New: Custom Strava maps designed for runners and cyclists

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. 

Before || After

We offset road labels to avoid them being covered by activity traces.

 

Cycling and running paths are highlighted in yellow to make them visually distinct from shared roads with cars. Foot paths are now cleanly distinguished as a dashed line while cycleways are a solid line. 

paths

Distinct walking paths and cycleways: San Francisco's Panhandle park. Before (left), after (right). 

 

We've given more visual emphasis to public outdoor areas and walkways where motor vehicles are not permitted. Pedestrian areas are marked with a yellow and white hash pattern and steps are clearly displayed as broader, hatched lines.

cropped.jpg

Pedestrian areas: Justin Herman Plaza at the Embarcadero in San Francisco.

 

We've increased the contrast for parks and outdoor areas most relevant to Strava activities, while toning down other areas like golf courses, cemeteries, and zoos. We've also more prominently labeled mountain peaks and parks. 

park-golf-cemetery

Increased contrast in outdoor areas: The Presidio in San Francisco. Before (left), after (right).

park-mid-zoom

More prominent labels for peaks and parks: Rocky Mountain National Park area in Colorado. Before (left), after (right).

 

We've decreased the label density for urban areas and marked major highways and high-traffic roads that are better avoided for cycling and running in grey.

white-roads-shields

Cleaner road styles: lower label density for viewing activities, high traffic roads that are better avoided in grey. Before (left), after (right).

 

We've added more points-of-interest specific to cycling activities, and kept other labels subtle.

relevant-pois2

Points of interests that don't dominate the map: San Francyclo, Velo Rouge, Saint Mary's Medical Center, the Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco.

 

We added contour lines and elevation labels to satellite to show terrain on otherwise flat imagery. The road and trail styling is equivalent to the terrain map, but on higher zoom levels we hide roads and trails altogether to simplify the view.

Contour lines and elevation labels on satellite

Contour lines and elevation labels show terrain in otherwise flat satellite imagery: Alpe d'Huez, France.

Satellite on different zoom intervals

No road centerlines on higher zoom levels: the Tuileries Gardens in Paris.

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Comments

31 comments
  • If only the underlying map and satellite imagery was of good quality this would be a nice improvement. However, satellite imagery is still crap in my area and map quality depends on someone actually having created/edited a map at the locations you are looking at.....

    And of course still no street view....

    I also think that you should have a satellite only layer in addition, as I would sometimes like to look at just the bare satellite imagery...

  • That's a huge improvement. I wish all maps looked that good. I hope this base layer is coming to the Route Builder as well.

  • Will this mapping be available in the UK?
  • Chris,

    You can select this map from the Strava Route builder. Click the "cog" icon in the upper left and select OSM. We've also recently updated our basemap data so that the Route Builder has the most updated route information for your mapping needs. 

    Alan,

    These maps are currently available on Strava to everyone. If you have further questions about the maps or any issues seeing the maps, please reach out to our support team directly

  • I love the new maps in general, I just have one small comment; It seems that all 'parks' are coloured after the same assumption; that parks = vegetation = green. That is certainly true for parks in cities. It also makes perfect sense that low altitude national parks/protected forest areas are in the same green tone, which is deeper than the surrounding forests. But it looks rather odd that national parks located entirely above the treeline are now also green. Even glaciers are suddenly green, because they often happen to be national parks too (at least where I live).. Not that it matters too much in practical use, but it reduces the (instant) readability of the map in surrounding areas as well..

  • Where can we give feedback for the Mapbox stylesheet currently used on Strava? Here in this thread?

    I would really like if you showed these MTB/mountain biking features on the map, either in the "normal/terrain map" or in a separate layer:

    * mtb:name (names on trails/paths - names specifically used by mountain bikers) - almost every trail in our area has this tag, while only a few have the normal "name" tag rendered on Mapbox.

    * mtb:scale (difficulty of mountain biking on this trail)

    * class:bicycle:mtb (how nice is the trail for mountain biking?)

    A suggested rendering can be shown on http://mtbmap.no/#12/59.9554/10.7724 and http://mtbmap.no/assets/legend_retina.png – which I believe would work really well also for normal road bikes. I also know that my friends use this map for running in the woods.

