vs Google My Tracks

MapMyRun will tell you how far a running route is based on the points you use to plot it. For example, my run on Sunday looked like this when I clicked my way around the route that I ran:

Map My Run Mapped Run

To mix things up, I ran Google My Tracks GPS program on my phone. I was running low on juice, so I turned off the tracking after 1/2 the run, but take a look at the difference in distance heading North:

Google My Tracks Based Run

If the GPS is accurate, I’ve been undercounting my miles by around 10%. Or, it shows that I can’t run straight. Probably a little of both.

The My Tracks program is pretty sweet. The running routes can be exported from the phone to Google Maps, Google Earth, or other mapping sites like MapMyRun in a few clicks.

4 thoughts on “ vs Google My Tracks”

  1. I’ve noticed that too. Any time that I run with someone with a Garmin, they’ll say we ran a certain distance, and certain pace, and then I go home and measure it on mapmyrun, and it’s always shorter and slower, quite consistently. I’ve never been sure if it’s an error with the gps and not going in a straight line / going under trees / loosing signal, or if mapmyrun is just off.

    So, I just tried something. I zoomed all the way in on Solder Field (first outdoor football stadium I could think of in a major downtown so it would have really good resolution, and something very precisely measured), and measured back and forth, goal line to goal line, for a mile (which is 17 field lengths, plus 60 yards). Sadly, map my run is dead on – the most you can fudge and still get it to say exactly one mile is about 10 yards. That would put it at about a max of 1.7% off on a mile.

  2. @Kearn, as I understand your experiment, it sounds like a typical user of mapmyrun would map their runs quite conservatively. Good to know.

  3. The major streets crossing Summit in St. Paul are at half mile intervals and MapMyRun clocks them out at .5 from middle to middle (a fact I know from YEARS of running Summit and clocking it with multiple cars going back to the early 1990s).

    Think about the teardrop on a track. The stagger accounts for “minor” additions in distance in a 400 m loop. How wide is a lane on a track? 3 feet? When you watch a 400 m dash, that teardrop is pretty significant.

    Based on that, it stands to reason that you could add significant distance across the average 5 mile run if your course were 3-6 feet of what you mapped.

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