Strava: Calculating the Similarity of Two Runs
Strava: Calculating the Similarity of Two Runs
Interested in seeing just how similar (or different) two paths/routes are? You might not be Dr. Who after this post, but you'll be one step closer to becoming a Time Lord.
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I go running several times a week and wanted to compare my runs against each other to see how similar they are.
I record my runs with the Strava app and it has an API that returns lat/long coordinates for each run in the Google encoded polyline algorithm format.
We can use the polyline library to decode these values into a list of lat/long tuples. For example:

Once we’ve got the route defined as a set of coordinates we need to compare them. My Googling led me to an algorithm called Dynamic Time Warping:
DTW is a method that calculates an optimal match between two given sequences (e.g. time series) with certain restrictions.
The sequences are “warped” nonlinearly in the time dimension to determine a measure of their similarity independent of certain nonlinear variations in the time dimension.
The fastdtw library implements an approximation of this library and returns a value indicating the distance between sets of points.
We can see how to apply fastdtw and polyline against Strava data in the following example:

Now let’s try it out on two runs, 1361109741 and 1346460542:

These two runs are both near my house so the value is small. Let’s change the second route to be from my trip to New York:

Much bigger!
I’m not really interested in the actual value returned but I am interested in the relative values. I’m building a little application to generate routes that I should run and I want it to come up with a routes that are different to recent ones that I’ve run. This score can now form part of the criteria.
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Published at DZone with permission of Mark Needham , DZone MVB. See the original article here.
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