In a recent Reddit thread, someone a tad persnickety took exception to the fact that I call my GPS doodles “Strava art.” And I quote:
This is a little pedantic perhaps, but this is “GPS-tracking art”, not “Strava art”. It has nothing to do with Strava at all. I’m a little concerned that Strava is starting to become synonymous with GPS tracking data. I read an article the other day about how cities are using “Strava data” to plan cycling paths. Well, they may have got it from Strava (without our permission I might add), but it’s data we gave them in the first place, and mostly recorded with devices like Garmins. Mini-rant over 🙂
I’m not sure for whom he speaks when he says “without our permission” and “data we gave them,” but he’s clearly a staunch advocate of “credit where credit is due.”
Fair enough. And technically, he’s right. Strava is just an application that renders GPS data from devices like Garmins as pretty red lines on a map. Even within the narrow category of GPS tracking for cycling activities, there are many other services that do the same thing* – MapMyRide, Ride with GPS and Garmin Connect, for example.
Among the cycling groups I ride with, Strava is the uncontested KOM. And let’s face it: “GPS-tracking data art” doesn’t sound nearly as sexy as “Strava art.”
In my own defence, I picked up “Strava art” from some members of my cycling club when they started using the term to describe my newfound obsession. (NB: “obsession” is their term as well. I’m still content to call it “my healthy pastime.”)
So…is “Strava art” a misnomer? I’m interested to hear other perspectives and opinions on the matter…
*By “the same thing,” I’m referring solely to the visual mapping of GPS tracking data. What differentiates these applications are their performance analysis capabilities, training tools, challenges and other features.