Top 8 Apps to Share Locations of Racers and Promote Adventure Events

by Stephen Schroeder - Jun 02, 2017 Category: Turtler in Action
GPS Tracking for Employees and Business

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GPS tracking apps are great, if you plan the trip on your own or if you are organizing a simple hiking trip. For all those who want for their adventures to be accessible in real-time as well as for outdoor adventure organizers, who have to track all participants in real time, and who want to show their event to the world.

With specialized tracking solutions, outdoor adventure organizers can track all participants, share their event with the world, enable fans to track individual users and give the fans a way to see a replay of the event.

They can be used for tracking outdoor adventures, hiking marathons, ultramarathons, triathlons, individual outdoor adventures, cycling races (both mountain bike and road races), and other types of outdoor sports events. Professional tracking solutions can show events online, where users and fans can track and see every detail of the event, positions of all participants as well as elevation, average speed, and other details.

Professional tracking solutions allow for organizers to broadcast their events, to promote their events to the general public, to enable followers and fans to track the event in real-time and to enable communication between participants and followers.

There are many different tracking platforms, but they all offer GPS tracking via specialized GPS tracking devices, or via mobile apps. The majority of platforms support SPOT tracking devices, which will be presented next, followed by the most popular sports tracking solutions.

1. SPOT GPS Trackers

Trackers use GPS to track your movement when you are out in the wild and can be used to track participants of outdoor sports events, like ultramarathons, endurance events, hiking marathons, and other outdoor sport event types. Also, they can be used by individual users to track their route and to help them stay in contact with their friends and family by sending them messages containing their location so their loved ones can track their position on Google Maps.

SPOT trackers are especially interesting because they transmit their location data via the satellite networks, which for some use cases is a disadvantage, but in the case of race and event tracking is mostly a non-issue. 

They are an excellent tool for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts because they work anywhere, can send and track coordinates, support SOS emergency signalling to notify local response teams in case of trouble, and because they can work for days without the need for changing batteries.

SPOT offers two types of tracking devices – SPOT Trace and SPOT Gen3.

The Spot Trace and Spot Gen3 GPS tracking and transmitting devices
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The Spot Trace and Spot Gen3 GPS tracking and transmitting devices

SPOT Trace is a simple GPS tracker that can be used for tracking assets as well as for tracking participants of outdoor events. The device is light, rugged, and extremely reliable and is an excellent solution for ultramarathons and other outdoor events such as endurance events and triathlons because the device is relatively light and can provide regular position updates.

SPOT Gen3 is an advanced tracker supporting GPS tracking, SOS emergency response, regular check-ins with just one push of a button, as well as custom messages that can be sent to select contacts. The device is used in longer events that can last for days or weeks, events where partakers may get into trouble and where they can’t communicate with team members, followers, friends, and family.

With GPS trackers and the right tracking solutions outdoor events can be followed in real-time, viewers can track each contestant individually, managers can track all participants, and they can promote their events by enabling fans to watch them as they take place.

GPS Event Tracking Solutions

Having a GPS tracker isn’t enough, though, if you want your event to be followed by fans, watched in real time, and promoted: you need to use a more advanced GPS event tracking and broadcasting solution.

There are dozens of companies offering GPS event tracking, but in this article, we’ll show the most popular ones, present their offerings and list pros and cons of each solution shown. Let's go!

2. MAProgress

MAProgress is a New Zealand-based company offering “live GPS tracking for outdoor sporting events and adventures” available both for professional and recreational outdoor events.

With MAProgress you can share your event with the whole world, promote it via social channels by enabling a live broadcast via the MAProgress website and more. The company provides tracking software, tracking devices, and a mobile tracking app that can work on most iOS and Android devices. All events – the past, current, and upcoming - can be checked out on their website.

There are lots of events covered by MAProgress, you can view them all on their event page. The company offers a solid event app in which followers and fans can track individual participants as well as teams, can view the event in real time, and can replay past events.

MAProgress broadcasting application view
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MAProgress broadcasting application view

The app is pretty solid; it is fast and responsive offering lots of features. The app uses Google Maps, can show map and satellite layers, and if you want you can watch the event on Google Earth!

There is an elevation graph, you can follow each and every individual participant or a team. There is a favorites option so viewers can focus on their favorite contestants, and if that’s not enough the advanced view option will bombard you with different options such as route details, time splits, and graphs.

Even individuals can broadcast their adventures via MAProgress, but the app won’t show as many details. You’ll see checkpoints, automated text messages, campsites, and more, but won’t be able to track the adventurer in real-time.

Overall MAProgress is an excellent live GPS tracking solution that should be checked out, especially if you are new to the world of outdoor sports activities and want to organize one but don’t have experience with outdoor sporting events and adventures. MAProgress can supply your event with software and hardware and will broadcast it via the company’s app.

