Endurance Sports in Google Earth
Endurance sports include any sport that involves physical exertion for a prolonged period of time. Popular endurance sports include long distance running, hiking, cycling, swimming, and triathlons. Many people take part in endurance sports. Some are average citizens looking to stay physically fit, whereas others are competitors looking to increase fitness for an upcoming race or athletic event. Because so many regular, unsponsored individuals participate in endurance sports, there is a high demand for tools that are inexpensive but still help people in their training and enjoyment of these sports. Google Earth has taken advantage of this demand by providing endurance sport specific layers, while others have used Google Earth to provide many options for endurance athletes and fans, including mashups and KMLs.
The most popular use of Google Earth for endurance athletes are mapping websites (MapMyFitness.com, Run.com, RunningMap.com, WalkJogRun.net, etc.). Mapping websites are mashups, applications created by software developers using Google Earth as a base. Mapping websites use Google Earth to allow users to map out distances by drawing out a route that they have taken and measuring the total length of the route drawn. Most sites have additional features, including the ability to chart elevation change, mark water, first aid stations, and bathroom stops, and the option to change the map style.
Google Earth also comes with three trails layers – Everytrail (Everytrail, 2010), Trimble Outdoor Trips (Trimble, 2009) and Wikiloc (Wikiloc, 2009). All three of these layers aim to provide users with the locations of various trails, but they have different formats and styles of display. Which layer is best depends on what the user is looking for – the Trimble Outdoor Trips layer provides more information, while the Everytrail and Wikiloc layers Provide more trails to choose from. These trails layers are all useful for runners, hikers, and mountain bikers.
Fan layers and KMLs have improved the quality of entertainment for those few (but loyal) fans of endurance sports. Many layers and KMLs that have been created, providing sports fans with a new way to follow their sport, whether it be track and field, cycling, hiking or any other sport. Examples of such layers and KMLs include:
- The Summer Olympics Stadia Complete List (Kostasf, 2008) — a KML that marks on Google Earth where all of the Summer Olympics have been, beginning with Athens in 1896. When the user selects one of the locations, there appears a brief description of important events and interesting facts, along with some statistics about that Olympiad. For track fanatics, this KML is an easy way to learn about the history of their sport’s most famous and most important event.
- The Tour De France Layer (Tour De France, 2010) – This layer maps out every stage of the tour, with a green marker at the beginning of every stage, and a red marker at the end. The stages are also labeled. The most interesting feature of this layer is the ability the view the entire tour from overhead with the tour application, in which the user virtually flies above the stages, viewing each stage in order from the first to the twentieth.
- Beijing Olympics 3D Tour Layer (Beijing Olympics, 2008) – This layer shows all of the buildings used in the 2008 Beijing Olympics in 3D. It also provides information on each building (what sport(s) it was used for, etc.).
– Brian Atkinson
Beijing Olympics Stadium 3D Tour (2008). BeijingTour [KML in Google Earth 5.0 software] Available from earth.google.com/
Engelsrud, A., (2007). Featured Website: MapMyRun.com. Retrieved November 10, 2010 from http://completerunning.com/archives/2007/04/06/featured-web-site-mapmyruncom/
Everytrail (www.everytrail.org). (2009). Everytrail [layer in Google Earth 5.0 software]. Available from earth.google.com/
Hanifen, J., (2010). About MapMyFitness. Retrieved November 6, 2010 from http://beta.mapmyfitness.com/about/us
Kostasf (2008). Summer Olympics Stadia, Complete List 1896-2004[KML Application for Google Earth]. Available from http://bbs.keyhole.com/ubb/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=50637#Post50637
Tour De France 2010 (2010).[KML in Google Earth 5.0 software] Available from earth.google.com/
Trimble Outdoors Trips (www.trimbleoutdoors.com). (2009). Trimble Outdoor Trips [layer available in Google Earth 5.0 software]. Available from earth.google.com/
Wikiloc (www.wikiloc.com). (2009). Wikiloc [layer available in Google Earth 5.0 software] Available from earth.google.com/