TrailRunner 2.1v468 -- Topographic maps for Norway

Thanks to hints given by TrailRunner users, I added the new Statens Kartverk Digital Map Data Source for Norway — provided by the Norwegian Mapping Authority — to the list of OpenStreetmap sources.

As you can see in the depicted screenshots, the quality is phenomenal.
The Map data goes from a National Map scale down to a very detailed map with properties, buildings and roads.

To view the map data, switch to the openStreetMap source and then zoom in somewhere in Norway, TrailRunner will automatically select the new source and display the background map.

> Norwegian Mapping Authority

TopOSM -- topografic maps for Massachusetts, USA


Vidar pointed me to this beautiful map source that — unfortuanetly — is limited to Massachusetts, USA. The map is an interesting montage of several layers and data sources Lars Ahlzen has accomplished.
If you choose the openStreetMap as your background map in TrailRunner and view the area covered by this map server, TrailRunner now uses this source.

Read more about this project:
> What is TopOSM
> TopOSM online viever

iPhone on the hike -- Battery Extender


In the not so distant future I will go on vacation to the Pyrenees in France. And as a Hiking trip could last far longer than the battery life of my iPhone, I bought this cool clamshell that on the one hand protects my iPhone plus adds more grip to hold it and on the other hand gives it a huge power boost. The idea for this item is so simple and genious. I just love it and therefore I wanted you to know…

> Mophie Juice Pack Case…

Tracks, Trails, Routes, Workouts, Laps, Courses, WTF

„TrailRunner is powerful but at the same time can be confusing for first time users.”
This is what I hear from many users. The typical learning curve goes from prejudices on how things should work to misunderstandings on what is actually going on to understanding and loving TrailRunner or bailing out for something else.

This all rotates around the difference between a track, workout, diary entry, route and the network of tracks.
And to be honest, I know this problem and I am constantly trying to make things easier to understand.
In fact TrailRunner is three applications in one. TrailRunner is
- an activity journal
- a mapping application to maintain a network of tracks
- a route planning application

So whenever you import something into TrailRunner, your intentions might go into either direction. And interestingly this even shifts over time — as new users with new devices stumble upon TrailRunner.

Probably the following "glossary" might help understanding what TrailRunner is about and what the application can do for you — whenever you drop data into it:

Track
A track is a list of geographic points with GPS coordinates. Within the real world a track describes the path from e.g. one sign-post of a hiking trail to the next. Each sign-post representing a crossing that connects to other tracks. Within the context of such a way or street, a track contains no timing or heartrate information. It's only where, not when and how.

Network of Tracks
One big feature in TrailRunner is to build and maintain a network of tracks. That is much like the lines of streets, roads, ways, trails and pathes printed on maps. The difference is that your network of tracks is your personal collection. A collection that represents the paths you actually run or cycle on, masking everything else out that you dislike or haven't strolled along yet.

Route
Within this network of tracks you have routes. A route is more or less a sequence of tracks. One important thing is that within a route, if you go back and forth a track, this track is part of the route twice. This is the most problematic part as simple GPS recordings never have this kind of conceptual differentiation. So I reject the idea that a route and a track should be the same thing. They could appear as — in the degenerate case where a route is being made of one track being used only once within the route. But that is just a special case — although typical in activity tracking applications that just import GPS data points and visualize them.

Workout
The biggest similarity between what others call a track is what I call in TrailRunner a workout. Garmin calls this an activity but I dislike this term as it fits better to being a diary entry. But back to the difference between tracks and workouts: If a recording contains data points with values like heart-rate, cadence and calories, it's not a track. It's a sequence of training session data-points and therefore it is a workout. For this reason TrailRunner generally distinguishes between routes and workouts. Routes belong to geographic data, workouts belong to performance over time or distance. A workout and a route can be connected to each other if they follow the same geographic course, but must not.
TrailRunner even offers features to merge a workout with the course of a route. That's important for training devices that can track distances but not GPS locations (e.g. the Apple Nike+ iPod Sensor)

Summary: The different faces of a track
To sum this all up, a track can have the following faces:
If the track contains a series of geographic points without timing information, then it's a track within your network of tracks.
If the track contains additional timing information, then it's the course of a route containing the single track or a sequence of tracks.
If the track contains timing information and values like heartrate, cadence etc., then it's a workout.

Import of a track
Whenever you import a track into TrailRunner, the importer shows you the course of the track in the map part of the main window. Then in the lower part of the importer you can decide if the workout face of the track should be attached to a new diary entry.
Then below that you have options to add a route to your list of routes that is based on the course face of the track. If you choose the option to import as one piece then one long track is added to your network of tracks along with a new route that contains this single track as it's course. If you choose any of the other options, TrailRunner will merge the track into the network of tracks, splitting the track into smaller tracks and joining all similar sub-tracks with existing tracks. One important fact now is that the resulting route will be made of a sequence of tracks that describe the almost identical course as the original recording but complementing your network of tracks.