     

    cheers,

      Anders

  • @Johnny:

    Yes, definitely, mtb:scale:uphill is also relevant, but the three I mentioned are more important in my opinion (if I know the mtb:scale I can usually guess the mtb:scale:uphill, at least in the terrain I know). So start with them...and then build more.

    Regarding your examples, they are also using these MTB tags, but I'd say the mtbmap.no stylesheet is far more user friendly, at least for mountain biking (using colors instead of line styles or text to illustrate the mtb:scale).

    cheers,

      Anders

  • Here is a message from Nicki at Mapbox: 

    Hey Strava team,

    Our blog post on the custom map design is live! https://www.mapbox.com/blog/strava-outdoor-maps/

    This is great timing, because we also just pushed 500,000km2 of additional high-resolution imagery onto your satellite basemap. We made these updates to our Mapbox satellite data source which powers your custom satellite style, so the updates got pulled into your map automatically.

    This new imagery is focused on more than 100 cities and suburbs all over the world (including areas with high Strava activity), with coverage equivalent to the entire area of Germany or California. All new imagery goes down to zoom level 18. Here are just a few of the cities with massively improved imagery: São Paulo, San José, Prague, Loughborough, Kyiv, Hong Kong, Seoul, Bengaluru.

    Please let us know if you have any questions about our imagery improvements. We'll be following this up with 3 million km2 of additional imagery in the near future – stay tuned!

    Thanks, 
    Nicki

  • Thanks so much Anders and Johnny - love this feedback and will discuss. 

  • The new satellite images are much much worse than they were in Norway. I hope you have a way to improve this?

  • Hey Anders — The best way to report poor satellite imagery is to use the "Improve this map" link in the bottom right corner of all of our new maps. You can report the specific issue(s) you're seeing on the exact map you're viewing. Mapbox is always looking for feedback on the quality of their satellite imagery, and this is the best way to provide it!

  • There are serious errors in the contour elevations in the San Francisco Bay Area, especially the North Bay. For example San Pedro Mountain in San Rafael is only 1019 feet yet shows a 400 meter contour. Spot checks show similar wrong metric elevation contours as far east as Vallejo.

  • @David :

    yes Mapbox looks wrong here, and OpenCycleMap looks good :

    http://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=16/37.5711/-122.5072&layers=C

    "improve this map" link should solve this.

  • The new map style is a huge improvement, but can you add the style to the route builder tool? I'm still waffling over moving all my data from another service to Strava but this improvement definitely pushes me in that direction. 

  • @Steven - the new map styles are now set by default in the Strava route builder. Enjoy! 

  • 1) Why do roads (highway=unclassified) show up on higher zoom levels than paths and ski trails? It looks weird when the map shows only paths but none of the roads...

    2) Could you, somehow, ensure that these features (paths, trails, roads) show up on lower zoom levels up north? Because it's stupid when you have to zoom so much before anything shows up (probably due to the projection). The map around my city looks almost empty, even though the area is really well mapped in OSM... 

  • Hello, is there anyway to change the language.... The old version was English by default but the new one country language is the default, I want it to be English always ,

    Thank you
  • This has already been reported and I am surprised Strava has taken now action yet, but all the contour line elevations in the SF Bay area are simply wrong.

    Even in the map you seen in this blog post, you have a 200 meter contour line around Presidio Hill in San Francisco, and the hill is only 387 feet tall. The same holds all through the Bay Area.

    This is a major major error and will mislead hikers and bicyclists. Please fix ASAP.

  • @David: I have also seen similar elevation problems in parts of Belgium and Germany, and already sent a mail to Mapbox 3 months ago about it, they have acknowledged the problem, but have not solved it since then... FYI, here is what I wrote them:

    I have recently started using MapBox for a personal map design project, and I have noticed some inconsistencies in the v2 terrain data. There are regions where the major elevation contours match quite well between the Terrain v1 and v2 data as expected, but some regions (I have found large areas in Europe for example) show differences to up to 300 metres, with the v1 data being correct, and the v2 being too high. 
    Examples: https://www.mapbox.com/labs/terrain/#16/50.7719/3.8914 in Geraardsbergen (west of Brussels), the Oudeberg in the middle of the map should peak just above 100 m ASL, while in the new version it shows up above 230 metres. As a comparison, here is the topographic map of the same region with contours, also showing the real ~100 m altitude: http://www.ngi.be/topomapviewer/public?lang=nl&level=9&mapcenter=%7B%22x%22%3A616044%2C%22y%22%3A662479%7D&layers=%7B%22autoMap%22%3Atrue%2C%22baseMaps%22%3A%5B%5B%22cartoweb_topo%22%2C100%5D%5D%2C%22aerialMaps%22%3A%5B%5D%2C%22overlayMaps%22%3A%5B%5D%7D&
    Or, even larger difference on the triple border between Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany: https://www.mapbox.com/labs/terrain/#17/50.75389/6.01772 the bend of the Route des Trois Bornes in the centre of the screen should be at an elevation around 300 metres, while in v2 data it is at 580! That’s a huge 280 m difference! Again, as comparison here is a link to the topo map of the region: http://www.ngi.be/topomapviewer/public?lang=nl&level=9&mapcenter=%7B%22x%22%3A766297%2C%22y%22%3A661642%7D&layers=%7B%22autoMap%22%3Atrue%2C%22baseMaps%22%3A%5B%5B%22cartoweb_topo%22%2C100%5D%5D%2C%22aerialMaps%22%3A%5B%5D%2C%22overlayMaps%22%3A%5B%5D%7D&
    Trying to triangulate where the differences are larger or smaller, at the Southernmost border of Belgium, it is only 40 metres: https://www.mapbox.com/labs/terrain/#15/49.5173/5.4715 Going more west deeper into Germany it is still 280 metres: https://www.mapbox.com/labs/terrain/#15/50.9296/7.2026 but even further West around the center of Germany it is downt to 40 again: https://www.mapbox.com/labs/terrain/#14/51.5349/9.9504 So the large anomaly seems to be centred around the Western border of Germany with Belgium, with an extent of half a country in all directions.
  • @David Sanger @Peter Papics @Andrew Valco I just saw this and looked at the top of Mt. Tamalpais - sure enough on the maps it is shown as ~890m while the actual top is 785m. Interestingly, I also looked at a few rides where I (or a friend) went up to the parking lot near the summit. The ride profile (below the map) is accurate, showing the parking lot at about 2500ft but the projection onto the map is not. So it would seem as if Strava has two maps - one it is using for the GPS/altitude calculations (accurate) and the other used for display (with inaccurate contours). Or there is the possibility that the ride contour is being taken from Garmin? Anyway, just wanted to highlight this difference.

  • @Michael Wara  thanks, that makes sense. As I understand it they use the National Elevation Database to recalculate the elevation  of points on a recorded track using the lat long of each point. In earlier versions you coal actually see an initial net elevation number showing, and then see it replaced by the updated version once the track was uploaded and processed.

    The visible maps come from Mapbox which is the source of the problem. You can see the same errors on alltrails.com

  • To repost here from the other thread:

    Hello everyone - 

    Mapbox is aware of and working on the issue with elevation data and contour lines around San Francisco. It may take some time to fix and we'll keep you posted as soon as we know more. 

    Also, to clarify: The contour lines showing elevation data on the Strava maps is not related to the elevation data calculated by Strava for elevation gain on your activity page. It is a separate database and algorithm we use to calculate elevation data on your activity. 

     

    Tiger tiger - to repost my answer regarding the language preferences of map labels from the other thread here:

    We've heard both sides of the story now, from users wanting labels in the local language and from users who want all English labels for maps anywhere in the world. We made a change to support some languages with our maps, so if you'd like to preview map labels in one of our supported languages you can change your language preferences at the bottom of any Strava page. The page will refresh and you'll see map labels in that language. 

    To clarify further: If you choose one of our supported languages (at the very bottom of any Strava page), then you will see all map labels in that language. If using an unsupported language, you will see a generic map displaying labels in the local language of the map area you are viewing. 

    Let me know if that makes sense and is true to what you are experiencing with the maps on Strava. 

    Thanks.

  • I gotta say, I was pretty upset when Strava went away from Google Maps, and while I still miss StreetView, these new maps are really good. Good job Strava and Mapbox.

  • I said it on Facebook when this was announced, but it got lost in the noise, so I'll repost here. I do not like the map style at all, it's useless as it has no detail at all. To elaborate:

    "Well, Google Maps are indeed shit, as anyone can see in the attached image (top). They have street view and satellite (in some parts of the world), but the map itself is only useful if riding on roads only. But the OSM in strava (bottom of the image) is quite bad too, not much detail, few labels, no tourist/cycle routes. That can be improved upon. The middle of the image shows mapy.cz, one of the best OSM renders available. That's what a map should look like.

