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Strava rolls out 3D maps to mobile to help riders prepare for tricky terrain in advance

Strava reckons this will help riders “make informed decisions on the go” about their route choices depending on what type of challenge they want

Strava is introducing 3D maps on the iOs and Android mobile app, with the maps now showing topography and elevation to scale to enable riders to seek out challenging routes or the more relaxed way home depending on what they're up for. 

“This update will allow all Strava athletes to confidently plan adventures and hit trails with ease, visualise the difficulty of different journeys, and make informed decisions on the go,” says Strava. 

2022 Strava 3D maps Scafell Pike - UK

The photo above shows how the 978m high Scafell Pike - the tallest mountain in England - is displayed on the Strava update. Given that the top of Scafell Pike isn't reachable by bike, and the lower peak of Helvellyn will see most mortals pushing theirs for large sections, we have to assume that Strava wouldn't route you up there if it isn't highlighted on the cycling heatmap; but it gives you an idea of how the 3D maps look in the app.  

> How to make the most of Strava’s exploring features for your next adventure

Strava first introduced 3D maps within personal heatmaps in spring of last year and then brought this extension to global heatmaps, but the 3D viewing experience was only accessible when using Strava on the web. 

Though it expects the feature to be useful for all riders, Strava says performance athletes can seek out elevation challenges and tailor outdoor training programmes to suit their goals, for climb training and VO2 Max efforts.

> How to use Strava to make you fitter

“It also signifies the next step in making Strava the ideal workout partner for trail sports athletes, who can hit unfamiliar trails knowing what they’re in for and how they get home,” the fitness tracking app highlights.

This update follows Strava’s recent ‘Points of Interest’ feature introduction, with base maps in the Strava app and on the browser now showing points of interest, including peaks, landmarks, photo spots, bike shops as well as popular starting points. 

Strava says that with the two new features users will now be able to visualise topography more easily to establish their location and plan their routes and breaks.

You can find the 3D maps on all mobile devices by going to the ‘Routes’ or ‘Record’ tab, or by clicking into any activity map.

3D maps are a subscription feature (not free), and are designed to provide added value for paid users.

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