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Strava (Strava on Wikipedia) is a website and mobile app (for Android and for iOS) used to track athletic activity via GPS. Its headquarters are located in San Francisco, California, USA.

Most popular activities tracked are cycling, running and hiking. The Strava dataset contains 3 trillion latitude/longitude points from 1 billion activities with a total distance of 27 billion km. [1]

Use of OpenStreetMap

Strava is introducing use of OpenStreetMap gradually, replacing google maps. They are using a "terrain" style rendered and hosted by Mapbox.

  • Static maps (the small thumbnail map images) both on the web and within the mobile apps have used OpenStreetMap since early 2014
  • Slippy maps on the web have switched from Google Maps to OpenStreetMap mid 2015. Slippy maps in the Android and iPhone apps are not switched yet, the 2019-10 announcement was only about the static snapshots.
  • Routing, and the "route builder" is based off OSM data.

Global Heatmap

Zoomed in on Nottingham cycle paths. from a blog post comparing the data
This shows the new Strava heatmap layer in JOSM in the Gbamgbama area, Sierra Leone. Red lines are already existing mapped in roads, green "lines" are from Strava heatmap data.

Strava's Global Heatmap website:

Data Permission - Allowed for tracing!

OpenStreetMap users have permission (reconfirmed in November 2019) to use Strava heatmap data for tracing into OSM only. For all other non-personal uses, including tracing into other datasets, please contact Strava Metro.

The data is available on a purchasable license basis, so it is great that Strava allows the data to be used free of charge for the purposes of improving OpenStreetMap (similar agreements exist with aerial imagery providers). Please be aware that this is a great tool to find missing paths, but that the presence of heatmap lines does not necessarily mean that access on that location is legal for the general public. Also specification for the mode of transport can be incorrect in some cases (such as lines for cycling over large bodies of non-frozen water)

Global Heatmap in Low Resolution

Inside editors:

  • Strava Slide iD fork gives access to these GPS tracks and provides a clever tool (Slide add-on) to iteratively refine a way geometry and optimize its alignment with the GPS heat data.

  • For's iD: You could paste the URLs into the "custom" entry (only one possible at a time) of the background settings. To find out the correct URLs: see the part between <url> and </url> on the JOSM list and append ?px=256 at the end. Examples:
    • https://heatmap-external-{switch:a,b,c}{zoom}/{x}/{y}.png?px=256
    • https://heatmap-external-{switch:a,b,c}{zoom}/{x}/{y}.png?px=256
  • For JOSM: The Strava Global Heatmap (Low Resolution) has been added to the JOSM imagery list, and can be activated through the preferences. Here are the strava entries on JOSM's internal list for reference.

Further ideas: There might also be some possibility to use That Shouldnt Be Possible to find missing roads or cycle tracks, and add the missing tracks as challenges on MapRoulette.

If you have a question regarding editing with the heatmap, please ask at for example (search for old, similar questions before). If you run into technical issues with these addresses (e.g. server/DNS error), please mail maps -at-

Global Heatmap in High Resolution

In order to use Global Heatmap in High Resolution you first have to create a Strava account. User Davide_sd posted this TMS layer entry to add in your imagery presets in JOSM:

  • tms[3,15]:https://heatmap-external-{switch:a,b,c}{zoom}/{x}/{y}.png?Key-Pair-Id=MYVALUE&Signature=MYVALUE&Policy=MYVALUE

If using iD, you can use this link as a custom background:

  • https://heatmap-external-{switch:a,b,c}{zoom}/{x}/{y}.png?Key-Pair-Id=MYVALUE&Signature=MYVALUE&Policy=MYVALUE

After logging in using a browser, retrieve and replace the MYVALUE items with appropriate cookie values for the following:

  • CloudFront-Key-Pair-Id
  • CloudFront-Policy
  • CloudFront-Signature

To get these values: On Firefox, press Shift+F9. On Chrome, paste this your URL bar: chrome://settings/cookies/detail?

Replace also the elements ACTIVITY and COLOR with the available options:

    • run
    • ride
    • both
    • winter
    • water
    • all
  • COLOR:
    • blue
    • red
    • bluered
    • purple

NOTE: the cookies will expire in aproximately one week. After that, you need to repeat the whole process in order to keep using the high resolution Strava Heatmaps in iD / JOSM.

Routing Error Reports

Routing errors reported by Strava users can be viewed on a slippy map that has OpenStreetMap as a base layer. This could be used as a "check list" for mappers to investigate potential problems and correct them based on usual sources (like checking the location on-the-ground).


Strava have an API. Most of the information available relates to a specific user or their friends and so requires login through a Strava account.

See also


  1. “Strava Labs”. Retrieved 2020-09-10.