Is the strava app accurate with a smart phone?

Forums Mountain Bike Forum Is the strava app accurate with a smart phone?


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    • #123608

      I downloaded strava a few weeks ago onto a galaxy s4. I have logged 4 rides but the mileage it records is about 20% less then what my bike computer records. Is anyone else having this issue? I love the features of the app. But I don’t feel I’m getting my rides logged accurately.

    • #123609

      This is not unusual for any gps track. Your bike computer is measuring distance by the circumference of your wheel, while gps is laying down points at some determined rate (every 1, 10, 30 seconds) depending on the setting of your unit. I have mine set for 1 sec. intervals and it’s not unusual for me to lose 10% in distance. Anything that effects accuracy can round off a lot of switch backs. Convert your track from .gpx to .kml and plot on Google Earth to see the errors.

    • #123610

      Thanx for the reply. That makes sense. I haven’t been able to find a way for adjust the gps settings on my phone and I may not be able to. I think for now I’m going to record my rides from my bike and just use strava for fun. I may look into a better gps system because I would like to have my times to be as accurate as possible on strava.

    • #123611

      I sometimes have my handheld GPS with me in addition to using Strava on my phone and they rarely matchup. I usually end up with slightly more mileage from Stava.

      sent from my Galaxy Note 3

    • #123612

      One thing I have noticed is if for some reason, like heavy tree cover, you lose gps signal, Strava will draw a straight line between your last and next points. This can definitely shorten a route!

    • #123613
      "cptredbeard" wrote

      I haven’t been able to find a way for adjust the gps settings on my phone and I may not be able to.

      I’m not a Strava user, but usually these settings are in the app’s settings and not the phone’s. Dig around in Strava’s settings to see if you can find a way to decrease the time between pings.

    • #123614

      There are always errors present in GPS data. As some have mentioned, each time your app/unit records a location, that location has some error associated with it. Think of your GPS location not as a point but a circle where your actual location is somewhere inside that circle. The size of that circle varies depending on a number of factors and it can grow or shrink throughout the course of the ride.

      As it’s also been stated, the frequency of point recording plays a role. If you’re riding a trail with a lot of twists and turns and your GPS only records your position every 30 seconds, it’s simply drawing a straight line between the current point and the last one which misses a lot of the distance you actually covered. If this is the case, you’ll see it in the map the app/device produces–lots of blocky, straight segments instead of nice, smooth curves.

      Ok, so speaking of Strava specifically: In my opinion, Strava is just as accurate as any app or GPS device I’ve used. But it’s not perfect (no GPS app or device can be due to the reasons mentioned above). This past weekend Leah and I went for a jog and we had Strava tracking on our phones (both iPhone 5s). At the end of the run, I had clocked 6.6 miles and Leah had 6.4 miles. And both phones were sitting in the BOB stroller I was pushing!

      When measuring official race courses for big road races (10Ks, Marathons, etc.), certifying officials use a wheeled measuring device that works the same way as a bike computer because it’s much more accurate than GPS. There are countless potential errors in this method as well (tire inflation variations, wheels leaving the ground [woot!], calibration) but it’s possible to control many of these.

      I do think it’s unusual for a GPS or app to be off by 20% from a cycling computer so I would definitely look into that. One way to improve tracking on your smartphone is to make sure wi-fi, network data, and GPS are all turned on during your ride.

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