Disappointing Apple Workout Tracking

Has anyone else had disappointing experience with Workouts?

Had an Apple Watch now for a while and in the past, haven’t really noticed issues (perhaps because my route to work was lots of straight lines…) But in my new job and with a new Series 5 to replace my Series 3, I’m seeing ridiculous deviations from the road whilst cycling.

I don’t think it’s a hardware issue, as I can happily use other apps on the same device with far better accuracy. See the screenshots below (the blue is the ride recorded this morning with Workout, the green is via Workoutdoors, on my way home). Both instances, I had my phone with me.

One of these images is near the start of the ride and the other at the end (as it was a commute to work, so I’d expect poor signal perhaps to start but better at the end - the Apple Workouts track doesn’t show this, just shows poor consistency across the board).

Using WorkoutDoors isn’t a big deal, as it’s an excellent app, (it does mean my rides don’t count for a 7 workout week mind!) but it’s disappointing to see. I don’t even know if it’s down to the polling - I have a Garmin watch and a Garmin bike GPS as well, and I can set them to GPS position every 1 second, so they get a better fit as well. However, the Workout one is terrible and I don’t believe Workoutdoors changes this.

Walking wise, it’s reasonable. I’d argue within margin of error, but that’s perhaps because I’m at a slower speed. It just seems that cycling is consistently bad, unless a third party app is used.

As always with fitness and tech, you should check DCR’s reviews :upside_down_face:

It looks like workouts is smoothing your route. In theory 3rd parties have access to the same GPS as the 1st party apps, but that never seems to be the case.

My first thought is it may be related to how often the app is getting the GPS location, rather than absolute accuracy. Apple is probably hitting the GPS less often to preserve battery, at the cost of not picking up all the jigs and jogs in your route, then applying some smoothing as @memex mentioned.

I agree with @geoffaire, it looks like a smoothing issue. In the routes posted above, none of the points seem to be missing, in that they influence the blue line.
Also at the link @ChrisUpchurch posted, you can see the effects of trying to fit a curve at a 90° turn.

The teal trace is the Apple Watch.
Screen Shot 2020-06-29 at 3.11.21 PM

Not sure there’s anything we users can do about this. Is raw data available some how? Maybe export and DIY a course plotter, etc.

Too bad Workoutdoors doesn’t fill in the info in Activity so you can close your circles.

I do indeed - and I was expecting a “swoosh” before I got the Series 5, just not so huge. I’d found it on my Series 3 on my bike, but never so bad.

I think it’s obvious mostly here on the left, where the blue should follow the bike path.

In fills in the activities, so I get credit, I just don’t get the 7 day workout week award, as you have to use the Workout app for that.

In all honesty, I think I’m trying to find perfection where I wont be able to. After all GPS isn’t 100% anyhow! I used my Garmin Instinct the other day with GPS+Gailao, rather than GPS+GLONASS and the results were not pretty! - Nothing is going to be perfect. And in fairness, WorkoutDoors gives me more stats (and sports) to look over (though I am considering trialling Cyclemeter and seeing how I get on).

User workoutdoors (!) on reddit 2 years ago stated that GPS is updated every second for 3rd party apps.

Couldn’t find more info tho.

Still I agree it looks like workout app over smoothes things.