Using MapPath to Study Motion

MapPath is an easy-to-use app allowing you to record your trips. It displays your track, your position and live information such as your speed, altitude or average speed. MapPath is also an utility that allows you to establish directions, measure distances, surface areas and perimeters by dragging pins (points) on the map.

MapPath is also a very cool App for students to use to study motion.  Whenever I’m in Los Angeles, I try to MapPath some of my trips in my rental car.  Why Los Angeles?  Well, first, I’m in LA a lot and second, it removes any pre-conceived notions about motion.

For example, here are two screen caps for trip from El Segundo to Topanga.

In the first map, students can see the route I took from El Segundo to Topanga.  I threw in a little trick by taking a side route and doubling back – this increased my distance traveled and altered my average speed but did not change my displacement or average velocity.  The maps can be exported to Google Maps or Google Earth so that my displacement can be measured.

In my second route, I traveled from El Segundo to Paramount Studios.  Students can use data here to compare it to my Topanga trip.  In addition, students can access a graph of speed v time within the app and thus determine where I may be accelerating or not.  Its actually pretty tough to generate a segment with constant speed – thats how sensitive the App is.

For my next trip, I plan to add a dashcam to create a video record to parallel my MapPath data.

You can download the activity here: MapPath Activity.

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