For the past several months I have been collecting everything I’ve been eating in “MyFitnessPal” and I absolutely love it. I have lost at least 7 pounds so far and can’t fit into my normal size anymore. I will produce some food data visualizations in the future but for now you will have to be content with this woman’s awesome food consumption project:
However consumption is only part of the problem and in order to get in better shape you have to move around more. As a data-jockey I sit down all day and I’ve been trying to exercise more. Now recently I have been examining several different apps to track my movements when hiking or exercising. It really encourages me to see where I’ve been and how far I’ve explored. Its like taking pictures but for the data-minded person. There are quite a few apps out there listed in several categories such as fitness, navigation, or even travel. The complication is that I don’t really care if its a ‘trail’ app or a ‘running’ app or even a car navigation app so long as it will allow me to do three things. 1) Record my route (with elevation) and allow me to export it 2) Time my route 3) Be free or cheap. Note that if you’re on long hikes then battery life may be a fourth factor you’d like to consider. Also there are various add-ons like heart-rate monitor etc.
AllTrails: I have had this since I got my iPhone but didn’t really use it much, and when I did it was only used it to locate trails. Evidently you can actually export custom trails in gpx format and I totally looked through all these apps and didn’t notice that feature on this app. Maybe it was updated recently! But this was what I wanted before I started hunting. Maybe I should use the apps I download first !
Distance Free: Doesn’t export w/o signing up for a website, no map, and you have to upgrade to get a calorie count. I really don’t see why you’d used this app.
iMaps+ : Does what I want, records any type of trail and exports it… except the free version only allows for 2 km!
Trailhead (The North Face): I liked the trail locator part, and seems like there was more information than AllTrails. Also includes a handy feature for finding North Face stores so you can buy more stuff to carry with you that you must have to continue to enjoy the simplicity of nature. Honestly this is a really asinine feature but hey the app was free so beggars can’t be choosers. Doesn’t appear to export to email.
iMapMyHike: Forces you to sign up first. All other apps allowed use w/o signing up for anything.
iHikeGPS: Expensive! 7.99 for an app! But does allow for USGS and forest service maps.
Nike + GPS: Simple, Free, and records velocity very well. I like the pace map the best and it was really cool to see my pace. Very cool social features on this app. Honestly if I didn’t care about the export part, I would use this the whole time. I found myself looking at the pace map every time. Even though this is probably optimized for ‘running’ it doesn’t seem to care if you’re hiking, walking, or on the bike. I liked the “power songs” feature. I did generate this awesome graph:
Update: Apparently there is a way to do an API call on all data using info from http://slowgeek.com/ (could there be a better name than that for that website!!?) This is now my favorite app! Gotta love nerds. Update: I could not get it to work, but maybe you can use eagerfeet.
Runkeeper: this is my favorite so far because I can export the data into google earth or GPX and the app has over a dozen activity types! Note that if you choose to sign up on the web (you must sign up and visit their webpage to export) it automatically defaults every trail you record to allow everyone to see them so if you don’t want stalkers to see where you frequently exercise change your “map viewable by” setting to “just me.”
In addition to my own research, I have read these links listed here however several of these reviews are old and some of the advanced pay features have migrated into free apps.