Saturday 21 July 2012

Visualising Runs

Inspired by a recent post from Kasey Clark in which he plotted all his runkeeper runs (tracked via GPS) on a single map, I thought I'd explore my own running from the last few years and see how it might be visualised in an interesting manner.

Using his method, I exported all my runs as one big zip file of gpx files (found under your profile) then imported them all into Google Earth. Here is an image of all my runs around Sydney's inner west over the last few years. Most of the time I run along the Cooks River.

I also had a bit more fun with it, and for this you will need the Google Earth plugin for your browser - if you can see the following images you already have it, and if not then there should be a link for you to get it.

The city2surf is one of the world's biggest fun runs and I have done it the last few years. By creating a Google Earth tour, you can create an animation of your runs. I tweeked the gpx code in a text editor (and Excel) to make my 2010 and 2011 runs start at the same time, and then by using the tour gadget, you can embed the animation on your website. Perhaps over time I will add further year's runs to this animation. You'll need somewhere to host the exported kml files from Google Earth. There is a small lag at the start of the video and if it doesn't work, see the video on youtube. I'm looking to knock off that 2011 time this year in a few weeks! Edit 1: I have added a friend from 2010 and 2011.
The next tour doesn't look so great but it would look great in San Francisco or New York City. Google Earth has 3D buildings built in, and by turning these on, you can visualise your runs in 3D. The following shows my Bridge Runs across the Sydney Harbour Bridge and finishing at the Opera House. Runkeeper doesn't quite get the elevation of the bridge correct so it looks like I'm running across water. As mentioned, in cities where there are lots of rendered 3D buildings, this would look great. I haven't bothered yet to tweek the start times for each of the races to all be exactly the same as it's a bit fiddly, but you get the point. Again there is a small lag and if it doesn't work, see the video on youtube.
If you can't see the above videos, and the Google gadget seems really buggy, I have uploaded them to youtube and there you can see city2surf and bridge runs videos.


  1. Love the animations! We need to sit down and review these in slo-mo closer to next city2surf. I'll bring the vodka, you bring the strategies!


  2. Thankyou for the valuable information.iam very interested with this one.
    looking forward for more like this.

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