Map My Tracks: Live GPS map creation, and sharing on the way

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Map My Tracks is a new web app that provides real-time GPS tracking for anyone with a compatible mobile phone or an external GPS receiver. It’s aimed at sports people to help them understand and improve their performance, hence it offers a free plan but also subscription services. I like this app because while lots of online/GPS mashups will pinpoint where a mobile phone is, they don’t always show a track, something which creates a bunch of possibilities, like map sharing. Your progress is tracked live or can be replayed later and displays distance, top speed, average speed, direction, and current location. You can see runners, cyclists and skiers really going for this kind of site.

The site has been in beta for a couple of months and is self funded by UK company Tinderhouse which has a team of four. Over the next few months they aim to broadcast live on the web various sporting events ranging from sailing regattas to marathons. In addition, live events would work quite well since at the moment many GPS tracking solutions rely on data being stored on a device then uploaded via PC to a site or application. Map My Tracks broadcasts the location data live avoiding the need to then upload data. Which makes me think of a mobile running Map My Tracks alongside a live video streaming application on a mobile like Qik. Users could collaborate and compare tracks against each other, for instance, and co-founder Nick Tatt tells me that this is indeed in the pipeline.

But it’s really the interface to Map My Tracks which is great fun. Users get profiles and you can click on their tracks. I took a look at some guy (or girl?) who must have been cycling or Skiing on the mountains near Milan. This is a great app if you are planning an outdoor holiday and want to see some of the routes to take before you go. It’s interesting also that the site spits out tags for you to explore. This site has lots of possibilities.

My one disappointment is that the site is making the classic British/European mistake of looking to bring in revenues first before scaling to a bigger size. In my view they should take off the subscription wall (perhaps with the help of some external funding) and really try to scale to the point where they have millions of users sharing the best tracks for cycling, holidays, routes to work, you name it.

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