This post is one is a series that looks at all the top extensions for Strava. Each extension has it’s own flavor, with the majority of them looking to help dive into data and analyze workouts. Squadrats is one of the outliers in this list though as it’s analysis is more of a game. It does not matter if you are a top athlete, or just an occasional exerciser, you can still have some fun by exploring new parts of the map.
What is a Squadrat?
A squadrat is just a square on a map. The concept of Squadrats app is simple, just collect squares. A world map is broken up into individual squares, all of the same size, and you can collect a new square by logging an activity within that square. This means that any GPS data event winds up counting, whether that is from a run, a ride, or even other events like swims, paddle boarding, or skiing.
Each square is reportedly around 1 square mile and there is even a single GPS point within the square will count it in your collecting. The mile square is also broken down into an 8×8 grid, which turns it into smaller squares that they refer to as Squadatinhos.
For each activity logged on Strava a corresponding activity is pulled in as an individual event to Squadrats and the incremental Squadrats and Squadatinhos are shown. This is where the encouragement to go a littler further comes in. When zooming in on your Yard (a personal map showing the segments collected) it is possible to find a road or trail that cuts into the next adjacent square.
There is an obvious benefit in Squadrats to multi-sport and multi-surface athletes. Cycling is of course likely to nab a bunch of new squares simply due to the ability to cover significantly more distance when compared to running. Mountain biking and trail running are also helpful since the squares are just a grid and there is no consideration for where existing roads or trails exist.
The top standings would suggest that the highest collection of Squadrats skews toward folks who put out very long rides across major roads. A “Yard” is also designated for each user and is defined as connected squares that are fully enclosed by 4 sides of also collected Squadrats. This concept defines for the most part a home area, or yard, which you tend to play or do activities in. Personally this is the key metric that we like trying to optimize for as it extends the home area broader and broader.
Is it possible to collect Squadrats that are all water?
Yes! There are a bunch of ways to log an activity in water so in theory the limits on how many squares you can accumulate are pretty limited. Logging a paddling activity (Kayaking or Stand Up Paddle Boarding) is a good way to collect squares that fall entirely in a lake, river, or ocean.
This is the other reason that Squadrats can be motivating. When you bump up against a square that has no good running areas or paved roads it provides an extra push to grab the mountain bike, go for a hike, or get out on the water.