Komoot just got better

Komoot is the best app for riding in Canberra, not least because of the great maps from OpenStreetMap. Komoot has released several long awaited features. One of the best features remains. Komoot is free, including an on-the-move smartphone route planning app and an excellent website. Give it a try.

Strava has now priced itself into the stratosphere. Strava has, however, a great feature: the privacy zone. Komoot now has this, too – just better.

Facebook, Strava and Komoot have something in common. They are a form of social media. Komoot previously had limited sharing options. These have now been extended.

Both these points are discussed in this post.

The power of GPS. This cat lives at 51 Johnstone Circuit in Tuggeranong.

I Know Where Your Cat Lives!

GPS is a nice feature of any smartphone but has created a few challenges with privacy. There was a time when GPS coordinates were saved into photos by default. People loved sitting at home taking photos of their cats which were then posted on Facebook. In this way, many have advertised their “I live here”, including celebrities.

Cats in Canberra. I Know Where Your Cat Lives website
Find your cat. Cats in Canberra. I Know Where Your Cat Lives website

With fitness tracking apps and devices, the GPS location information is also uploaded into the cloud. The GPS coordinates of the start and end points may show a person’s home. Shared publicly, the routes are most useful for thieves who know from the downloadable GPX tracks when you go running each day and where you live.

It was not long before Strava and others thought a privacy bubble was long overdue. Strava has a simple mechanism. It is possible to add an address and a circle around that address. The parts of any tracks that fall within that circle are not visible.

This is an improvement, particularly for a large circle of 1km. The method employs a perfect cut off, say 1km from a central point. It then does not take a lot of data to extrapolate the centre of the circle from the circumference. Should you have used your home address for this centre point, and Strava does not tell you not to, well, then your home address is known.

To be fair, Strava does not insist that the centre point is your home. The centre of the suburb could be used just as well and would tell the overly curious nothing about where you live.

Komoot at home

Komoot has a new privacy feature. It hides the data from public view around a central point to but does not use a circle like Strava but rather generates a randomised boundary. This boundary can be regenerated should it not be to your liking. The old days of not turning on the app near your home are over. It also makes one automatic feature more useful: video stories can be generated from the photos on your phone. The videos can now be shared without privacy concerns.

Be it your home, work or a family member’s house, set up privacy zones around addresses of your choice to keep the location of these places private to you. New/adjusted privacy zones will be applied to all completed Tours (both Tours you’ve done and those you do in the future. Planned Tours are unaffected).

Privacy Zones, Komoot
Putting a privacy zone around The Lodge, Privacy Zones, Komoot

Friends and followers

The old Komoot had pretty basic default account privacy settings: “public” and “private”. Each ride route, planned or uploaded, can be set individually to public or private as required. Public was really the only option. It was not uncommon to be “followed” by Russian brides.

Komoot account privacy default
Komoot account privacy default – “public” and “private”. Komoot.

Komoot now has more options. The routes that you plan or ride are called Tours in Komoot. These Tours can be grouped into Collections. Collections are more than a folder. They are designed to allow you to tell a story about longer rides that consist of multiple legs. Imaging riding on holidays for a week. The morning and afternoon routes for each day could be planned and documented with photos and text separately. The idea behind Komoot is to share the rides so others can search an area for suitable ride options.

Komoot planned and completed Tours default
Tours menu. Komoot planned and completed Tours default. Komoot.

The Tours menu has now three options: “only me”, “close friends” or “whoever can see my profile”. The “whoever can see my profile” is determined by the default account setting for privacy. Should that be set to “private” only your approved followers will see your account. “Close friends” are the Komoot equivalent of Facebook “friends”.

Komoot Collections default
Komoot Collections default

Collections have been given a separate setting to allow you to manage the visibility of the Tours that make up that collection.

Komoot on canberra.bike

Komoot has come up a few times on canberra.bike and you can read more here, here, and here.

Komoot route planner with OpenStreetMap showing community paths in green and black.
Komoot route planner with OpenStreetMap showing community paths in green and black.

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