Imagine traveling someplace and wanting to know where the popular running locations are in a city. Well, imagine no more. A few days ago, Garmin announced on their blog that they’ve added a new heat map function to their Garmin Connect maps.
To engage the heat map, there’s an icon on the top left side of the map that you click on to see where the most popular running and biking trails are located. While not that useful if you’re familiar with your area, I found this to be a pretty cool way to find running trails when traveling. I also put my cyclist hat on for a second, to see how it could be useful for discovering trails that are within driving distance.
It’s key to note that it’s not available in all cities yet and is being rolled out over the next several months, as described on the Garmin blog. The following photo (from Garmin’s blog, not mine) gives an example of various routes. Notice the shades of orange vs. the shades of blue – the more intense coloring (orange and red), the more popular the route.
I asked Garmin how the data is shared. The original post was somewhat vague and seemed to indicate that the courses had to be created in OpenStreetMap, an open source map tool. I’m still waiting for an answer to see if it can be done using Google or Bing maps. I’ll update this post when I have more information.
In any case, this is just another cool tool for finding popular running and biking trails by the folks at Garmin Connect. At this time, the feature is only available in the United States.