But most importand of all is: your imported track can go a split way. If you choose the diary and the merge way, you actually have two items deriving from one source but being independent after the import:
- The workout became an immutable one-time recording being stored in the diary.
- The route and your extensions to your network of tracks are mutable.
On tracks you can apply operations like move, split and join affecting the routes that use these within their sequence.
On routes you can change the sequence of tracks they should follow during their course.
But in the end you can create and modify routes to match your plans and use an exported course as a basis for your orientation — while taking your gear out and burning some calories. What you then record can be imported as a new workout into TrailRunner.

Map
To complement this all, a map within TrailRunner is just pixels. A background image you see beneath your network of tracks and a hint for your orientation and manual creation of new tracks. The lines drawn on a map are not part of your network of tracks unless you add them by re-drawing them using the track-tool or by adding GPS recordings that followed the same geographic course of the "line".
The only difference comes with openStreetMap. The openStreetMap map source is a pixel representation of the openStreetMap track network. For this reason it is recommended that when you are using openStreetMap for routing (streets tab) you should also use the openStreetMap map source as your backound maps. As both then perfectly match.

Further Reading
After reading the above, please revisit the following tutorials.
> About TrailRunner feature slide-show
> Import and Edit Tracks Tutorial
> Mastering Track Merge Tutorial

If you still have questions, remarks or suggestions — I do listen! Just write me. Either here, in the forum, on twitter or classic email.

TrailRunner 2.1 -- Diary, Trim and iPhone

From my pont of view, TrailRunner 2.1 is done. The new release migrates your diary into a modern database format, fixes several bugs and adds compatibility to Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard. Below the most important changes and extensions:

Diary
For better performance and for future extensions I rewrote the diary storage. Diaries are now based on a sport kind like running or biking.
So in future versions diaries can have different parameters for calculations.
TrailRunner 2.1 will already honor speed units like distance per hour or minutes per distance for sport kinds and also will calculate calories with a different formula.
This migration should solve many startup performance problems and will keep your mac responsive even with very large diaries.

Trimming workouts and Tracks
I do not know why I did not add this earlier but you can now trim workouts to be imported and routes within the map. Trimming means that everything from the edge up to and including the selection will be removed.


The screenshot shows a workout to be imported. You can either select something in the graph and then hit the backspace key or you open the track editor and use the Trim Selection command.
Update: You can now even remove data points in the middle of a track. There’s a new tutorial available explaining all operations available (Tutorials > Import and edit Tracks)

Improved Importers
TrailRunner 2.1 can now import Lap information from LoadMyTracks gpx files. Also GPX files are being loaded much faster due to an asynchronous decoding. Same goes for large tcx files you drag onto the TrailRunner application icon or main window.
The workout importer for non GPS workouts (the one that shows a list of routes below) now also displays a target diary selection menu.

Improved Map Speed
Though I highly recommend to remove any duplicate tracks within your map by following the instructions in the Mastering Track Merge tutorial, performance can be pretty bad with many long tracks on your map. In TrailRunner 2.1 I am testing a new display caching approach and have found results to be very good. Scrolling on my machine went up from 24fps to up to 60fps. But in most cases you should get 2x.

Other Improvements
Workout Graph: Added a Preferences option to change the interval resolution for the graph view. (TrailRunner > Preferences > Advanced)
General UI: Added a two finger zoom gesture for modern MacBook trackpads.
Local Route Editor: Added a drag over track to be included rerouting where there was only a drag to way-point rerouting before.
Streets Route Editor: Improved the OSM routing for very long route calculations.
Route Import: Added EveryTrail.com as an import source
Weblog publish: I removed the private and public comment approach as it caused some trouble in the past. When you publish your weblog, all notes will be published.
Export preserves timing: When you export tracks in TrailRunner, the original timing information will be preserved. This makes it posible to read data from your device and then later use an export for geo-tagging.
Route Filtering: The main window search field now filters for routes that contain the given search string in either their name or in the name of any way-point they come across. For example: say a route has a name of biking and goes over a waypoint called ruin, then a search term of ru will find this route. To filter on way-point names only, whith this example just enter wp:ru into the search field. To filter on route-names only, enter rte:ru into the search field.


