Is it Strava or my GPS device?

Although we were using the latest GPS update, according to Strava’s elevation calculation after uploading this ride, the computer’s info was off by less than 100 feet.



Q: Okay, I am completely stumped and do not understand what is happening to my ride data. I don’t want to point fingers at the brand, but why is my cycling computer’s elevation gain different when I upload it to Strava? I’ve been trying to make them match, and they do not seem to ever sync up to be the same. Perhaps I am doing something wrong on my end. Any insight would be huge from the MBA team!

Camryn Myers

Big Bear, California

A: There could be a few things at play, especially with a mixture of technology trying to communicate and upload information. We know how frustrating this can be if you have workouts that have very specific goals. Even though you may have done the exact same activity, each GPS device, even if you’re using the same model, will record its own unique set of data. This GPS data will always be different because of the inherent variables involved in recording GPS data: recording interval (the time between GPS points), signal strength, GPS hardware, etc. The differences in the GPS data may cause differences in the calculated elevation data.

To improve your GPS connection, we recommend contacting the device manufacturer for the most up-to-date and relevant information. Unfortunately, when, for whatever reason, a portion of your activity is not recorded by GPS, Strava can’t fill in the missing data as another factor. We also recommend checking with Strava for the latest info on how they correct elevation when a file is uploaded. More recently, they have changed the thresholds for elevation gain to provide more accurate elevation data to their users who record activities on devices that are not equipped with a barometric altimeter.

Have a question for the MBA crew? You can send your brain busters to [email protected].

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