Feedback for Strava's new maps (OpenStreetMap)

See About our Maps for more info.

Strava has recently switched to maps powered by OpenStreetMap, which we understand is a significant change.

Strava is actively working with Mapbox (the open source mapping platform that supplies us with OpenStreetMap) to make sure we offer the best mapping experience for our athletes.

Mapbox gives us the opportunity to create customized maps that fit aesthetically and functionally with Strava. With open source data, errors or missing map assets can be fixed quickly and efficiently, creating the most detailed and robust maps for cycling and running. We believe in the potential and power of maps by OSM and we're focused on giving the Strava community the best experience possible. 

Where did Street View go?

Mapbox does not provide Street View functionality at this time. We realize this functionality was valuable for some athletes; we'll do our best to re-incorporate it when possible.


August 14th, 2015:

We’re 100% committed to making Strava better for our athletes, and we hear you loud and clear regarding this switch from Google Maps to OSM. We didn’t anticipate how strongly some of our athletes would react to the change and apologize that it was a sudden disappointment to some of you. We could have done a better job explaining our reasoning and bracing you for the switch, handling the roll-out, taking more time to work with Mapbox, etc.

 

It may not seem like it now, but we believe deeply that changing to OSM is the best choice we can make for our athletes and our company. There is enormous potential and creative flexibility offered by the new maps and we ask that you stick with us and continue providing feedback as we bring that potential to fruition.

 

Your reports on the quality of the maps, such as missing map data and satellite image quality, can be addressed. We are working closely Mapbox, our OSM map provider, on both satellite imagery and road data and we’re invested in improving your experience. By providing specific examples of satellite and road data, we can act quickly to update the map data.

Improve_this_map.jpg

We've noted all your comments regarding street view, and understand how important it is to you. The top use for street view seems to center around segments, in viewing segment start and end coordinates as well as viewing the road surface and surroundings. Street view is still available when creating segments, and it may be possible to return street view to other areas of the segment experience. We will have more to share on this soon.

 

Our designers are compiling initial thoughts on how Strava can leverage certain styles, colors and shading to customize the map experience. We are already incorporating the existing feedback we’ve received here. Please continue to send us your feedback on how the look and feel of the maps can be improved.

- The Strava Team

 

August 21st, 2015:

When you visit a segment page, you can now click either endpoint of the segment to be brought to the street view for that location. Or, you can select one of the options from the map view menu (pictured below). 

This addition is not meant to fully resolve your concerns about the switch to Mapbox. We're doing the best we can to respond to your feedback quickly while still maintaining our commitment to elevate your map experience with Mapbox. It's going to take time and we ask that you stick with us, and we'll continue to take your feedback to heart and iterate whenever possible. 

Strava_Segment_River_Road_Fork_to_TT.jpg

 

September 2nd, 2015

We've just updated our maps to support four languages: English, French, German and Spanish. Now, if you're traveling or viewing the map in another country, you'll be able to see map labels and place names in your language. 

How it works: If you have Strava set to one of the above four languages, you will see map labels in that language. For any other language that is not supported at this time, you will see the default map which displays regional language. To change your language preferences, use the menu at the bottom of any Strava page.

This map update also refreshes imagery for the Satellite map in select areas. 

 

October 22nd, 2015

We're excited to announce updated maps in collaboration with Mapbox, featuring an intuitive display of map data and activity-specific styling. Designed especially with runners and cyclists in mind, we focused on a visual experience that would relay the map information we believe most helpful to our athletes: 

  • Offset road labels for better visibility along activities
  • Visually distinct running and cycling paths
  • Highlighted pedestrian areas, outdoor areas, and parks
  • Vivid terrain styling and high-contrast mountain areas
  • Lower map label density for urban areas
  • Major highways and high-traffic roads de-prioritized in grey
  • Added points of interest most relevant to activity on Strava
  • Contour lines and elevation labels on satellite view

This is the first of several map projects we are working on as part of our ongoing goal to make your mapping experience on Strava more accurate, informative and rich. 

 

Documentation

16

Comments

666 comments
  • Street View will never return because Mapbox will never offer it, not the end of the world but definitely nice to have.  Google Maps is the best maps out there, so I'm just curious why Strava is trying to fix something that's not broken. I don't think anyone was complaining about Google Maps.

  • Have been sent here from https://strava.zendesk.com/entries/70524560

    To summarise my feelings

    Pros

    OSM street/terrain maps seem a little better if you do lots of off road running/cycling as they tend to indicate the trails/paths better than Google

    Cons

    The aerial maps are not as good quality as Google. Have found a few places I regularly run at which are missing high resolution coverage.

    The street maps lack the interactivity with Google Plus to get more info on interesting places along the way.

    Street view is gone from activity pages which is so useful for checking out a segment before you do it including the surface, gradient, exact start/end points, likely traffic levels, potential hazards and junctions.

    Mapflipper/StravistiX is now seemingly blocked so now I can't use Google and switch to OSM if I want an alternative look.

     

    Summary

    Not too bothered about the maps themselves TBH but lack of Street View is a huge downgrade. Am having to resort to the Compare tool and create/edit segments to get Street View but presume if you are set on this path they will be going as well soon - but I hope not !

