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May 31, 2007

Customize your map

Filed under: Howtos / tips / tricks — mtbguru @ 7:06 pm

Embedding a trip map on your own website or blog has become a quite popular feature. To do this, you insert a snippet of HTML code (an ‘iframe’), which is listed on each trip page, onto your own site.

By default, the size of the embedded map is 500 pixels wide by 500 pixels long, giving you a street map view with zoom level chosen such to contain the entire track.

From now you will be able to change these settings and customize the way your map looks.

Let’s take a look at the code:


At the end of the iframe’s URL, appended right after the question mark, you see attributes ‘width’ and ‘height’ (which are bold faced here). To get a different map size, just change the numbers of pixels listed – make sure though to also change the corresponding “width=” and “height=” properties following this: add 10 pixels to width, and 65 pixels to height, to avoid ugly scroll bars. for instance, this code creates a 600 pixels wide by 300 pixels tall map:


You can also add new attributes to change the appearance of the map:

  • fit: default = 1. When set to 0, the map won’t scale to fit the track any longer, and you’ll have to provide your own zoom parameter (see next item).
  • zoom: Google maps zoom level. A higher number increases the zoom level and will show more detail (if available).
  • type: default = 0. When 0 -> show street map. When 1 -> show satellite view. When 2 -> show hybrid satellite + street map view
  • first: default = 1. When 1 -> show a marker on the first point of the track.
  • last: default = 0. When 1 -> add an additional marker to indicate the last point of the track and center the map around this marker.

You can append these to the iframe’s URL while separating them with ampersands; you can specify the options in any order you want and you can omit them if you’re happy with the default value.

This may all sound a bit complicated but it is very simple, just take a look at this example:


The changes with respect to our original code are indicated in bold: the map size has been changed, a zoom level of 12 is set (the map doesn’t simply just fit the track any longer) and a hybrid satellite/street view is shown.

If you’re using embedded maps or are planning to do so, make sure to play around with this, and give your map the look you prefer.

May 25, 2007

New Garmin Etrex ideal GPS for mountain biking?

Filed under: Admin — mtbguru @ 3:22 pm

News has leaked about an upgrade to the Garmin Etrex family coming later this fall, including a new ‘high sensitivity’ receiver – it’s unclear whether this will be a SiRFstar III chip or something else. Due to its compact size and mapping and navigation capabilities, the Etrex units have been quite popular for hiking and biking (easy to mount on a handlebar). Their crappy sensitivity though has always been problematic – it seems that this is about to change, and that would make them pretty great GPS units for mountain biking.

As pointed out in the GPS Tracklog blog, one of the things advertised in a (leaked) Canadian GPS catalog (see image below) is Galileo compatibility (by means of a chip module that can be added later), which shouldn’t get you too excited as the earliest Galileo is now projected to be functional is 2012…
(Galileo is the GPS project of the European Union)

Below: the new Vista ‘HCx’ (in Canadian dollars…)


May 22, 2007

Beta no more

Filed under: General MTBGuru stuff — mtbguru @ 7:59 am

This has been overdue for a while, but we believe we’ve squashed enough bugs to finally ditch the beta! And that black font in the logo was getting old too.

So it got time for a new logo. The background image is still (roughly) the same – anyone recognizes the typical profile of the horizon (hint: it’s in the San Francisco Bay Area)?

It’s also exciting to see the rate of new trips being created increasing (trip id numbers are now over 1500), with some very interesting examples that we’ll feature in a later post – finally, new features are coming your way, too!

May 17, 2007

Bike to work

Filed under: General MTBGuru stuff — mtbguru @ 1:01 pm

Here in the US it’s Bike to Work week – today is Bike to Work Day in the San Francisco Bay Area and I’d say all bike geeks should bring out their GPS so they can analyze their commute! At our workplace we had awards for the longest commute, the earliest arrival, the most creative ‘alternative’ way of commuting etc.

This may all sound silly to people in many other parts of the world, who commute most of the time by bike or public transportation, but I’ve seen these events get bigger and more successful each year here in the US, so I can only applaud the organizers – just making drivers here more aware of the existence of cyclists on its own is a great feat.

Even stronger I applaud the organizers of the Bike Away from Work bash, tonight in Gordon Biersch in downtown San Jose, where you can celebrate your bike commute and the end of your work day with the appropriate beverages!

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May 15, 2007

Sharing your trip

Filed under: General MTBGuru stuff,Howtos / tips / tricks — mtbguru @ 6:28 pm

When you’re creating or editing a trip, your browser shows you an ‘edit view’ of the trip page – its URL is reflecting this. Obviously only you (the trip owner) can see such ‘edit view’ and edit your trip, and this presented a bit of a problem: when people wanting to share their trip with others just copied and pasted the URL (of the ‘edit view’) from their browser’s address bar, the page that URL directed to wasn’t visible to others. The rather clunky solution we had for this was the ‘View Trip’ link in the sidebar, that toggles the page to a ‘view mode’ which is visible to others.

Simpler is better though, so we added a snippet at the bottom of the trip page (shown in both edit and view mode) which makes sharing the trip and trip page URL obvious (screenshot below). It also includes a link to post to your del.icio.us bookmarks (we may add other bookmarking services later). Thanks midtoad for the suggestion! Other suggestions are always welcome, at mtbguru@mtbguru.com.


May 7, 2007

Back from Wildflower ’07

Filed under: General MTBGuru stuff — mtbguru @ 6:09 am

Wildflower race

We made it back from Lake San Antonio, having enjoyed the ‘Woodstock of Triathlonsweekend.

Here’s the details on the bike leg of the long course, which I rode as part of a relay team, helping out a co-worker in need.

There’s nothing like the feeling of a three hour time trial with seemingly persistent headwinds and a couple of nasty grades towards the end kicking your ass! My respect for triathletes has even increased: the headwinds in combination with the no drafting rule (we’re time trialing after all!) made the first, supposedly easy, 20 miles a sufferfest; the following, rolling and mostly descending 20 miles were a welcome break but the sting was definitely in the end, with a succession of hills that are made to hurt. And then biking is only one third of the story…

Kudos to everyone who was racing – there were a (shorter) mountain bike course on Saturday, and an olympic distance course on Sunday as well. To any other GPS geeks who were out there: it would be great if the other legs and races would get uploaded!

The camping, expo and related festivities were a lot of fun, and made for a memorable weekend.

Wildflower camping

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May 4, 2007

Wildflower ’07

Filed under: General MTBGuru stuff — mtbguru @ 9:36 am

The Wildflower is for triathlon what the Sea Otter Classic is for cycling: one of the largest events of their kind in the US (and world) and to some extent the non-official opening of the (summer) season.

We’re heading off down south – the event takes place in the scenic and sparsely populated area around Lake San Antonio in Central California – and you can expect to see (at least) the cycling leg published on MTBGuru soon!

Last year’s transition zone, after the race

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