Strava has added 3D maps to its mobile apps

The latest update to the Strava app – available for paid users – is a pretty handy one.

by Iain Treloar

photography by Strava

Global activity-tracking titan Strava has been steadily rolling out updates over the past year, and hasn’t slowed down in 2022. The latest update is a pretty handy one – the addition of 3D mapping to its Android and iOS apps. 

Available for all paid Strava subscribers the 3D terrain view is designed to help athletes plan activities with the added insight of topographical features and elevation changes.

That dovetails with the recently added ‘Points of Interest’ feature, which highlights things like water points and toilet facilities. Finding these points of interest is useful – but it’s helpful to know whether they’re on the other side of an enormous hill, too. 

To access 3D maps in the mobile app, you navigate to the ‘Routes’ or ‘Record’ tab, or click on any activity map. There, you can toggle the map layer to 3D. 

The update comes on the heels of a major revamp of the Strava platform’s mobile apps last May, which made big changes to layout, organisation and navigation. A month later, Strava added segment recommendations and custom challenges.

In yet another update, the company’s 3D functionality was foreshadowed last April with the addition of mesmerising 3D terrain to personal heatmaps and to the route builder. 

Strava has also teased its plans to use mapping data designed for athletes rather than cars. “Our team is working closely with cartographers from MaxBox to optimize our maps for the needs of our community,” Strava says. “Beyond adding Points of Interest, you’ll see lots of smaller improvements to our maps including clearer trails + trail networks and removing highway labels and other common car-centric information that athletes don’t need when moving under their own power.”

With a vast global base of more than 95 million athletes in every country on earth, more than 1.8 billion activities were uploaded to Strava last year alone. That gives Strava about the most complete insight into the movements of the world’s cyclists – outside of perhaps Google – which has a number of interesting flow-ons for the development of cycling infrastructure, improved routes, and growth of cycling as a segment. 

On a more individual level, continued improvements to the company’s mapping and apps is a way to keep that growing subscriber base happy, and provide them with a service that is responsive to their needs.

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