Before you install TrailRunner 2.1
As TrailRunner uses a new diary store, you should better make a backup of your old.
All data in TrailRunner is being stored within the following folder on your Mac:

< yourhome >/Library/Application Support/TrailRunner/

You old diary was stored in RunLog.xml
When the new version starts up, it will migrate your old diary entries into the new diary. The new file is named ActivityStore.sqlite
A backup of your old diary will be copied to Archive/RunLog;4.xml for if there’s a problem with the migration. You can always move this file back and rename it to RunLog.xml
Please note that even after the migration was done, a much smaller RunLog.xml will stay in place, as it still contains some legacy data. So should you require to migrate back, just delete this file.
Important note: You can not use TrailRunner 2.0 at the same time as TrailRunner 2.1 as after the migration the diary will appear to be be empty on 2.0

Jump on the TrailRunner 2.1 track
TrailRunner 2.1 has its own app-cast so if you download the version below, you will be notified on updates.

> Download TrailRunner 2.1
> Import and Edit Tracks Tutorial
> Mastering Track Merge Tutorial

Please give feedback in case you have any trouble with the migration or other stuff.

Have fun,
- berbie.

Where do TrailRunners live?


As one might expect, the TrailRunner community is very international. Thanks to google, I can present you a Geo Map Overlay for TrailRunners, a graphical representation of the volume of visitors coming from locations around the world. The darkest spots indicate locations driving the most visitors to the TrailRunner website.
Interestingly most of my visitors come from Europe, but why is that so? Americans, put your shoes on…!

TrailRunner 2.0 -- Have a mobile training Coach

TrailRunner 2.0 is now able to receive GPS recordings from yet another famous iPhone app called 321run written by Cyril Godefroy,

321Run is an iPhone coach for running. Learn to run more efficient, lose weight, increase your speed and get prepared for competitions. The app follows your runs with the GPS of your iPhone and records your run stats and tracks. You can then send these recordings over to TrailRunner.

The cool features of 321run are
- Record your workout
- Listen to how far you've gone and the duration of your training.
- Set yourself goals and reach them during your workout.
- Setup and follow Training plans

Find out more about 321run:
- Features
- Screenshots
- 321run in the AppStore

TrailRunner 2.0 -- Routing and Communities

TrailRunner 2.0 is out, please find below what has changed in this new milestone release:

Community route exchange

The Route exchange with GPSies.com, one of the world biggest routing portals, is now grouped in one management panel.
Added a Hiking, Running and Biking filter to the GPSies route import.



Routing service and route editor and elevation download
Added routing service based on the Cloudmade/OpenStreetMap trail network.
The route editor for routes based on the personal track network was rewritten from ground up.
Elevation data for routes is now automatically being loaded from an internet service



Overall usability improvements
A new route management tool was added to the editing controls toolbar.



Download: TrailRunner 2.0

TrailRunner 1.9.1 - Laps and Diaries

TrailRunner 1.9.1 is out.
Please read below, what the new features the new release has to offer. Thanks for everyone sending me bug reports and feedback.

Diary Assignment
In previous versions of TrailRunner it was not possible to assign imported workouts to diaries (if you have added more than one diary in TrailRunner > Preferences > Personal)
Now when you import a workout, you can choose what diary the diary entry for the workout should go into.
(Please also note that in the main diary window you can add an optional column “Diary” to move entries between diaries )



Laps Import and display
TrailRunner now imports lap information from your Garmin fitness device. As a side effect, TrailRunner displays average and maximum values stored in the device and does not calculate these if values are available.



Route Sharing
Another improvement now the handling for sharing routes. Press the routes button in the main windows control bar to display the route sharing download and upload panes. You now can easily switch between both modes. As this is a feature for sharing, please do not forget to upload your own favorites to GPSies.com


TrailRunner 1.9 - Garmin ANT Importer

TrailRunner can now directly import Garmin ForeRunner 50 and Garmin ForeRunner 405 workouts via the Garmin ANT importer. This works as follows:

Open the
application preferences and select the Garmin ANT Agent as your helper application.



Press the Import Button in the main windows toolbar and follow the steps described there.



Check the workouts you want to import either as a diary entry or (if available) as a route.



Garmin ANT Agent for Mac OS X

Just if you did not hear this already, the Garmin ANT driver for Mac OS X is out. I haven’t checked this out enough much yet but at least you now can upload an activity to Garmin Connect without firing up your PC emulation. (Thanks David for the hint)


> Download

Look Ma' to GTC

Reminder on how to use GPSBabel to download ForeRunner workouts and send them to TrailRunner.

