Map before you run

GPS is great.  But it doesn’t do much for planning routes in new areas, or figuring out where to run or cycle in an unfamiliar city.  That’s where mapping websites come in handy.

I happen to use the Gmap-Pedometer website.  It’s a handy mapping tool that allows you to click on roads and trails to create a route.  It shows mile or kilometer markers and allows you to “undo” if you want to change a section.  There are several types of maps to choose from, including satellite maps and terrain.  It understands running and cycling paths, and if you just need to get from one spot to another, you can tell it to just draw a straight line.  Sometimes I use all three methods to draw the map I want.  The mileage calculates as you go, and records the final distance.  When you are satisfied with your map, you can save it and bookmark the URL.  Alternately, if you create an account you can name and save your maps there, which I find to be a lot more convenient.  The site also allows you to record your workouts.

USA Track & Field website has similar capabilities.  I find it a bit more tedious for mapping as it only uses straight lines, while gmap-pedometer will automatically follow the curves of a path or road.  However, it does calculate total climb, and present a graph of the elevation profile.  The site also has a database of routes entered by other runners.  You can search for routes in a particular location based on distance, starting point and route rating.

Note the accuracy – each of these examples follows the same route that I ran and captured on my Garmin GPS and SportTracks in my previous post.  The mileage is almost identical.

Check these out to eliminate guesswork and plan your next route!

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