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I tried program in "show straight line between points mode" and came out within program resolution of what I got on same course using GE. It does have the advantage (for me) that I can see the plot points. If you have the wrong video card (like me), GE does not show the plot points: OpenGL vs Direct X mode business.
Unless there is a control I missed, resolution is limited to 10 m. I expect to be within 10' on a 5k.
The elevation profile is better than anything else I have seen anywhere. Nice smooth lines like it is going to feel in the real world. You can measure in km for better resolution and then toggle to feet and the Ele Pro comes out in feet. Like GE, it lets you to move the cursor along the elevation profile to locate mile or km marks on the course.
I tried the sharing and saving features and they worked quite well. Dealing with non-techie race directors this is a big plus while the course is being designed. GE's kmz files required the user to have GE installed and most of these folks do not. I end up pasting a screenshot into Paint and marking it and then sending a jpg.
Because of my need for precision though, I will stick with GE.

Another problem I thought I had was not being able to add intermediate points which is a big deal in rearranging a course to get the distance to work. I asked and turns out you can click and hold on the route, and an intermediate point will appear. There is a notice that says "split route". Do not know how it works but it would be helpful to do this sometimes trying to locate mile marks in a longer race where the resolution has gone bad. Have not tried this on a half marathon to see if resolution in feet continues, but if it does, then that is another thing that Gene's discovery does better than GE!
This is timely, as I am evaluating CalTopo for use in laying out courses. ( ). I think it suffers from the same problem that the site was first thought to have, i.e., a resolution of only 10 meters. I have contacted them to see if they can do better.

As I was writing this I found an option in the Config menu to change units to "feet only." (I would like to see meters as an option there as well.) The question I have is whether looking at "feet only" is simply a false displayed resolution, or a "real" resolution.

I compared measurements on a short segment of road (with some hills and curves) between Caltopo and MapPedometer. Caltopo reported 5571 feet, and MapPedometer reported 1.6979 km (rounds to 5570.5 feet). Pretty close.

One thing I do like about Caltopo is that with the other options, I am clicking the next point blindly, which means eyeballing the tangents and SPR through curves. With Caltopo, a line stretches from my last clicked point to the cursor position, which allows me to see where the line will fall when I click the subsequent point. I also appreciate the ability to split routes, extend routes, and place options on the same map. The link below shows examples of this.

Having said all this, mapping out road courses is not what Caltopo was really designed to do. It really shines in the backcountry, for laying out wilderness routes on and off trail. See, for example, a trip I did in September 2017: Wind Rivers . It does some really cool stuff with elevation, terrain, and slope statistics.

I currently use Map Pedometer or GE, though my preference tilts to Map Pedometer.

On The Go Maps just got bombed back into the stone age due new higher fees.   Shame, it was a great resource.    

A New On The Go Map

I built On The Go Map in 2013 to teach myself web development and serve a daily need of mine: to plan running routes. Since then On The Go Map has served over 4 million people.

The website was originally built on the Google Maps platform, but in May of 2018 Google announced pricing changes that would increase website operating costs from almost nothing to over $30,000 per month, far too much for a side project. Since then, I rewrote On The Go Map from the ground up using OpenStreetMap data which is free, open, and constantly updated by a worldwide team of volunteers.

The new version is built on Mapbox GL, an advanced geospatial visualization library that may not work on some older browsers.

At first the new version will only contain basic functionality, but I will gradually add things back over time. In particular you will notice:

  • Roads or trails have changed This is because the maps are now based on OpenStreetMap data instead of Google Maps data. You can help fix the map by adding a note to let mappers know, or contributing a fix yourself.
  • Search box is missing I did not have a chance to do this before the pricing changes took effect. Stay tuned, but until then use the “find my location” button to pan the map to your current location.
  • No More Google Drive Google also announced in 2018 that the Google Drive API On The Go Map used to save routes is going away soon. You can still open routes you previously created from Google Drive, but you can not create new ones.
  • No elevation profiles I did not have a chance to do this before pricing changes took effect. Stay tuned.
  • No bicyling or driving routes I only had a chance to add walking routes before pricing changes took effect. Stay tuned.
  • No satellite view I am still looking for an afforable high resolution satellite imagery source. Stay tuned.