Pros

  • MAProgress provides both software and hardware
  • Great for professional and recreational events
  • The broadcasting app is highly detailed offering lots of features
  • The company already provided support for many different outdoor events

Cons

  • The company is based in New Zealand so renting hardware (GPS trackers) might be problematic for events taking place across the globe
  • The app won’t show as many details, depending on the event type

3. Tracktherace

Tracktherace is another platform enabling in-depth coverage of various outdoor sports events. The site is pretty informative and easy to navigate. You can see which events Tracktherace can cover and which services the platform can provide. You can download a PDF file here containing all the details in which you can find out what Tracktherace is, which services you can get, and how the company is organizing the GPS tracking.

Tracktherace can provide live coverage on their website alongside which organizers can show sponsors, all the information regarding the event as well as Facebook and Twitter integration. The company allows organizers to embed Flickr galleries and YouTube playlists to the gallery of the event, enabling fans and followers to check out the event details. Fans and followers can even send messages to participants, giving them motivation and much-needed support.

Tracktherace application view has a nice layout
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Tracktherace application view has a nice layout

Of course, the platform includes an app for broadcasting and replaying the event. Their player is easy to use, has a solid number of features, and is easier to use than MAProgress’ app. You can enable or disable various layers, such as messages or participants, there’s a favorite option enabling fans to follow their favorite contestants but sadly there’s no elevation graph. The viewers can choose between satellite and terrain view as well as IGN map. Overall, the app is very nicely done, very intuitive, and can show lots of different details.

Pros:

  • The platform provides both software and hardware for GPS tracking and live broadcast
  • The broadcasting app features excellent design and is very easy to use
  • Lots of details can be shown on the broadcasting app
  • Some nice additional features like the messaging option or the option to embed Flickr galleries and YouTube playlists into the web page
  • The company will provide a web page for a full coverage of the event
  • Social network (Facebook and Twitter) integration

Cons:

  • As we can tell, almost all the events are placed in Spain, so we aren’t sure can Tracktherace provide support for events placed outside of Spain, or outside Europe
  • No elevation graph in the broadcasting app

4. Tractalis

Tractalis is a relatively new startup from Germany. The company offers full coverage events, providing software as well as hardware (GPS trackers). Although Tractalis doesn’t provide a website for the event, their broadcasting app supports all popular browsers, operating systems (both desktop and mobile) and the company has mobile apps for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone so fans and viewers can easily watch an event from their mobile devices.

As for the broadcasting player, it is easy to use, there are lots of map layer choices (we were pleasantly surprised to see the National Geographic map layer, which is very detailed, and a great map option for outdoor sports events). There is an elevation graph, but there is only a small number of options regarding participants. If the event is live you can see positions, and there is real-time coverage, but the replay feature is pretty limited.

The Tractalis app has interesting features and an informative layout
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The Tractalis app has interesting features and an informative layout

There’s no replay option, which is present in most other live GPS tracking and coverage solutions. You can’t follow the actual race, you can only see the map along with the route and participants.

The player offers nice social network coverage, there’s a Twitter and Facebook tab on the right showing posts and tweets, but the lack of a replay feature really hurts Tractalis. Overall, the platform is solid for live event coverage, just don’t expect for fans and viewers to have the option to watch events after they are finished. Also, the interface can get clunky; when you turn on participants, elevation and social tabs the window becomes overcrowded and tough to navigate.

Pros:

  • The platform provides both software and hardware for GPS tracking and live broadcast
  • Solid broadcasting app
  • There are lots of different map layers
  • The company will provide promotional videos for each event

Cons:

  • No replay option found in the broadcasting app
  • The mobile app has a less than stellar review score
  • The map of the event can become hard to navigate when all side tabs are turned on

5. TraxmeetRaceLive

Traxmeet is a company providing a multitude of services. Aside from an activity monitoring meter and a fitness service the company also offers live tracking of outdoor sports events in the form of RaceLive. RaceLive is a platform that incorporates live tracking, broadcasting, social media coverage and the option for supplying hardware in the form of their GTS-200 tracking device.

There are lots of events supported by RaceLive and we can say that the platform is great for orienteering events. Other event types might not be the right choice when it comes to RaceLive since the platform doesn’t offer Google Maps or Bing Maps integration, we saw only terrain, orienteering and topographic maps that cover just the event’s surroundings so fans and viewers can only see the area on which the event takes place.

The RaceLive presentation style comes with a learning curve
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The RaceLive presentation style comes with a learning curve

Also, the platform is targeted toward professional events since the maps aren’t easy to navigate. You can see the placement of checkpoints as well as live tracking of participants, but maps are hard to follow if you are a casual viewer who wants to follow a certain event.

As for the player, it supports replay functions, as well as a participants tab, but there’s no messaging option or social integrations. Luckily there is the elevation tab but only for certain events. Also, the broadcasting app supports full-screen mode. Overall, it is excellent for people who know what they are looking at, but newbies will have to spend some time getting used to the maps.

