Strava has announced it will add ‘Points of Interest’ to its base maps in the Strava app and on browsers, with the aim of helping users plan where to go and find essentials when out riding.
Strava says Points of Interest will include features such as peaks, landmarks, bike shops, cafes, popular start points and photo spots. If the need arises when out on the move, users will be able to find places for water refills, snacks or toilet facilities via the maps tabs in the app.
While many apps already highlight what could be deemed points of interest, Strava says its mapping will have points of interest tailored to athletes’ needs, and in this way, it will differ from other “car-centric maps”.
To determine popular points of interest for users, Strava has combined the heat maps of its athletes with the database of OpenStreetMap, which is an open-licence world map edited by users.
Komoot has a similar function to this new feature from Strava. In Komoot, users can add highlights and other users can then incorporate these into their route plans – or, indeed, re-route themselves to these locations when out riding.
While users won’t be able to add points of interest to the Strava base map directly, as they can on Komoot, Strava has hinted this might become a possibility in the future.
Free for all users
Strava says its Point of Interest feature will be available to all users, whether they subscribe or use the free version of the app.
This can be seen as part of Strava’s continued effort to bring greater functionality to more users, following the decisions last year to make the safety feature Beacon free for all users and to update progress charts to include more activity types.
As part of the Strava Year in Sport 2021, Strava co-founder Michael Horvath said these decisions had paid off, with a better interface and privacy control helping Strava achieve a 38 per cent increase in recorded activities in 2021 when compared to 2020.
Even greater usability and an enriched user experience are likely what we can expect from Strava moving forward.
But the question now is whether or not this new update will lead to an increase in usage. Will more users take to planning routes on Strava? And will they use the app over other services such as Google Maps to search for essentials while out and about?
We might have to wait until Strava Year in Sport 2022 to find out.