If you miss any of these features, please vote on them to help me prioritize which to add back first!

Thanks to Stadia Maps for hosting the map data, to the GraphHopper project that we now use for directions between points, and to you for using On The Go Map!

— Mike Barry @msb5014

As a measurer, not new to the Forum or using mapping tools, I don't understand how these 2 new tools are better than Google Earth.  What am I missing? 

Designing a course and making the course map is a big part of what we do, sometimes more time consuming than measuring.   A tool that would make these functions easier is certainly welcome. 

The RRTC has, apparently, relaxed the interpretation of the rules for acceptable maps, but there are problems  (file size) with some of the color maps (Google Map screen shot with the course traced on it) we have submitted.  Does either of these new mapping tools resolve the file size and number of colors issues? 

We recently had to prepare 8 different course designs before the race director's committee was satisfied.  We used Google Earth, which allows saving and changing a map.  It also provides pretty accurate distances.  Do either of these new mapping tools provide similar functionality?

Instead of doing a screen-shot of GoogleEarth, how about putting the route into GoogleMaps and just have the street map imagery?  That should be a much smaller file.  If you have a Google account, make the map in GoogleEarth, save the kmz, then make a new map in GoogleMaps, importing that kmz.  Then, you can do your screenshot.

If your files are still too larger, take the image into Gimp, and change to Indexed color (I believe that is what it is; I am at work and don't have Gimp on my computer).  That should allow you to reduce the file size, and still have good resolution.

Thanks Duane, for sort of confirming that the new map tools are not really better than Google Earth.   Importing the kmz file into Google Maps is a neat trick that saves designing a route in Earth then making a new map in Maps.  The colors in the final screen shot are the problem with large files.  I'm not savy enough to understand that.  My final pdf files are all under 1 meg, but when Justin gets the png file it is much bigger, apparently because of the thousands of colors in the Google Maps Screen shot.  I can use GIMP to reduce the number of colors, but I did not know the final version of the pdf file I send to the certifier (Jane)  would become larger than when I sent it.  

The problem I see with all this file manipulation to make a suitable map is that every new step takes us further away from the "anyone can measure a course for USATF certification" philosophy.  Maybe that's why Gene and Jim think the new map tools are better.  I still don't see it, especially for the course design function.

I have been using a tool called PlotARoute to very rapidly create and design alternative courses to share with the RD and/or race committee.  It takes no more than a few minutes to outline a prospective course.   It has street and satellite view.  AND the unique feature is that it has ANIMATION which moves an arrow over the course to clarify the intended direction of travel and number of loops, where applicable, to quickly eliminate possible ambiguity regarding these important issues.

Here's a link to a course that I felt was too complicated, but mandated by circumstance and the Race Committee.  The animation saves me from having to write a tome of explanation regarding loops and direction of travel over this complicated course.

Holland Tulip Festival 5K EXAMPLE of PlotaRoute:






I second Mark's thanks. 

I generally plot out the draft route for my RDs using Google Earth or GMaps (milermeter), take a screenshot of the route, then drop the screen shot into Corel Draw. Then, I trace the route with colored dotted arrow lines (sample attached). I save the image as a PDF and email it. This seems to do the job.

Of course, not everyone has CorelDraw or Adobe Illustrator (comparable programs). I have found Open Office Draw less friendly to create this kind of image. Where PlotARoute will really come in handy is when I am proposing a multiple-loop course, or one in which the same path is traversed more than once. A great tool to have. Thanks, Jeff!


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Google Maps 10K & 2 Mile Courses Screenshot With Added Arrows
Last edited by Race Resources LLC

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