Strava moves to activity-friendly topographic maps

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Strava has partnered with digital mapping specialist Mapbox to overhaul its in-app global static maps. Strava suggests the new topographic maps are tailor-made for cyclists, mountain bikers and runners, and take the focus away from the car-centric features of more common (and previously used) maps.

“Most maps are optimized for cars, but Strava’s new maps purposefully de-emphasize car-oriented features like highway numbers in favor of trail names, elevation contours and other visual enhancements including enhanced drawing of GPS tracks using smoothing algorithms,” reads Strava’s press release.

According to Strava CEO, James Quarles, the new maps offer improved terrain details, better accuracy and generally a better user experience. “Mapbox is a mapping leader, and we’re excited about the athlete-optimized map that our two teams created for the global Strava community.”

It’ll be interesting to see whether this partnership with Mapbox results in further features such as in-app turn-by-turn directions or Strava’s own version of Relive – an app it publicly ended its relationship with earlier this year.

Today’s announcement comes on the same day Strava will officially turn off external Bluetooth and ANT+ connections through its mobile app, a feature Strava says it has disabled in order to improve its mobile app stability.

Whether you’re a paid Summit member or a free user, Strava’s obvious business objective is one of mass participation. The American tech company has over 46 million users on its platform globally which provides some seriously valuable data to interested parties through its Metro project. It seems likely that better mapping, a central part of Strava’s user experience, will help with the company’s goal of continued user growth.

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