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If I had to name one thing that I love about the latest advancements in technology and the Internet, it’s the integration of GPS technology with web and mobile applications.
Here at MUO, we’ve covered a number of cool mobile GPS apps, like my article about the geocaching adventure I went on with my kids, our coverage of Google Maps Navigation, and Evan’s awesome article on using GPS to locate a lost phone. When it comes to going on adventures, either a mountain biking or a hiking trip, or any other type of adventure where you’d like to track your route and share your GPS adventures, there are lots of choices. You’ve got the GPS Mobile Tracker Evan covered or of course Google Latitude as well.
Many of the tracker apps today let you save the entire route as a GPX file, consisting of GPS “waypoints” that map out your trip. But what do you do once you’ve saved all of these routes? Wouldn’t it be cool to turn that data into a documented record of your adventure, complete with pictures and video? This is exactly what Breadcrumbs can help you do.
Breadcrumbs Lets You Document & Share Your Tracks
The name of this web-based application makes sense, because you’re basically taking a GPX plot of waypoints that outlines your entire route, and you’re elaborating on the experiences you had with “breadcrumbs” of media, comments and more. It’s a very cool way to not only show people where you’ve been, but also what you saw along the way.
You do need to sign up for a free account using your email address. Once you have an account, you can immediately start importing either GPX files from your various mobile tracking apps, or data from your Garmin GPS device.
The application basically integrates the overlapping layers of data with Google Earth imagery. To start documenting and sharing your travels, just click on one of those two buttons (GPX or Garmin) at the top menu. To demonstrate this web-based app, I took a walk down my long driveway and let the MyTrails mobile app (Android, iPhone) record the walking route with about 25 waypoints. When I was done, I saved the GPX file to my PC and then clicked the GPX import button in Breadcrumbs. Here’s what my route initially looked like.
The import wizard takes you through a number of steps where you describe the route and add information that you may want to share with the people you’ll be sending the trip to. Making the route public lets you share a URL with anyone, and they can see all of the details right on the Breadcrumbs website.
If you took any photos or video during your trip, make sure to upload that media as you step through the wizard. The coolest thing about Breadcrumbs is that it can recognize the GPS coordinates of a photo or video if it was captured with a camera that is enabled to geo-tag media (many of the latest ones can do that). Breadcrumbs will automatically place those photos on the map where they were taken.
Once you’re done, you’ll see your route marked out with a start and end point and your media files listed in the bottom pane. Your different imported tracks are stored in your account under the category that you defined for it.
Some of the information under “Track Details” comes from what you entered during the import process, but a lot of it comes directly from the GPX or Garmin data, depending on how much information the app you used captured during the trip.
You’ll see statistics like total distance traveled, speed traveled, the time of the trip, elevation and much more. After returning from a hiking trip, some of these details are pretty cool to review. You can also click on the “Chart” tab in the bottom pane to see a plot of elevation and speed over the length of the trip.
You can elaborate along your route with comments, using a sticky note. Or you can add markers like where you stopped to camp, a point of interest and more.
If your media isn’t automatically geotagged, just drag the photo or video onto the map itself and Breadcrumbs will automatically geotag the photo for you, using those coordinates. You will need to zoom out a little because the high-zoom view doesn’t always allow attaching media like this.
Switch into “edit” mode to modify your tracked route by clicking on “Edit” and selecting “Edit Track” from the top menu. Now you can grab waypoints and move them wherever you want. Or just click to delete the ones that you don’t want to include.
Once you’re done editing and adding media and notes to your route, you’re ready to share it out. Just use one of the three share buttons to pick the method you want to use. “Share” just gives you a URL you can send to friends, or you can use Facebook and Twitter to distribute your adventure that way.
Do you use any GPS apps that exports GPX files? Give this cool GPS track editor a try and document some of the cool trips you’ve gone on. Let us know what you think of Breadcrumbs and whether you know of any other similar online track editing tools in the comments section below.