Fog of World, imports

Played with Fog of World today, an iPhone app that turns GPS tracking into a game. It records where you go and then paints the map, “lifting the fog of war” in videogame style. It’s heavily gamified; lots of badges and stuff for exploring more of the world. I love the idea of this kind of thing, my previous experiments with mapping walks I took is in the same vein. Also GPS tracks for my private airplane flights.

The engineering is pretty good quality. It has very thoughtful import/export options, including a nice integration with Dropbox. Map rendering is pretty good. Plenty of care applied to battery management.

I’ve been running OpenPaths for years, recording my world travels. It took about 5 minutes to export that data to KML and import it to Fog of World and boom, I’m level 75 with a filled out passport. Unfortunately OpenPaths only records point locations every few minutes, not full paths, so I have a bunch of little speckles of revealed parts of India rather than a clear path on a trip. Fair enough.

I also imported my RunKeeper data from my old walks project. That gives much smoother paths. The display is still kinda janky though, if I were building this app I’d give paths more width and smoothing. That or else try to do some scalable measure, where if I’m looking at a whole country map I see all of the Bay Area filled in, but then I can zoom in for more detail.

Update: this app seems to be killing my battery. The usage monitor in iOS only shows it using 20-30% of my energy, but having it running is the difference between  a 5% battery in the morning vs a 60% battery. At least I thinks it is.

I’m trying Strut now, a similar thing, but much more heavily focussed on competition. Also no import / export :-( But it is free. (Update 2: it’s even harder on the battery than Fog of World). Also while researching all this I found a nice comparison of Fog of War v1 vs v2.

Screenshot below, compare to this map

Photo Apr 05, 10 35 49.png