Mapping Progress visualization

In the wild I’ve seen some neat visualizations of peoples progress. I would be neat to make a shareable video or animated gif of the progress of a city or lifemap over time. Would be a cool way for people to share their accomplishments on social media while promoting the website.

Not saying CS wouldn’t benefit from something like this but just pointing out another resource that I’ve used for something similar. If anything maybe it could be used as inspiration on designing CS’s version?

Personally I used it to display all my runs & rides onto a single map but you could filter to just runs if desired. Then ran the query and recorded using QuickTime on my computer. Posted to YouTube (Run / Bike SF Streets - YouTube)

A problem I could foresee and was a problem with my above method, is that most city projects are over a long time span (months or years). This means to show progress you’d need a semi lengthy recording as well. GIFs are really only meant lengths of a couple seconds. Videos can be how ever long you want but it takes processing power to encode and build the videos. Plus storage size/costs skyrocket once high-quality videos are created. These aren’t problems that couldn’t be overcome (especially if they are not stored long term on CS servers but rather on social media platforms as you mention) but they are things James would have to work out.


As a supporter, we have the “Time Filter” icon, located on the right side of your LifeMap screen. It can give you a picture of the last week, month, year (or whatever time period you specify). It is not animated, but gives a nice map of what you have accomplished during the specified time.

1 Like

@dallas.devries Cool idea. I’d much rather have a button here at CS to click, rather than jump through hoops elsewhere.

@Marty Not sure if your first link was to demonstrate the idea, but it was asking me to authorize Strava. I didn’t feel like messing with that. Curious if anyone else did, and what happened.

Cheers, Eric

1 Like

@ericjrw The Jonathan O’keeffe website pulls your Strava data similar to how CS does so that is why it is asking for you to authorize pulling data from your Strava account. Instead of marking streets and nodes (a la CS), it is for displaying your activities into a heatmap. You can filter your activities down by type or keyword. In essence it is similar to Strava’s built-in heatmap but has the ability to combine all your activity types into a single map; Strava can’t do that.

Recommended it because it will draw all your activities in order and thus show how you progress through an area/city; which is what Dallas’ initial request was. I then recorded my screen to get a video of the drawing (second link to YouTube as example).

1 Like

Yes, the O’Keeffe site is cool in heatmappnig. Only bug imho is that it is either run or walk, ergo: only one activity at a time is visible in the rendering. So if you have walks including in the city progress on CS, the O’Keeffe site will not have the same result as lifemap.

1 Like

@Marty Thank you for that info. Will endeavor to give it a try soon!

I looked at this today, as I’m trying to make a “time-lapse” of my map. The date filter is interesting and useful, but I additionally need a way to only view the activities that contributed to this project. For example, when running Everett, WA, I named all activities with [Everett]. That made it really easy to filter to just these runs in the Jonathan O’Keeffe tool linked above. My problem is that tool went too fast: in my screen capture each frame added 5 new actives all at once. I can’t even slow it down enough to see them add one vey one.

I can take screenshots of CS for each time I added a new [Everett] run, but runs outside the city will appear too. For THIS, maybe I’ll just live with that and fix it in post. :slight_smile: In other lifemap animations that might not be as feasible.

Is there already a feature request to filter the view to a text string in the activity name?

I think some of the data gets cached so each new run doesn’t have to be re-processed each time so there may be limits on how slow you can make activities appear. Did you try changing the Detail Level to high? That should slow it down a little.

Another alternative I just thought of (ie not attempted myself so this may not work at all) would be to combine all your GPX files into a single file and upload that file to a visualization tool. I’ve used in the past but not since Strava cut them off. Not sure if there are limits on file size or data. Maybe some of the other visualizer apps Strava lists could also work?

You’re right, the first run was slow, but I had the strings wrong. Subsequent runs were then really fast.

I ended up doing it manually, which so far looks pretty good. I had 67 days of activities for my city, so I first went through with the date filter increasing the end date to match each activity, taking a screenshot each time as the activities “accumulated”. Then I made another set of 67 screenshots, this time adjusting both the start and end dates to be just the activity date, so I had just the one activity on the map.

I brought all the screenshots into my video editor and layered them so that the “individual” activity screenshot would be seen with the accumulating screenshots.

It was a bit of work to take the screenshots, but I had more flexibility for combining them and getting the look I wanted. I’ll post my results when I’m done since my description isn’t very clear or explanatory. :slight_smile:

EDIT: link to the video I made using my custom map animation… Every Street Everett


Cool video! It would be so neat to be able to pick a city (or cities) and take snap shots and use pics uploaded to Strava to generate something like you have. I’m sure it would be a lot of work from a technical standpoint but at the same time also a good marketing tool if people share their journeys from animations/video showcasing CityStrides. You could even make this just available to certain subscriber levels or limit how often you do it if its requires significant resources.

You driving out to get missing nodes brings me back! Its much rarer for me now as I’m way more careful when planning but I have definitely done a fair amount of recon before and after to get those missed nodes.

I would love to see a feature, even a paid add-on, that would let me see my life map fill up in an animated fashion. You know how people post Relive videos of their run? What if we could post CityStrides fill-in videos that help illustrate how each run fills in the map?!

Super great idea! Thanks!

Are you referring to an idea similar to this thread?

Apologies, its essentially the same idea. Thank you.

This was just released: Updates on March 17, 2021

:thinking: well, nothing sharable yet - outside of screen recording … so, half done?


Love it! First reaction - slider to control speed would be sweet.


I have activities from 2006 until now, takes a long time to show. But actually only the last two years are interesting to show, so I’d like to set dates between which the animation is shown

Very nice!

Great ! Love it! Some integrated way of saving a recording (to then share) would be ace, plus a way of adjusting the speed

Very cool. A speed slider would be good, and/or a pause between activities. If the map is on a single activity, it just flashed on. On my big life map, it’s super cool!

Just thinking out loud now, but I wonder if each activity could be a different color? I was trying to visualize all the runs it took.

Great work James!