My (Self Propelled) Movements Around Seattle

On February 16, 2015, I decided to start tracking all of my self-propelled movements (ie. no car, no bus).  This is the resulting map of my traversed routes, overlaid on a map of Seattle.  I separated the routes based on what I walked (blue), jogged/ran (red), biked (green), kayaked (purple), or played soccer (orange).  I’ve blocked off the area I live in for privacy, though I’ve annotated both my and Anna’s places of work (UW and downtown, respectively) with a black dot.

Here’s the same map, but zoomed in to see more detail for the most traversed region:

It’s been great for a number of things, such as inspiring me to explore new areas of the city (ranging from exploring far away neighborhoods, to keeping track of new routes I could take for my commute to/from work).  It’s also helped me be more active in general (I’d oftentimes choose to walk/run and add to the map, rather than commute by bus and lose those potential data points).

Furthermore, as you have likely noticed, I used my gps-tracking hobby as part of my three-part engagement proposal to my now fiancée.  A zoomed in map, as well as a little bit of additional information, can be found here.


Details on how I made the map:  I tracked my gps movements using my iPhone (initially using the Runkeeper app, though I later switched to Strava) or a smaller gps tracker I purchased from Amazon for ~$45 (used for tracking kayaking and soccer).  I put together a script in R that imported the resulting gpx files and parsed them for latitude, longitude, and time information (Using the R package, “xml”).  I added a section of the script that projected intermediate data points anytime there was a 2-5 second break between logged points, for consistency between individual tracked routes on the iPhone (which varied a bit in logging frequency, while the smaller gps logging device always collected data every second).  The “ggmap” package in R was used to retrieve google maps at the various zoom levels, and I overlaid the gps data points using the “ggplot2” package.

5 thoughts on “My (Self Propelled) Movements Around Seattle

    1. Thanks, Marcel! Interesting idea, but I don’t have a fitness tracker (I just use my phone) so I don’t have any heart rate data. Then again, I run so (ashamedly) slowly, it might all be really low and boring anyway. On the other hand, I imagine you may have much more dynamic and interesting data from your own runs.

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