed into the pedometer it becomes inaccurate. Who knew? Learn something every day. I'm going to invent one with a wheel you push along the ground to solve this problem. ;)   

       Anyway, just an alternative suggestion. No fishy here.
Shz, Apr 21 2006

       Heathera - awesome link, that's exactly what I was looking for. I'll happily accept the "Baked" in exchange for getting an existing site that does exactly what I need :) HAND
victor, Apr 24 2006

       I've manually measured running distances point-to-point by inputting intersections and adding up the legs. Your way is better - for thee I bun!
strange606, Jun 29 2006

       I work with a mapping system that can do this. You click a series of waypoints and it calculates the total distance.
It's not a feature that gets used a lot though!
MikeOliver, Jun 29 2006


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