    Disappointed also that Strava are spinning this as an advantage to me when it clearly is not.

  • Just one random (Premium) users opinion: bring back Google.  These new maps are vastly inferior in look and usefulness to the Google maps.  They look terrible.

  • @Matthew McGarry, about the "I don't think anyone was complaining" comment, that makes me guess you are cykling on roads? And for that case I think Google Maps are great. However, for all the people that are biking off road, like me, the Google Maps are useless since they do not contain almost any trails at all. In Google Maps most off road areas are just white empty space, while they are very detailed in OSM. So for all MTB users using Strava, OSM is a great step forward. 

    However, by replacing the Google Maps with OSM, instead of adding OSM as a option, I understand that some people in areas with a low OSM activity will have lower quality maps. To them the solution for now, seems to be to follow the philosophy of OSM and contribute by mapping the areas they ride in. Luckily, you can get started just in a few minutes by creating an account on http://www.openstreetmap.org/ , and mapping is really simple by just drawing roads on top of Bing satellite photos. Or upload the gpx of your ride and use that as a base. After that you will be able to see the change in just a few minutes in the OSM based maps.

     

    Anyway, just want to say that this change is a huge improvement for MTB users, both since the coverage is much better already and that it is very easy to improve the trail coverage in OSM. So thanks!

    //Mattias

  • >Not too bothered about the maps themselves TBH but lack of Street View is a huge downgrade

    +1

  • I appreciate the addition of OpenStreetMaps, but I also really miss the Street View option of Google Maps. It would be nice if the OSM layer would be optional, and you could still pick Google Maps if you wanted. I drop the Street View yellow man on the route quite often to check to roads, which is especially handy when planning a ride. (Such a shame it was never available in the Route Planner, maybe something to include too in the future...). I miss this now a lot. Also, the OSM implementation seems to be not retina display friendly/ready, the displayed map image quality is very bad compared to what it was with Google Maps. Please make OSM optional, instead of enforcing it.

  • Actually, I don't understand why this change to MapBox was necessary. The OSM layer was already there in the Route Builder as an optional layer. You could have just added the same optional layer under the activity pages, while preserving the StreetView option... And no person would be complaining right now. If I were you, I'd revert and make the change like this. Everybody would be happy with that.

  • MapBox is cool layer but it doesn't show many details (like standard OSM layout). I think choose what layout use is the best think.

    Don't forget that OSM give many other informations like quality of the path (usefull for MTB route) and many POI....

  •  

    I can’t understand why Strava is not providing multiple maps to satisfy customers… why moving away from google Map? There is a large number of Apps out there, which provides multiples maps… Googles (classic, satellite, terrain) + OSM + OCM + Bing + Apple etc…

     

    If you want to have runners, road cyclists, mountainbikers and others you have to offer multiples maps to fit all the needs. Don’t be Stingy with small development work.

     

  • I can appreciate what the move was made. But the lacking resolution and fuzziness, lack of Streetview, and lacking clarity of the maps when you zooming out, is really frustrating.

  • Quite annoyed by the look, lack of terrain detail and missing functionality. Bring back Google maps until OSM is at the same level. 

    Oh, and please don't mess up the route builder. I read it uses OSM - is this why it always wants to route me where there are no roads? 

  • Really disappointing to lose Streetview. It's a really good tool to help identify landmarks to judge efforts, work out where things are in relationship to others. I find it particularly important for checking out race courses. Feels like Strava has lost a huge part of its UX....

  • I'll bet it's a cost saving exercise from Strava - they will spin it as an improvement and say:

    "Mapbox does not provide Street View functionality at this time. We realize this functionality was valuable for some athletes; we'll do our best to re-incorporate it when it becomes available" 

    .... but we all know that will never happen.

     

  • I've never been a fan of Google Maps here in the UK for road cycling as there just isn't enough distinction between road types with some 4WD "roads" displaying the same as paved roads. Also there is just a general lack of detail that we are used to from what we are used to having on proper topo maps (i.e. Ordnance Survey in the UK or IGN in France).  When heading off road (cycling or running) then Google maps have nothing to offer at all.

    There are some great OSM tiles out there already (mainly those on http://www.opencyclemap.org/) so providing an OSM/Mapbox tile set along those lines would be awesome.

    However I do often use the Streetview when looking at segments, primarily to check out the exact start/end of segments but also to check out the views on roads that I don't know when planning a ride.

    Combining the Google/OSM (but a more cycling/running focused tile than the default OSM) option you currently have on the Route editor page with the Streetview across all of the maps on the Strava website would be the ideal scenario for me personally.

    I guess the licencing costs from offering both might be an issue though.

  • +1000!!!

    Thank you for the OSM switch! Can you please remove the Google Maps dependency on android? 

    For all the street view complainers, please get out and help the OPEN GPL www.mapillary.com, then you can petition Strava to use it. 

    Thank you Strava for the Slide (http://labs.strava.com/slide/) and using anonymous GPS data to make OSM a better map for all!

    The slide feature is the #1 reason I switched to Strava, KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK!

