Randy Troppmann is an Edmonton multimedia developer and an avid runner. He’s also well on his way to becoming something of a household name among joggers.
Getting over 20,000 visitors a month, Troppmann’s new website runningmap.com uses licensed content from Yahoo Maps in an innovative application designed to help runners, hikers, and walkers measure distances along their favourite trails, anywhere in the world.
So if you’ve ever felt like you’ve run 10 miles, you can punch in your coordinates or street address and get the precise distance and elevation, either in street maps or satellite images. Just don’t be surprised if you’ve only run one mile. Troppmann says he once mapped in his favorite path in St. Albert to find it was one km shorter than he thought.
The 41-year-old web developer and graphic designer began creating runningmap.com four years ago, putting in about 100 evening and weekend hours. Online mapping technology that came to the web around 2005 enabled him to perfect it. Previously, runners who wanted this sort of technology would have had to invest in expensive GPS watches. Troppmann’s site, on the other hand, is free. He sees it as particularly useful for athletes who need some way to measure precise distances — for example, those training for a marathon.
Some 8,000 routes have so far been saved on the site by vistors. Troppmann plans eventually to add unobtrusive web-based advertising, but the mapping and route planning technology will remain free. Future dreams include a database to search user’s routes and log times, and a rating system to help runners pick the best path.
In the meantime, he’ll run an Edmonton marathon this August. If you want to catch up with him, though, you’d better get some good shoes; he’s definitely a high-achiever. He has a degree in visual communication design, has worked as a graphic artist for the University of Alberta, and for COMPRU, a medical unit specializing in head and neck reconstruction, as an Anaplastologist, custom making facial prostheses. He’s currently a Flash developer at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology in Edmonton, while also maintaining a freelance career.
In amusing trivia: Troppmann recently completed an online quiz entitled “Which superhero are you?” The result was strangely apropos both his day job and his life as a runner. The answer? Troppmann is The Flash.