Strava Rolls out StatMaps to Subscribers: Here’s how it works

DSC_0216

Yes, you have to have the hashtag. Else, it’s just StatMaps, and as you’ll soon find out, that’ll get you a big nothing burger.

For this Friday post we’ll keep things nice and quick. So, you can either press the Play Button below to get this whole situation in under a couple of minutes with my Quick Tips, or, you can read through some text. Your choice.

Essentially, Strava has joined the likes of everyone else in doing color overlays of your GPS tracks with different data. Years ago there were plugins for SportsTracks, then more recently we’ve had Apple, Fitbit, and even Garmin a few weeks back. All essentially offering variations of coloring a line across your maps. Some are more customizable than others, but ultimately allowing you to color different metrics based on intensity.

Strava has just rolled out the same to Strava Subscribers (paying members). Specifically, only Strava Subscribers can create the maps that show up in the feed, but everyone can actually see the results. Another carrot I suppose to try and get you to convert over.

The concept is super simple, albeit a wee bit clunky. You’ve got to put a hashtagged phrase in either the activity description or title, and it’ll then change the default Strava feed map for that activity to show the overlay. Here’s the valid phrases, according to Strava:

· Pace #PaceMap – Darker colors are faster paces
· Speed #SpeedMap – Darker colors are faster speeds
· Heart Rate #HeartrateMap – Darker colors are higher heart rates
· Elevation (Absolute) #ElevationMap – Darker colors are higher elevation/altitudes
· Elevation (Gradient) #GradientMap – Red is climbing, Green is descending
· Power #PowerMap – Darker colors are higher power outputs
· Time #TimeMap – Darker colors appear later in the activity
· Temperature #TemperatureMap – Red is hotter

Whether or not there are some Easter egg phrases, I don’t know (I sure hope so). But, those be them.

Once you’ve awkwardly tried to remember the phrase and put it in (with the hashtag), it’ll color your activity like some of my examples below:

statmap6StatMaps2StatMaps5

It’s really as simple as that. A couple of quick observational notes:

– This works on both mobile and web
– However, in both cases, it’s *ONLY* for the map in the feed, not the expanded activity map or detailed map
– It won’t show if you zoom in on the map, again, only the map in the feed
– You can retroactively update activities and it shows instantly
– This is only for paid subscribers, but everyone will see the results (paid or not)
– It even works on Zwift routes, using the correct elevation too (and probably works on other virtual rides too)
– It’s less useful for loops (like a track run), or out and backs, because the coloring overlaps

StatMaps3 StatMaps4

Strava says this is now available as of 6AM US Pacific time today, and that the concept was originally developed as part of one of the company’s ‘Strava Jams”. Also, of note, they now say they have 68 million athletes on the platform, though, we don’t know how many of those are paid (likely still in the single-digit %, but perhaps all the recent subscriber focused changes have shifted that).

In any case – as I said, this was gonna be a quickie of a post. Go forth and hashtag or something, but more importantly…

…thanks for reading and have a good weekend!

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58 Comments

  1. Mark J.

    So this works fine, but I now have no Fly-Bys. Did they do away with those?

  2. Ricardo

    This is remarkably similar to the newly introduced Garmin feature!

  3. mvanderhallen

    Wauw, I remember having the idea of colorizing the track based on other data fields and coding it out years ago! I didn’t even have my own gps to generate tracks. Wasn’t aware that it became a ‘thing’ on sporting platforms recently 🙂

    Too bad that it’s only the overview map and not the larger activity map though.

    • mvanderhallen

      Also, it doesn’t seem to work in activities that you ‘did with’ someone.

    • Michel Gilis

      The behaviour of Strava web compared to the app is different: the app shows gradient in activity feed (even when multiple participants) and also when you open the activity. Zooming in on the map however is not supported…

  4. thomaek

    Would be nice to have a menu when you save your activity rather than using hashtags but otherwise I like it.

    What’s the difference between speed and pace? shouldn’t those always have the same colour?

  5. daniel sekera

    putting my mad google skills to the test today

    link to differencebetween.com

  6. Keith G

    This is not a very useful feature with it only showing in the feed. It might as well be random colors. Isn’t the value in the kind of data when you can gain some knowledge about your race or training? I want to be able to zoom in and see the spots where I was faster or slower, etc.

    • dan

      cue sporttracks…..or probably everyone else. But I know on sporttracks I can just move along the metrics graph and it moves along on the map with me so I can see where anything was

      so yea….pretty much useless

  7. Denning76

    It’s pretty impressive how Strava managed to be both late to the party and do it much worse than some of its competitors.

  8. klaus

    Still waiting for real Zwift-Background-Maps in Strava for Zwift-Activities.

    • I agree, that would be cool. I was answering someone I think on YouTube about it. It’s a tricky subject. On one hand, it’s totally an obvious thing Strava shouldn’t overthink and just do in concert with Zwift. Win-Win-Win (Strava/Zwift/Users).

      On the flipside, how would they handle other 3rd party virtual apps requests for world maps like that. Right now most of these apps actually overlay onto real-world locales anyway, so it’s not too big an issue. But Strava does try to remain semi-neutral from an industry standpoint.

      Still, I think when you get to a certain size – such as Zwift is, the conversation needs to perhaps find a way to draw a line and say ‘Yes, this would just make a heck of a lot of sense’ for the Zwift community to have legit maps in Strava.

  9. Ian L

    #GradeMap works, #GradientMap doesn’t. (UK difference?)

  10. pan

    I have used it many years ago in sportracks and i agree with another comment that it is basically useless and meaningless. However, since i am not a “lefty”, i believe it is totally fine if other people like it and use it.

  11. Giovanni Cavaggioni

    Does not work the #GradientMap…

  12. D

    #gradientmap didn’t work, #grademap did

    • Paul S.

      #GradientMap worked for me here in the US. I’m underwhelmed. Doesn’t seem at all useful until they show it on the detailed map where you can zoom in.

  13. Stephen M.

    Why can’t this be a toggle vs. a hashtag? Would also be nice to see overlays / alternate map views. This is gimmicky and is more work than it is worth.

  14. Jon

    Still waiting for the ability to filter for road segments or mtn segments, rather than have them all show up together.

    But #colorlines is more important.

    #smh

  15. Chris Capoccia

    Seems like this is about as useful as the time last week when I assume because of the title I used for my ride, it colored the route black with a heart. it makes looking through the feed a little more fun, but it’s not really an analysis tool link to strava.com

  16. Eh?

    From my 30 seconds of playing with it: both #GradientMap and #GradeMap work for me; it isn’t case sensitive, so #speedmap works as well as #SpeedMap; and either it doesn’t accept multiple tags or the darker colours wash out the lighter colours so it amounts to the same thing.

  17. Ed

    Got worried they were going to do wind speed and direction overlays when I read this. That would make my app less useful. Please check it out if you want more interactive stats about the weather and your ride. https://headwindapp.com (shameless plug) I wrote it during covid lockdown and it seems to be getting more popular.

    • Matt

      Headwind is pretty cool. It’s nice to see I wasn’t imagining it .

      Personally I’m hoping that the StatMap stuff is just the start and they’ll start to build on it from here. The Polar Relive integration is pretty cool and the Garmin work is streets ahead of Strava but hey, at least they seem to be doing something these days…. I mean they finally gave distance to the second decimal point on the app the other day, people have only been asking for that for a couple of years 😉

    • Ed

      Cheers mate. Im trying to improve it all the time so if you sign up (its free) any suggestions on how to improve it would be much appreciated. :).

      I added current rain radar recently and im thinking im going to tackle headwind heatmaps on segments next rather than just the whole ride as it is currently.

  18. Steven

    Too much unnecessary information

  19. Andrew

    Polar flow website has had speed and hr map zones (maybe also power?) for many years.
    Your title should be Paid Subscribers as everyone who has signed up is a subscriber?

    • As noted in the article, many companies have had this for many years.

      As for the title, according to Strava, only paying members are “subscribers”. Everyone else is apparently just riff-raff.

  20. Ruud Van Leeuwen

    Try adding “Gr” to the description. Makes your open water swim look like a French Grande Randonnee!

  21. Philip Barnes

    Works for solo rides in my activities, but if the rides are listed as ‘rode with…..’ it doesn’t

  22. Stoffel

    Great site you have Sir! Congrats and wish you all the best! Stoffel

  23. I don’t understand why i have to use a hashtag in is not a switch in the details of my activities 🙂

    • Paul S.

      Personally I don’t mind using the hashtag, but it’d be nice if it’d be treated as a comment and made invisible when displayed. But at the moment, the only way anyone can tell what the colors mean is by seeing the hashtag, since there’s no other indication of what the colors mean.

    • Bernard

      If the hashtag would be invisible most people won’t have a clue what they’re looking at.

  24. ekutter

    After playing with this on a few of my activities, I’m way under impressed. Not sure how this is particularly useful, other than making the tracks more visually interesting than just a red line. The info it conveys seems pretty meaningless in such a small image without the ability to drill in.

  25. Oliver

    Fetcheveryone.com did this years ago. Great stat based British geek run site.

  26. Reekers

    Prima werkt. Nice

  27. Robert

    As Ray indicated – SportTracks has this feature since years. You can select from a long list of variables (pace, altitude, slope, HR, level pace, even cadence), and zoom in. I find it useful to see where I did which intervals in a running workout (using pace to set the colors), and to highlight the climbs in a bike ride (using slope). It’s not a “wow!!!” feature, it’s a sometimes-a-bit-useful one.

    Oh – and you can full-screen the map and zoom it, and it still works.

    • Aaron

      The gradient coloring in SportTracks works on any sensor data series that is present on the workout, including data generated from CIQ apps, which can be pretty interesting.

  28. not really working for me even if I have a summit whatever subscription. strange

  29. If anyone is interested in automatically adding StatMap hashtags to all (or some) activities, I have good news: just tested https://strautomator.com and it’s working pretty well.

    To have the speed map added to all your rides:

    If = default automation for a specific sport type (ride)
    Action = append to activity description (#SpeedMap)

    Disclaimer: I’m the developer of this little tool. Suggestions and new ideas are always very welcome.

  30. Abigail

    The Microsoft band had this feature about 5yrs ago. Well done Strava for bringing us these bold improvements… in 2020

    I still see little benefit in upgrading to a subscription when my Garmin stats are better in pretty much most ways.

    Strava also alienated many athletes by cutting their services instead of say using ad based model to increase revenues. But hey, it’s their platform and decision. Maybe one day they’ll have a killer feature or produce some hardware worth paying for. Good luck.

    Thanks for the review as usual Ray.

  31. Since we’re on the topic of color-coded GPS, here are some of the fitness metrics you can analyze in your maps in SportTracks:
    Cadence
    Grade
    Heart Rate
    Pace
    Power
    Speed
    Temperature
    VAM
    Level Pace
    Elevation
    Elevation (Recorded)

    If you use a Garmin Varia radar, you can also analyze:
    Vehicle Count 🚙🚚🏍
    Vehicle Distance
    Vehicle Speed

    If you use a Stryd footpod you can also analyze:
    Running Power
    Air Power
    Duty Factor
    Flight Time
    Form Power
    Ground Contact Time
    Leg Spring Stiffness
    Stride Length
    Vertical Oscillation
    Vertical Ratio

    If you use RunScribe footpods you can also analyze:
    Braking Force (Left)
    Braking Force (Right)
    Foot Strike (Left)
    Foot Strike (Right)
    Ground Contact Time (Left)
    Ground Contact Time (Right)
    Impact Force (Left)
    Impact Force (Right)
    Pronation (Left)
    Pronation (Right)
    Stride Length

    If you use random Garmin Connect IQ apps and data screens, you can analyze stuff like:
    Beers Earned Plus
    etc.