I like the occasional heatmap.
Sometimes they are very pretty, like the one below from Suunto’s MOVESCOUNT in 2016 and could almost be a work of art for your pain cave’s wall.
Sometimes you might be ‘somewhere new’ with little idea of where to cycle, swim or run. Sure you have a satnav but is the suggested route from A to B going to be the prettiest or safest? Perhaps you can use Garmin’s popularity routing if you have a Garmin but, if not, a heat map can be a good indication that the most popular routes are the best routes for some reason or other.
The following image and link were from STRAVA in late 2017 when they first introduced their ‘global’ heat maps, meaning where we all go en-masse. Have a play with it directly on STRAVA if you like (link to strava.com) where you can zoom in to the sport and area of interest to you.
If you have the paid-for SAFETY PACK of SUMMIT features on your STRAVA account then you can produce your own personal heatmap, like this:
There is, however, a free alternative that also has a few more options with this clever plugin from Jonathan O’Keefe called the “Strava Multiple Ride Mapper”. It shows you just how adventurous, or not, you have been for any given sport over any time period. You can cover several years of data but then it takes a while to display all the routes. The colours and sizes of the lines on the routes can be adjusted by the plugin to produce something that is probably a little prettier than I managed here from some of my recent rides. Link: jonathanokeefe.com
Here’s an image from different HEATMAP software but still working on your STRAVA data (see comments further below). It should be an animated image of some of my local routes ! I’m not entirely sure what it shows other than SPEED and FREQUENCY but, hey, it looks cool. Create your own on https://heatflask.herokuapp.com.
This is from the same source software but looking at me from a more zoomed out level.
Heatmaps in the news
Heatmaps have, sort of, been in the news a few times over the last few years. There was a recent news story made from military personel who were also STRAVA users and who gave away some of their regular training routes when on base by making their profiles public (which STRAVA then aggregated into a heatmap). Probably that’s not an issue domestically but when on duty in the Middle East it could have been more of a problem.
At the time of that stoy I had a look at what the Russians did but was a little disappointed to find very little as this rather dull-looking heatmap showed.
There was a also a story that I glanced though in recent weeks but the source escapes me right now. (I’ll add it in). It pointed to university research that used STRAVA heatmap as one of their inputs in a study….it was interesting at the time !