MSN used to host a pretty popular HealthVault app called RouteTracker. The idea was pretty simple — apply your real world activity to a “virtual trip” anywhere on the globe. The app let you follow your progress on an interactive map, view local news and pictures, and so on. It also had some basic competition features, so you could “race” your friends from point to point.
It was pretty cool — for example, check out the blog about my trip from Disneyland to Disneyworld. It’s surprising how motivating just a little fun can be. But MSN has been redesigned like a hundred times since RT launched; eventually it no longer fit in with the site’s focus and disappeared.
I’ve mourned the loss for a long time … so a couple weeks ago, I finally decided to do something about it. You see, the original idea for RouteTracker came from my entry in a HealthVault employee competition we ran way back in 2008, just after we launched the service. My app was simpler, and nobody is going to give me any design awards, but all the essential pieces were there.
So I dug back into the archives, found the code and acquired a license from Microsoft, did some quick repair work, and … voila, GetFit RoadTrip was (re)-born!
I’ve already started my newest trip — I’m travelling from the Real Alcazar in Seville to The Alhambra in Grenada — two of my family’s favorite places from our trip to Spain last summer, with 168 miles in between.
I hope you’ll try your own RoadTrip … and then share your progress on Facebook or Twitter so I can cheer you on, and maybe steal a cool route or two for myself.
Saddle up and get started here!
PS. One annoying thing I’d like to fix … long-distance routes often get mapped to super-highways, and in many parts of the world the scenery along those is far less interesting than on smaller roads. The maps API I’m using is pretty old and it looks like this is doable now … so will get on that soon.