- new GPS tracking system for marathon swims

evmoevmo SydneyAdmin
edited July 2018 in Resources

Ever wondered why the SPOT Tracker page only shows the last 50 trackpoints?
Wished you could compare a live track to the intended route line?
Tried to estimate time to finish based on previous speed?
Searched through the NOAA site to find current conditions in a particular location - wind, waves, water temp ...

If so, please check out, my GPS tracking app - built for marathon swims, but also potentially useful for ultra runs, long paddles, & other endurance activities. Compatible with SPOT, DeLorme, iPhone, iPad, and Android.

This is the latest iteration of a project I've been developing for a little over a year. Some of you may recall an earlier version, launched last fall for a few SBCSA swims. Since then I've re-coded it from the ground up for increased reliability, slicker design, and a bunch of new features:

  • live marine weather data & charts
  • multi-participant event tracking
  • progress bar with estimated time to finish
  • much larger map area
  • adjustable time zone (GMT or local time)

Full disclosure: the service is not free (though, I hope, quite affordable for most). This is modest compensation for the substantial work I put into it. There are three service tiers, depending on the degree of customization and privacy you want (Basic, Custom, and Private).

All SBCSA swimmers will get service for free, included in the sanction fee.

Feel free to ask any questions here, or PM me.

PS... If this post slightly violates the Forum's usual policies on commercial postings, and it probably does, I apologize. (Co-founder's prerogative?) Hopefully the offer of free Basic service to active Forum members, is sufficient atonement.



  • I'm really interested in this. I sent an email via the contact form
    Bob Singer
    Event Director
    Lake George Marathon Swim

  • IronMikeIronMike Northern VirginiaCharter Member

    This is awesome. Issyk Kul is coming up and I gots me a SpotGen. ;)


    We're all just carbon, water, starlight, oxygen and dreams

  • IronMikeIronMike Northern VirginiaCharter Member
    edited May 2016

    Initial questions @evmo:
    1) Are those fees annual or one-time?
    2) What happens to the data after 30 days? (looking at Custom)


    We're all just carbon, water, starlight, oxygen and dreams

  • evmoevmo SydneyAdmin
    edited May 2016

    1) Are those fees annual or one-time?

    Per individual event (solo or relay). Each event takes me a little time to set up - plugging in the basic swim info, route coordinates, estimated start time, tracker ID, setting up the custom URL etc.

    2) What happens to the data after 30 days? (looking at Custom)

    I export the data and give it to you (and/or put it on the MSF Tracks database, if you want!). That just means the page won't be live anymore after 30 days, taking up bandwidth on the server.

  • IronMikeIronMike Northern VirginiaCharter Member

    Thanks @evmo. I'll take advantage of this for my swim in July.


    We're all just carbon, water, starlight, oxygen and dreams

  • Kevin_in_MDKevin_in_MD Senior Member

    Interesting juxtaposition with shutting down. I hope your service does well EVMO.

  • evmoevmo SydneyAdmin
    edited September 2016

    Thanks Kevin.

    From the myAthleteLive post:

    While we still believe in the concept of live athlete tracking for spectators, simply put the amount of business required to make it a profitable business never materialized.

    LOL - that's been my expectation all along. This project is motivated primarily from an interest in developing technology, and making marathon swims more fun and interesting to watch from afar.

    I hope marathon swimmers will use it, mostly because I enjoy following other people's swims, and I can't stand the default page. I don't plan on marketing this to triathletes (missing untold revenue opportunity, no doubt), but of course anyone is welcome.

    My secret dream: convincing Laz to let me put trackers on the Barkley runners. >:)

  • IronMikeIronMike Northern VirginiaCharter Member

    You've got me for July. And if my plans for next August pan out, then too. And thanks for the discount.

    We're all just carbon, water, starlight, oxygen and dreams

  • evmoevmo SydneyAdmin
    edited May 2016

    We had a successful test-run today of the TRACK.RS phone app on a live swim. Thanks to guinea pig @ScottZornig and his crew @Lynnkub and @Cherieedborg.

    Scott's track (Pt Loma, San Diego to Seacoast Beach) has been loaded into the MSF Track Database:

    So, what's this all about?

    Basically, it means you can have live real-time web-based tracking of your swim with just a smartphone or tablet (iOS or Android), as long as you have cellular data reception. No need for a SPOT Tracker with its costly subscription fees.

    Especially if the swim location is near an urban area, cell network coverage may be surprisingly good, even several miles offshore.

    Any questions, just PM me.

  • JanetJanet New York, NYMember

    I used the app as part of the 8 Bridges swim this weekend, and was really impressed by how easy it was. I almost skipped using it—setting it up seemed like another thing to worry about, and I was concerned about it running my phone battery down. I didn’t want to end up a long day with a dead phone and nowhere to charge it on the train ride back to the city, or to have family worried if the tracker stopped working and the map showed me stuck near the swim start for hours. But once I saw how cool it was to track other swimmers during the first few stages I decided to give it a try, and was glad I did. Setting up the app was really simple, and it actually used up very little battery—my phone ended up 98 percent charged, with the external battery I had attached to it only about 25 percent depleted. (That was for a 8:45 swim, with the app activated about 2 hours before start time when I handed the phone off in a dry pouch to my kayaker). Thanks Evan for once again creating something really cool that benefits all the marathon swimming community!

