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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 13 trillion latitude/longitude points from over 1 billion activities with a total distance of 27 billion km.[1] The heatmap shows data from the last year and is updated monthly.[2]

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.

There is also the strava-map-switcher browser extension that extends the Strava website with more detailed and/or recent maps (, Freemap Slovakia, MTB map Europe, …).

Global Heatmap

information sign

Strava heatmap was recently changed, requiring any uses to be logged into In order to use it, you first have to create an account there and be logged in.
Zoomed in on Nottingham cycle paths. from a blog post comparing the data
Strava heatmap layer in JOSM in the Gbamgbama area, Sierra Leone. Red lines are already mapped roads, green "lines" are from Strava heatmap data.

Strava's Global Heatmap website:

(If the heatmap does not show after logging in, set a location at and the map will appear.)

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 the type of activity for some Strava tracks might be incorrectly specified (e.g., cycling tracks over large bodies of non-frozen water).

Global Heatmap in High Resolution

Browser Extension


Global Heatmap in High Resolution is available to registered users of Strava. Thus, you first have to create a Strava account. (This allows the retrieval of values to insert to replace 'MYVALUE' in the addresses below.)

In JOSM, a TMS layer of Strava high-resolution heatmap can be added in the Imagery menu as follows:

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

In iD, you can use the following link as a custom background:

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

For other software modifications to this link may be necessary. For example for use in QGIS, it works to add a TMS service using the address:

Retrieving 'MYVALUE' for the above addresses

After logging in to using a browser, you then have to 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 in your URL bar: chrome://settings/cookies/detail?, or while the site is opened, press F12, switch to the Application menu and retrieve the values from Cookies under the Storage section. On Safari, make sure the Develop menu (Settings->Advanced) is enabled and then choose "Show Web Inspector" and retrieve the values from Cookies under the Storage tab.

Choosing values for ACTIVITY and COLOR for the above addresses

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

    • run
    • ride
    • winter
    • water
    • all
  • COLOR:
    • blue
    • bluered
    • purple
    • hot
    • gray
Additional notes

A python utility is available to automate this process in JOSM: stravaheatmap.

The values from the cookies will expire in approximately one week. After that, you need to repeat the whole process in order to keep using the high resolution Strava Heatmaps in your editor.

If you have a question regarding editing with the heatmap, please ask OSM community 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-

Python Script

There is a Python script that can receive command line arguments (Activity, Color, Resolution, Prefix, Server) to build a dynamic TMS URL. The source code can be found on GitHub.

Global Heatmap in Low Resolution

Strava heatmap in low resolution is not sufficiently detailed to be used for tracing into OSM. It might indicate where to find missing roads or cycle tracks.

In 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.

For iD editor, 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

Source Tag

Many different source=* tags are used but the common ones are:



source=Strava Heatmap

Strava Slide

information sign

Strava Slide iD fork gives access to 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.

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 has 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 2021-11-28. 
  2. "Strava Metro and the Global Heatmap". Strava. Retrieved 2022-08-26.
  3. The extension was announced by its creator in the Community Forum on 2023-06-27.