Fitness AR, a new third-party app utilizing Strava. Credit: Wired

Strava is a social network for the active user, which posts activity from a hike or bike ride as a map to navigate and review. Maybe you’ve already made a few of your own posts if you own a Garmin or an Apple Watch. Strava is all about tracking and sharing workouts to give users a sense of accomplishment. Visualizing how hard you pushed yourself is a powerful motivator, and an upcoming breakthrough promises another way to show off your achievements.

Fitness AR utilizes the new development launching with Apple’s iOS 11, ARKit, to give users unique perspective on those hikes. Using Augmented Reality (AR), anyone can render their most recent excursion across the face of a table, the floor or anywhere else.

How it Works

Visualize your hikes and bike rides in a whole new way. Credit: Apple Insider

Fitness AR uses your device’s GPS to pinpoint you and can provide a variety of stats before during and after the hike. The Mapbox SDK (Software Development Kit) acts as the go-between, allowing iOS to track your geo-spatial data with a high degree of accuracy. Anyone who spends times in remote locations knows that’s not an easy task to accomplish.

You’ll see how far you travelled, how long that hike took you, and a visualization of the route you took. Users with an account can look at videos shared by those who’ve already walked those paths, or inspect maps to look closer at what kind of terrain they might encounter. With this new ARKit, you’ll be able to freely rotate the landscape for a closer look at any trail.

Once you’re on site, the app can do a lot more than track your hike. Holding up an iOS device will visualize pathways through trails in real time. Rotating the device will point out particular labels related to landmarks, which “stick” on screen so you can always orient yourself.

A hike at a locale like Joshua Tree, with its famous Boy Scout Trail, is a good example of what makes this app so fascinating. If you take this route, you’ll have to climb over one thousand feet in elevation across roughly 8 miles of terrain. Later, when you return home, you’ll be able to relive that experience with an incredible rendering of the terrain that tracks every twist and turn you made up the mountain. Combined with pictures from your trip taken on your phone, or with a camera, you have a powerful tool for creating memories of those journeys.

Small Details

Fitness AR gives you a unique perspective on your hikes. Credit: DCRainmaker

The app’s AR is very reactive, so try and keep your hand as steady as possible to avoid phone shaking. Terrain looks weird suspended in mid-air, so it’s best if you can place your AR map onto a table or some other surface.

If you don’t have a Strava account, you can still use the app but we strongly recommend you get an account for the best results. Especially because it’s free, and Fitness AR is designed to work hand-in-hand with the active social network.

Final Thoughts

We see a lot of potential here because hikes and bike rides are very social experiences. Even when you do one alone, you often meet with friends or family later to share your adventures. Having an app like Fitness AR gives you a cool new way to share those experiences. You can visually connect videos and photos you’ve taken with specific points on a map, telling friends particular landmarks to photograph or watch out for.

The Fitness AR app is available on the iOS store for $2.99, and requires iOS11 to function. Make sure your phone can handle that update.