  • Apart from the Street View feature, I fully support the change to OSM in the long run. For cycling the usability of OSM is far better than Google maps.

    However Strava missed an opportunity of selling the change. What is in it for me? What features will be coming? For now I and many others only see this as a downgrade, e.g. for me the maps look horrible. 

  • The main concern for me is lack of differentiation with the road types in the current Mapbox views on offer - Motorway, A Road, B Road, lane, track - they are all white. Please can we have some colour classification that covers the full range or roads and paths - a bit like you still have on the Google Maps based route planner - but you can do better than that by going into off road colours too. No Street view. Well that's a real shame and I struggle to see how you can, based on the current initial delivery of Mapbox functionality, claim that the new maps are better for your paying customers than the old. Ideal situation would be to have the promised improvements in maps you hint at what will be possible with Mapbox (a basic product roadmap would be nice for your customers to see what was coming) and to have Street view available too. I expect there will be a cost here for Starva of course licencing two map products - but then you currently are doing this even now - The key is to provide user choice and flexibility so that you can keep all your users happy.
  • Why are you using the obsolete Mapbox Terrain style? Why not a modern style based on Mapbox Outdoors? The terrain data is much more detailed. https://www.mapbox.com/blog/mapbox-outdoors/

    Runkeeper uses a custom style based on Mapbox outdoors. http://b.tiles.mapbox.com/v3/runkeeper.dzp5vcxr/page.html

    Also, you might look into using Mapillary for street view functionality. They are still in the early stages and coverage is very lacking but it's a start. http://www.mapillary.com/

     

  • The lack of Street View was so incredibly useful for finding segment start/ends, and the new maps don't even zoom in far enough where you could look for landmarks to access segment locations. Strava just got a little worse.

  • Gesture based zooming doesn't seem to work on an iPad. -1
  • I find the OSM integration to be a step backward.  The street view is essential.  Not being able to scroll in and out with the scroll-wheel on the mouse is also inconvenient.  Please give us the choice and let us use Google Maps.  This is what Ride with GPS does and it works great.  With rwgps, you can switch back and forth between different map types on the fly.  Being stuck with a single map type was mostly acceptable when it was Google.  But now it's a serious drawback.

  •   Strava, as a suggestion, since there are advantages/disadvantages between Google and OSM, why not offer users a choice? I'd suggest making that choice available to all users, but if that is untenable for your business model, why not offer map choice in the Premium category?  At present I don't have any great desire to upgrade to Premium, but I would do it in a heartbeat if that gave me back functional maps that did cool stuff like, you know, showing roads and stuff.    

    I second the earlier comment about not spinning this change as an upgrade/advantage.  You have created a great free platform, and of course you are welcome to do with it as you choose and  users can choose to stay or go accordingly.  I get the new(ish) Millennium online business thing, I totally do... but please don't revert to Old Business ways. Trying to spin this as an improvement is  like pissing on our legs and telling us it'll increase  wattage.  Nobody believes it and it just makes your business look bad...and makes a real mess of my shoes.

  • I'm all for moving to the new map platform but only if street view integration is maintained - being able to view segment start and finish points is vital!   I also use street view to gauge the exact nature of roads when planing a route (hence the need for route planning integration too) so I can better judge whether the road is one I want to be riding on.  Street view is the most important part of the mapping process for me, without it the maps lose 50% of their functionality so please return it asap, thanks.

  • "Street view is the most important part of the mapping process for me"  I'm with you there. Streetview also helps me look at road surfaces and see whether there is a cycle lane etc. This Mapbox stuff is absolute rubbish.

  • i can't wait for open street map, for some reason i'm still seeing google maps on my strava. For me (mountain biker), google maps is completely useless. But i do understand people that prefere google maps. specially for road bike riding. If OSM is being activated slowly and google maps is already in place, it thing it would be pretty cool to everyone to give both options. This way everyone is happy and it will be a more than welcome change to starva.

  • OSM is ok, but you need to offer more styles. Allow us to switch between some of the Mapbox styles, specifically the ourdoor and run/bike/hike ones...

  • Just trying to plan out a run for this evening. Frustratingly aerial map coverage from Mapbox virtually non existent on this segment was planning to try https://www.strava.com/segments/3406545

    This is only 50 miles from Central London in the UK so hardly in the back of beyond!

  • Hello -

    I've posted some new information and responses to your feedback in the original post. Please see above for the additions, in italics. As always, comment with any questions and additional feedback. Thank you! 

    - Elle @ Community Support

  • This is a big step back for Strava. The maps around Lillehammer, Norway, was never great with Google or Bing maps either, but the "piece of dung" that is presented now is not good enough. It is not even close to Google and Bing.One might just see some green under the clouds. https://www.strava.com/activities/356871008 . If this is the level of the maps in Strava, I will not stay as a paying customer for long. Lillehammer is of course just a small tiny city of no huge importance for Strava, but even the satellite images of the capital Oslo was just clouds. Very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very disappointing.

     

    Best regards from Leif.

  • Google maps will not be returning to Strava even as an "on/off" toggle.

    This is very disappointing to read.

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