Monday, March 14, 2011

Corktown and My Tracks

You know how I love Google. Google and Apple. While I was disappointed in some respects when I switched from an iPhone to an EVO 4G running Android, the Google "My Tracks" app has been a great tool. I immediately thought of recording runs when my coworker introduced me to the app. This past Sunday was the Corktown 5k run in Detroit- a perfect opportunity. I used the "My Tracks" app to record the low-key run. Despite being a battery hog, the likes of which I’ve never seen, I managed to record the whole run on as little as 25 % of my battery (note the sarcasm). Corktown is a fascinating neighborhood with a rich history- so check out the link. Its roots make for a perfect celebration of St. Patrick’s Day while the Corktown run and parade provide a great opportunity for EVERYONE to pretend they are Irish, if only for a day.

I uploaded the recorded run track from my phone and emailed it to myself as a kml file with a few quick commands. As I reviewed the track for accuracy, or at least consistency of the altitude, I was amazed at how closely the hills matched up, especially since this is only dealing with about ten feet of variation.

While I foolishly allowed myself to think this was a sign my phone's GPS was amazingly accurate, I quickly figured out it was, in fact, just another clever use of other Google data, the terrain model data from Google Earth.

Notice the terrain map of the out-n-back race format is almost a mirror image. My GPS might not be state of the art, but the Google terrain data fills in with a great dataset that will suffice for almost any project!

Corktown Run

It's just another example of how easy Google is making things for us by making their products interact seamlessly.

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