  • IronMikeIronMike Northern VirginiaCharter Member

    I'm with @Janet on this one. Great and easy to set up. I didn't use a phone, however; I used a SpotGen and it was extremely easy. Family from all over the globe tell me they were able to follow me very easily.


    We're all just carbon, water, starlight, oxygen and dreams

  • malinakamalinaka Seattle, WACharter Member

    We'll be giving a go tomorrow in the Northwest:


    I don't wear a wetsuit; it gives the ocean a sporting chance.

  • curlycurly Issaquah, WASenior Member

    Nice swim. I have a question about the track. I didn't see you doing the actual swim, so I'm just now looking at the whole picture. There is a solid line around Mercer Island and then a dotted line that goes up north. Is that a boat ride after the swim or what? If I understand what I'm seeing, you swam clockwise around Mercer Island. Is there always a strong northbound current on the east side of the island? I swam that stretch many years ago for a charity swim and I remember just wanting to die there. I felt like I was swimming in a river. Did you swim with anyone else or was this a solo?

  • curlycurly Issaquah, WASenior Member

    I think I figured things out. I zoomed in on the map and see the multiple tracking dots now. That's really cool.

  • evmoevmo SydneyAdmin

    @curly said: I think I figured things out. I zoomed in on the map and see the multiple tracking dots now. That's really cool.

    Pro tip: In the bottom right corner of the map page, there's a little dropdown box labeled "Frequency" - this allows you to adjust the displayed trackpoint interval.

    The Mercer Island track defaults to 1-minute intervals, but you could change that to say, 5 or 10-minute intervals to better visualize the effect of the currents.

  • jbsjbs Member

    Following my friend Susan Knight's Channel swim on this. What an amazing site! Thank you so much for putting this together. It is really awesome.

  • curlycurly Issaquah, WASenior Member

    That out and around Santa Barbara Island has got my attention right now. Jeez. I'm just getting used to swimming in a lake. And here we are in the ocean at night. You guys are something else...

  • evmoevmo SydneyAdmin
    edited September 2016

    There have been over 100 solo swims tracked via this season, in addition to group tracking of 8 Bridges, 20 Bridges, Boston Light, Rose Pitonof, and the Lake George Marathon Swim.

    I haven't been announcing/promoting each of these swims on the Forum... but if you are interested in knowing about each swim as it's happening, you may wish to subscribe to updates from the Facebook page:

  • JSwimJSwim western Maryland, USSenior Member

    The James River (outside Richmond VA) "To the Bridge and Back" encouraged the 10 milers to run on their phones (carried by their kayaker) during the swim. The event had a JumboTron at the start/ finish showing progress. Some spectators used their phones too.

    I spoke to the kayak rental fella and he was very excited about the tracking. He and his family/staff ? were hanging out at their place along the water, watching the swimmers go by and periodically updating on their computer to see what was happening out of sight. It was very cool when he asked my name and said, oh yeah, they'd been cheering for me as they watched the tracker and the water. Wow! OWS as a spectator sport!

    I was concerned that my iPhone battery might not last for 5-6 hours. So I had attached a small extra battery. After the 6 hours my phone was still 100% charged. I disconnected the extra battery, forgot to turn off tracking, and 1+ hour later the battery was 98%. Awesome efficiency! My cell service was even spotty.

    I highly recommend this late season swim. The water temp was low 70s. The 10 miler is 2 loops of out to the rt 228 bridge (against current) and back (fast!). Even though it had rained a lot the past week the water was murky, but not muddy.

    Extremely well organized event btw. Kudos to Jay Peluso and his volunteers! Lots of buoys, support on the water, great swag, excellent post swim food. And my volunteer kayaker couldn't have been better. Thanks Paula!


    Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. --Neale Donald Walsch

  • evmoevmo SydneyAdmin

    Thanks for the review, @JSwim! I love hearing these stories.

    The group-tracking has been a bit of a challenge because it requires three minor miracles to work: (1) Motivating swimmers to register their phones ahead of time; (2) Getting each swimmer to follow instructions and set up the app correctly on their phone; and (3) reminding swimmers to turn on the tracker before the swim.

    I can provide technical support on the initial setup, but beyond that, what I've found is: a lot depends on the event organizer(s). Do they remind swimmers to register for the tracking? (several times, if necessary). If there's a pre-race briefing the day before, that's a good time to conduct a live test. On the morning of the swim, do they remind everyone to turn on their trackers?

    All this is by way of saying -- Jay Peluso's "To The Bridge and Back" was by far the most successful group-tracking event I've worked with this year. All but one of the 10-mile swimmers registered with the tracking service; and all but one of the trackers worked perfectly from start to finish. And this was, basically, all due to the efforts of Jay Peluso. He was on top of it!

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