GPSBabel is a free software for GPS data conversion and transfer. As Garmin Training Center for Mac is not supported any more, you can use GPSBabel as an alternative way to send your fitness data to TrailRunner. To send your ForeRunner workout data to TrailRunner, follow these steps:

Download GPSBabel
> Go to http://www.gpsbabel.org
> Go to Download
> Scroll down and download the current GPSBabel+ dmg Package for Mac OS X

The package contains two applications, gpsbabel and GPSBabel+.app


In your applications Folder, create a new folder named GPSBabel
Move the two apps into that folder.



Download and install the TrailRunner support script
> open http://www.trailrunnerx.com/SendToTrailRunner.app.zip
> Move the application SendToTrailRunner.app to the same GPSBabel folder as above



Send workout data from your ForeRunner to TrailRunner
> Connect your ForeRunner with your USB port.
> Double click the SendToTrailRunner.app

GPSBabel should now download your stored fitness data and open the TrailRunner Workout import.
If you get an error message, unplug and pug your ForeRunner with your USB port.



Please note that GPSBabel will download raw fitness data from your ForeRunner and TrailRunner has to calculate all average, maximum and calorie values. This will almost always differ from the devices values as Garmin does some fancy mathematics almost impossible to reproduce by just using the raw workout data. (see FAQ on this)

DTK Maps - Cutting Edge

Rheinland-Pfalz TK25, copyright Landesamt für Vermessung und Geobasisinformation Rheinland-Pfalz (LVermGeo) and
I worked on the optimization for map borders. The problem in prior versions of TrailRunner was that when one map provider had no more maps for a region I should automatically switch to the new map provider. What I now do is that I check for each tile being loaded from what WMS server I should get it from. The screenshot shows a cut between the two Maps sources Rheinland-Pfalz TK25, copyright Landesamt für Vermessung und Geobasisinformation Rheinland-Pfalz (LVermGeo) and Hessen ATKIS 50, copyright Hessisches Landesamt fuer Bodenmanagement und Geoinformation.
The funny thing in this picture is that I thought the left map was originally a scanned paper map and the right map was a digital vector map. That could still be true but as you can see with the word "Kläranlage" in the middle of the maps, the word is perfectly aligned on both sources.
Looks like god even planned the locations for clarification plants when he created the world.

TrailRunner 1.9 - Calling Trails

TrailRunner 1.9 is able to receive GPS recordings from yet another famous iPhone app called Trails written by Felix Lamouroux.

Trails is the only GPS iPhone app that allows you to record, import and export tracks onto your iPhone. Trails is an iTunes Staff Favorite!
Record maps while hiking, on bike trips or while jogging directly on your iPhone. Easily import tracks and follow hikes of others!

This is how it works:

Download Trails
If you did not already, buy Trails in the app store and make some route recordings. Please note that the TrailRunner and Trails data exchange requires TrailRunner version 1.9 and Trails version 1.8. A domestic Airport/Wifi network is required to transfer data from the iPhone onto your Mac.

Transfer Routes
Start TrailRunner. Notice the iPhone control button in the toolbar. Press the control button.

An importer pane will open on the left hand side of the main window. Follow the steps described there.


On your iPhone, open Trails and select a recorded track. Press Export and press the TrailRunner button as depicted below.



TrailRunner and Trails will detect each other automagically and the selected track will be transfered to TrailRunner. The course of the track will be depicted immediately in TrailRunner.


After the course was received in TrailRunner you’ll see the regular workout import pane you might already know. Choose any of the import options and probably add a diary entry for this recording.

As of this writing both application versions are not yet available to the public

> Trails Website

How to lose 200 pounds in a year - TrailRunner featured at LifeHacker.com

Lifehacker.com mentions TrailRunner in their feature article „The Best Tech Tools and Fitness Plans to Get in Shape“.

If you're not keen on the web-based route, the Mac-only TrailRunner is an incredible desktop application that tackles many of the same features with a quick and very attractive interface. TrailRunner even integrates with Nike+ iPod, Google Earth, and your GPS (though MapMyRun does GPS, too).

About: Lifehacker digs deep into the technoweb to publish totally life-altering tips and tricks for managing your life. Its readers are avid consumers of software programs, hardware gadgets, and “life hacks” that make their days more efficient, whether at work or at home. Updated over 24 times per weekday, Lifehacker is a bustling, authoritative hub for both pupils and professionals of productivity.

iSchweinehund - c't Magazin 03/2009

If you are a german speaking user, you might want to read the short article about TrailRunner in the german magazine c’t. In issue 03/2009 on page 59 they write:

„TrailRunner liefert nicht nur einen virtuellen Trainingspartner, sondern macht auch als GPS-Track-Editor für Amateur-Kartographen eine gute Figur“.

I liked that they wrote me in advance to cross read the article and gave me a chance to make remarks. They even did send me a copy of the issue for my records.
The issue will be out by Monday, January 19th.