I’ve wanted to produce this view of VeloViewer Explorer Tiles since I first came up with the idea back in 2015 and can only put my lack of action down to being too busy with the professional teams these last few years! Simple idea though: provide a KML output that can be viewed in Google Earth shows a tower for each ticked Explorer Tile with the height representing the number of times the tile has been visited on your travels.
It uses a new export button found on your Activities page. Make sure the Map is turned on along with either Max Square or Max Cluster and then click the map settings button:
Press that button and you’ll get a (possibly quite large) KML file. Then open up Google Earth Pro (the desktop version is best, and free, but also works in the mobile or web version) and open the KML file.
UPDATE: New “Flatten spikes” option added. Typically people have a really high concentration of visits to tiles in the immediate vicinity to where they live resulting in huge towers if the 3D KML file is viewed 1 to 1 (i.e. each tile visit results in the addition of a full height tile cube being stacked each time) as shown on the examples on this page. By default the KML file will flatten the towers by square-rooting the visit count which seems to result in a better view of the data. I tried logarithms first but they squashed the tall towers far too much. Uncheck the box to get an KML export with towers represented 1 to 1 as sown in this post.
An interesting exercise is visiting the Activities pages of people in the main VeloViewer leaderboards who have their VeloViewer data set to public and downloading/viewing their 3D KML files. A few examples…
The WorldTour Professional
A big thanks to Michał Kwiatowski for letting me share images of his data (it isn’t public in VeloViewer):
Multiple Tour de France routes are dramatically overshadowed by training rides at his home in the South of France, Mallorca, Calpe and Canary Islands in the distance. Although the 300km towering line from Milan to San Remo, home of his 2017 victory, also stands out pretty clearly:
The GB Max Squarer
In 2018 Jonathan France showed what can be done when he completed a 100×100 max square in a single year. Two clear masses of activity are accompanied by veins of exploration up to and around Scotland:
The Max Clusterer
The max cluster top position is currently held by Koos Woestenburg. The expanses of Dutch water make max squares particularly tricky so Koos has concentrated on expanding his max cluster from the northern tip of The Netherlands mainland right down to Liechtenstein’s capital of Vadus:
The Max Distance Death Star
Brian Toone has regularly topped the Strava distance charts and currently has over 1/4 million miles logged. But due to the number of rides completed close to home his largest tile visits of almost 5000 result in a tower of over 10,000 km in height: