Figured I would just start a thread to share ideas around route planning for your heatmapping.
Watch/GPS: Fenix 6 Pro - I upgraded this last year and its been massively helpful, pretty much all tied to having maps built into it. It will show your breadcrumb trail on top of the maps and you can pretty easily zoom in and out. My previous watch had just a breadcrumb trail which was helpful to see in various circumstances where you had to double back or had a lot of nearby intersections.
I will build a route a lot of times and export the GPX file and import it into Garmin Connect and send it to my watch. My Garmin will then give me turn by turn directions while displaying how far until my next turn. Honestly I only really send it to my watch if its a more complicated route. It works pretty well if you stay on course. It also will give you an ETA of your finish time. However if you get off course and somehow crossover your route for later in the run then it becomes useless as it jumps forward. I don’t know about you but part of the fun for me is that planning does go wrong a lot of the time. This means I found something fun to explore like a trail system, cemetery or some connector paths. Everyone is different but I don’t consider an area complete unless I have mapped all the trails and cemeteries too (the most fun part).
Personally I usually build my routes in Strava. There are a lot of sites to build routes and Stravas isn’t particularly good but I use it as a backup to run on my phone so I can see a breadcrumb of where I’ve been and whats left overlaid on the route. Its basically just a backup to my watch for when I go off course or want a quicker macro view. When building my routes I’m often toggling between Google Maps, City Strides (Node hunter) and the Strava route builder to try to figure out whats runnable and if there are places I can potentially cut through to avoid long out and backs as well as making sure I hit all the nodes. Plenty of times I have thought I finished an area to go back and see something that effectively looks like a driveway was considered a road…
How do you plan your mapping adventures? I read about some people just using pen and paper which seems like a much bigger hassle but to each their own!