Overall, RaceLive is a solid platform for live GPS outdoor event tracking, but the lack of Google Maps, OSM, or Bing Maps integration will make hard for the events to reach a broad audience.

Pros:

  • The platform provides both software and hardware for GPS tracking and live broadcast
  • The player supports replay function
  • Solid number of features that can be found in the broadcasting app
  • The platform covered a ton of past events

Cons:

  • No Google Maps, OSM, or Bing Maps integration
  • No option to choose different map layers
  • The platform is targeted towards professionals
  • At the moment the company is covering just races taking place in Europe

6. Trackleaders

Trackleaders is a live GPS tracking solution that specializes in outdoor trails events taking place in North America. The company offers coverage of some of the North America’s most popular trails: Appalachian Trail, Continental Divide Trail, Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, Arizona Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, TeAraroa Trail, and Colorado Trail. This is excellent news for amateurs since they can get their adventures tracked for free if they plan on having an adventure on some of the supported trails.

As a live tracking outdoor sports platform Trackleaders is perfect for amateur events, but professionals should also consider Trackleaders. The downsides of the platform are that there is no social network integration and the company doesn’t offer setting up a website of the event. Everything else is there, so even professional event organizers can use Trackleaders as their go-to live GPS tracking solution.

The Trackleaders app is robust and relatively user friendly
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The Trackleaders app is robust and relatively user friendly

The site shows active trackers, the past, future, and events happening right now, and the company offers both software and hardware (SPOT GPS trackers). The broadcasting player looks rudimentary but in fact provides lots of features such as replay option, fullscreen mode, elevation graph, multiple map layers, Google Maps integration, favorites feature, and more. The map is easy to navigate, you can follow your favorites, see checkpoints, and view events from start to finish.

Overall, Trackleaders looks like a pretty good live outdoor sports GPS tracking solution. The company covers trail marathons, air races, ultramarathons, and other types of outdoor sports events. The player is solid, easy to use, and it offers a fairly rich number of features along with Google Maps integration.

Pros:

  • Amateurs can use Trackleaders for free if they plan on having an outdoor adventure on some of the supported trails and if they own a SPOT or Delorme GPS tracking device
  • The platform organized a large number of events in the past
  • The platform provides both software and hardware for GPS tracking and live broadcast
  • Broadcasting app offers a solid number of features

Cons:

  • The site design could be improved
  • Broadcasting player can look pretty rudimentary at first sight

7. TracTrac

Another quality option is TracTrac, a professional live GPS tracking and broadcasting platform that supports both single and club events. TracTrac supports multiple types of outdoor events, and orienteering and sailing club events.

The company was founded in 2005 and since then TracTrac has covered more than 19,000 races spanning 52 countries. The platform is a perfect GPS live tracking solution for professionals. At the event page, you can see all past, present, and future events. You can search the events by type, and the page is very easy to navigate and to find the exact event you are looking for. There’s also a page showing club events (orienteering and sailing).

The TracTrac app has a great presentation and features
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The TracTrac app has a great presentation and features

TracTrac offers both software and hardware for the event, and the company has mobile apps for Android and iOS, giving fans and viewers an easy way to follow events. There’s also a safety benefit when using TracTrac, especially for sailing events, since the platform offers a live overview of whereabouts of all participants, as well as SOS alarm feature that sends a notification to organizers immediately case of trouble.

The player supports replay mode, favorites option, multiple map layers, full-screen mode, and an elevation graph that shows the position of all participants and more. It is a bit hard to navigate, but once you get a hang of it, the player shows its true potential, making it probably the best event player of them all, at least compared to other platforms we showed. Also, the player won’t show any social network tab, since TracTrac offers integration of the player on event websites

Overall, TracTrac is a superb live outdoor sports events GPS tracking solution, aimed towards professional events. And the only downside we can find is that, if you are an organizer of an amateur event, TracTrac might be too expensive for you, it is better to look at other tracking solutions we presented in this list.

Pros:

  • Excellent website
  • Easy to get informed about TracTrac’s live coverage offers
  • Suitable both for single events and for club competitions
  • The platform offers coverage of multiple events (leagues)
  • Excellent player with lots of features
  • Android and iOS mobile apps
  • No social (Twitter and Facebook) tabs

Cons:

  • The platform is aimed towards professional event organizers
  • The player is a bit hard to navigate, but after a while, you’ll get a hang of it

8. Turtler

Last but not least, our own app, Turtler, is being developed with adventure event promotion in mind. When launched soon it will enable individuals and groups to share their locations with each other, within their groups, and with the public. For event organisers, it will enable them to show a public map of the participants on the map, special services on the map, and even place the map or multiple maps on their own websites.

Turtler aims to be the preferred choice among all competing apps for this niche, so watch this space!