ArcNews Online

Summer 2005
[an error occurred while processing this directive]

E-mail to a Friend
Via GIS, Mobile Phones and GPS Receivers Show Fitness and Location Data

Lifestyle-Oriented Location-Based Services Deliver Maps to Fine-Tune Outdoor and Exercise Experiences

It's nice to find a way to take technology out of the office. Instead of driving a computer mouse, some individuals might find themselves gripping handlebars as they guide bikes down a mountainside or programming an MP3 player as they take advantage of great summer weather for their daily jog. Those who are lucky enough will find themselves far from the hustle and bustle as they hike a trail or camp near a pristine mountain lake. Traditionally, GIS has been helpful to outdoor enthusiasts enjoying activities like these through producing maps and displaying GPS data. Now, several companies have found other innovative ways to put GIS to work.

A new, fast-growing application area is emerging in the lifestyle-oriented location-based services product arena. Three companies, Bones in Motion, MotionBased Technologies, and Trimble Outdoors, are helping to grow this application area by collecting GPS data, analyzing the data for application-specific purposes, and finally displaying the information through social networking community Web portals. Each company focuses on different market areas, but all offer simple GPS data collection capabilities and use Esri ArcWeb Services to provide the map data and mapping functionality behind their unique and innovative services.

  click to enlarge
BiM Active users chart and map GPS workouts on their mobile phones and on the Web.

So, whether the outdoor enthusiasts are taking an evening walk with a traditional GPS receiver, training for a marathon with a GPS-enabled mobile phone, or hiking mountain ranges and taking GPS-tagged photos with mobile phones, these companies can help them get the most out of their outdoor experiences.

Bones in Motion

Bones in Motion (BiM) was founded in 2002 and is headquartered in Austin, Texas. Its first service offering launching later this year is BiM Active, a Web and wireless location-based health and fitness application that helps individuals track their outdoor activities and their personal training and fitness goals. By using a simple-to-use GPS-enabled mobile phone, both casual and competitive athletes can use BiM Active to collect GPS data for their workout information; upload that information to the BiM Active portal; and view workout metrics, maps, and progress click to enlargecharts on both the mobile phone and through a Web browser. Members can register for BiM Active either on the Web or on their mobile phone. Once registered, all recorded information, such as speed, calories burned, and distance traveled, is stored in a personal online fitness journal at Individual fitness journals and favorite activity locations can be shared with other members or managed in a private diary.

BiM Active recently won the grand prize award in the NAVTEQ Global LBS Challenge, a location-based services application development contest held in conjunction with the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association.

MotionBased Technologies

Located in Sausalito, California, MotionBased Technologies has created a Web site dedicated to helping endurance athletes and others train better. The Web site is an alternative source for anyone wanting to track time, distance, and speed in their outdoor activities. MotionBased uses traditional GPS receivers to record workouts.

Once GPS data is collected, it can be uploaded to the MotionBased Web site where a software agent walks the user through a few screens explaining the process. The user's activity data is then sent to an in-box for viewing immediately or saved for use at a later date.

click to enlarge click to enlarge
MotionBased users chart and map their GPS activities on the Web.

The data is segmented into unique activities, including time, distance, speed, and elevation. The Map Player uses ArcWeb Services to display the route of the activity on a variety of map backgrounds, including an elevation profile for a 3D perspective of the route.

Map Player can simulate the activity along the map and elevation profile with a moving dot indicator. The user can interact by zooming in and out, panning, and displaying rollovers on key sections of the illustration. For those looking for an extra push in their workout, MotionBased offers dot racing; users can race multiple instances of the same route to see improvements or race against other members of MotionBased.

Depending on the nature of the activity, users can view their routes on different map backgrounds. Runners and cyclists may be interested in street maps, while hikers and mountain bikers may find topographic maps more useful. The MotionBased site allows users to choose from aerial photos and street, topographic, and elevation maps. When traveling abroad, users have the choice of map data for Europe, Canada, Mexico, or New Zealand. Their submitted activities are automatically included in the MotionBased TrailNetwork, a fast-growing database of trails, routes, and activity information being created by members of the MotionBased community. won Popular Science magazine's "2004 Best of What's New for Recreation" award.

Trimble Outdoors

  click to enlarge
Trimble Outdoors users take location-stamped photos with their camera phones.

Trimble Outdoors has created a location-based blogging application for people who enjoy outdoor adventures. By combining GPS technology with the ability to view maps and location-stamped photos on a mobile phone and on the Web, adventurers have everything they need to capture their next trek and share it with others. Again, when a picture is taken using a GPS-enhanced mobile picture phone, it is automatically given a location and time stamp. Using Trimble Outdoors' Web site (, members can post their photos and diaries and download other members' trips. Becoming a member of this online community requires a subscription. The fee is included in the Trimble Adventure Planner software license fee or the Trimble Outdoors Gold and Platinum monthly fee.

Subscribers can view trip information by logging on to the Trimble Outdoors Web site and searching on a location in the United States. By selecting a particular trip, they can connect to an ArcWeb Service that displays an aerial photograph or topographic or street map of the requested area, along with registered waypoints, photographs, and a trip log. Viewers can pan around the map, zoom in, choose pictures to view, and send an e-mail to friends and family containing the trip information. More than 1,500 trips are currently logged on the Web site.

For more information, contact Jon Spinney, Esri (tel.: 909-793-2853, ext. 1-1900; e-mail:

Contact Us | Privacy | Legal | Site Map