    (There are some additional renders on http://openstreetmap.org/. I think even the default one is better than what Strava uses now, and for long distance cycling, opencyclemap render is quite useful.)"

  • I think it'd be beneficial to increase the contrast for areas tagged "woods" in OSM. The current rendering makes these a very slightly lighter green, but it is not as useful as it could be.

    Tags of "woods" do not exist everywhere but places where OSM users have gone to the effort to tag "woods", this tag can be particularly instructive.

    I would like to suggest rendering is adjusted to a less saturated green and reduced brightness for places "woods" overlays something green in the current rendering, and to colour it a darker green if woods exists somewhere that isn't currently rendered green. I don't know the rendering hierarchy obviously...

  • Unfortunately there are a lot of errors in the maps, and even when 'reported' to mapbox the errors don't get fixed. I joined mapbox to fix them because of this and then found out that the fixes that need to happen don't actually happen in mapbox so that was a waste of time setting up the account and then asking where to find the functions to edit and fix the maps.

    The problem is that Strava wants delineation in the way intersections happen. If someone who doesn't know squat about your area does the map you end up with trail / road intersections that don't work, i.e. you can't just turn from the trail onto the road, they don't allow it. They route you over somewhere to a point where someone made a junction with the road.

    In reality this is not how running / cycling works. Route mapping is you go where you want, but right now we have mapping tools that are limiting what we can map out and in some cases this translates into what we can do. I just don't understand why the mapping can't see everything as a candidate for running / riding? Why draw a distinction between certain elements, like trails, sidewalks, roads etc?

    There is actually one route in my locale where a driveway exists at a junction with a sidewalk coming from a walking bridge and Strava, because of the mapping limitations mind you, routes you down and around the corner to the end of another block before it allows you to transition to the road...now this is just foolishness. Clearly the routes I have run traverse the trail to driveway and then right out to the street.

    So in conclusion, why doesn't the mapping function 'repair' it's faulty mapping logic based on what people have run? Seems logical that the mapping would say, 'hmmm, someone just went from this trail right on to the road, I guess the way we have it setup doesn't work in reality.' Another way of saying this is why isn't the mapping function a little less concerned with what you're running on and where you're going? Don't mess around so much worrying about whether it's a trail, paved, trail, MTB trail, road, gravel etc, it doesn't really matter at all, especially when can't seem to get to it to begin with.

    Second, where can I get these mapping inaccuracies fixed? Because I continue to report them but the reports appear to be going into a black hole somewhere.

    Finally, if someone tells me again to switch to manual mapping function I'm going to scream, it doesn't work either!! Manual mapping function will actually ruin your maps it's so damn crappy.

    In closing, I know this is a bit of an insult, but the mapping setup here is just about as bad as the Garmin Connect software, which is saying a lot. I know that's pretty harsh, but I have lost routes after spending a considerable amount of time trying to get just what I want, it's no fun when your software is junky.

    And one final thing, why is it on some roads you have to zoom way in before the whole road appears? That's just shitty, you know, and it makes no sense to show half of a loop visibly and the rest only when you zoom way in. IDK who came up with that idea but they're a complete idiot.

  • Hello Steve,

    I know, changes that you (and I) do in OpenStreetMap data are not applied in maps on Strava website.

    This is the case since 1 year now.

    I cannot explain why Strava still give money to Mapbox for 1 year old maps. I guess that this is because Mapbox sells thoses olds maps for cheap.

    A good alternative (among many others) can be https://graphhopper.com/maps/

     

     

  • When is Strava going to update its activity maps to Mapbox Streets v7? (https://www.mapbox.com/vector-tiles/mapbox-streets-v7/#overview) The maps that are currently being used are very out of date (for my area at least) and need to be updated on a much more regular basis, say every 3 months as a minimum. There is no point in me making edits in OpenStreetMap if Strava aren't going to use the latest tilesets from Mapbox to reflect those changes. There are OSM edits I made over 9 months ago that still don't appear on Strava, yet they do appear on Mapbox.

    Come on Strava, sort it out ASAP!

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