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Discussion: Strava heat maps

in: Orienteering; General

Dec 21, 2017 2:30 AM # 
Hi all.

I want to print out a heat map for my brother-in-law for a present. Does anyone know how to get this data into a form that give high quality?

Any help is appreciated!
Dec 22, 2017 4:43 AM # 
If you're just looking for the image to print, the easiest thing is to screenshot it.

Here's how that works in Windows:

You can use the browser F11 to get the most image on your screen, and then figure out how to "print screen". On my computer, I hold the Fn (function button), and then a button that has "Prt Sc" on it. Some keyboards have a print screen button that is stand alone and works just by pushing it.

That button saves the screen image on your clipboard.

Now open Paint, and either type "Cntl-V" to paste, or click the "Paste" button on the Paint "Home" menu. The image will appear, but you'll only see the top part of the image.

Now you need to crop it. Click "View", then the "Zoom Out" button until you can see all of the image you want to save. For me, it takes exactly one click of "Zoom Out."

Now click "Home" again, then click the button that is a dashed-line rectangle above the word "Select". (You can also pull down that Select menu for other options.) Then use the mouse to click and drag a rectangle around the area you want to save. Ideally, you don't want any of the window graphics or smaller boxes with text---you just want the image itself.

Now, with the area you want selected, click "Crop", and it will get rid of everything else.

(You can skip this step: I like to click "View", then 100% so I can see the image at full resolution before I save it.)

Finally, click "File", "Save As", and save the image. For printing you can do JPG or PNG. I believe PNG is lossless compression, unlike JPG which is adds noise. (I tend to use JPG because the files are smaller, but for this, I'd definitely do PNG. Other people might have more informed opinions than I have.)

This works best with enormous monitors with very high pixel count graphics settings. I'm probably going to get a 4K monitor primarily because of the screen shot resolution.

There is another option that might work, but it's really complicated, and I'm not sure it will work. If I can find time, I'll try it, and post about it.

And there is a third option, but I'll email the developer and see if he can add the Strava data to his software tool.

If lady00shalott or anyone else knows about GIS technical things, refer to this thread:
Dec 22, 2017 6:16 AM # 
I did the second option I mentioned, which was using the process in the other AP link and using QGIS to try to output a PDF or PNG using the Print Manager functions in QGIS. (And this took me some time to learn, so fair warning.)

I stacked three of the colors on top of one another, 1, 4, and 7, with 1 on top, to create this:

That's a 2MB PNG image, which if printed at 300 dpi will be 1:24,000 scale.

I also created this PDF of the exact same image, but if you print it on 11x17 paper in portrait will be (exactly?) 1:24,000 scale.

That is an 18+MB PDF file.

I couldn't match the awesome colors of your original image.

I did email a software guy about the third option I mentioned. If anything comes of it, I'll post here.

These images are kinda big, and you really won't know what they look like until you print them out. Especially if you're viewing it at a reduced size on a screen, most software will not show them at full resolution unless you're zoomed in.

Also, I noticed the Strava "background" is not pure black, but a *very* dark shaded relief image. I couldn't recreate that quickly, so I just used pure black.

Honestly, if the screenshot works, it's definitely the easiest way.
Dec 22, 2017 9:49 AM # 
Thank you for posting this question. I had never heard of the Strava Global Heat Map before but what an awesome resource.
How high quality do you want?
It seems the easiest way to get an image is to use your computer's Snipping Tool (maybe this is just a Windows Thing, I don't know) to highlight and save the image as a jpeg, not the highest resolution jpeg but it is a very quick process.
Dec 22, 2017 3:47 PM # 
OMG. I've never heard of the snipping tool. That's so much easier than what I do. It has Paint-like markup options, but more limited. Honestly I prefer to markup my screenshots in Powerpoint because they're more easily edited. Markups in Paint are hard to edit.
Dec 22, 2017 4:00 PM # 
Regarding my "third option". I heard back from the developer of He said he could try to integrate the Strava web tiles into Mappuzzle. That would allow easier capture of small-to-moderate sized images from Strava Heatmap.

Also, for those of you like gordhun who haven't heard of Strava Heatmap: It's amazing. If you are an OSM editor (or want to become one), you can use the Strava Slide Tool to edit or create linear features in OSM that follow the Strava Heatmap "averaged GPS track".

Once Spike pointed out the Slide Tool, I lost interest in getting the Strava Layers into QGIS. But some places I've found, particulary twisty, compact MTB areas, are a real problem with the Slide Tool. So I've gone in a circle, and again found a good reason to try to get the images themselves out of Strava Heatmap.

I recommend if you're using trails in areas that are potential orienteering maps, to carry a GPS to upload to Strava, or use a Strava phone app to log the trails on a Strava account.

The outputs aren't perfect, but I believe they're a great benefit to the mapper. (And they make an automatically-generated map better as well.)
Dec 22, 2017 8:25 PM # 
Is this what you are looking for?
Dec 23, 2017 1:11 AM # 
Are heat maps a premium only feature? Nothing shows up for me.
Dec 23, 2017 1:55 AM # 
I’m not a Strava user. The image is a screenshot by my iPad, cropped, and stored into google drive to get it available for net time.
Dec 23, 2017 2:47 AM # 
Thanks everyone. The tricky part was getting the image high quality enough to print on a poster. Looks like Ed managed to get it there.
Dec 23, 2017 4:10 AM # 
@smittyo: I'm not a Strava user, and am able to view the heat map fine.
Dec 23, 2017 2:22 PM # 
I use Strava, but pretty sure you need to have a premium account ($$) in order to get personalized heatmaps. You can view other users heatmaps without a premium account, but that option is not available in the free version.
Dec 23, 2017 6:45 PM # 
It wasn't working for me in Chrome, but it came up in Safari.
Dec 23, 2017 7:02 PM # 
So I pursued the third option. Strava is now available on mappuzzle (at ). If you already have it, I think it will update the config file if you look at the third tabl.

The colors match lady00shalot's link!

But---you still need to figure out how to get a black background behind it. I did it the hard way, georeferenced in QGIS, but you can probably get a simple image editing app to do it for printing posters or big image prints. If you use Photoshop or GIMP (free), it should be pretty trivial if you're used to working with layers.

3 MB PDF (Not cropped nicely---sorry)


It's pretty cool that if you zoom in on the city grid, you can see little irregularities that locals will understand.

Also, if you use mappuzzle, compose your download area with google maps, and only then switch to Strava to download it. There is a preview zoom error with the Strava layer. I've reported it. You can preview with Strava selected, but if you change the download dimensions and it drives a preview zoom change, it messes up.

This discussion thread is closed.