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STK Training Tour tales - Analyzing travel routes with STK 10

By: reicher
After a great week of the STK Training Tour in the Denver and Colorado Springs area (where we experienced everything from snow and freezing rain to bright, sunny and 70!), it’s time to plan out our route to California.    Using Google maps I found myself presented with two options: take interstate 70 across or head up to interstate 80. I found myself wondering what the difference was ...  
So I exported my Google map routes as KML files and dropped them into STK (literally, drag and drop!) and promoted the paths to Ground Vehicle objects. After that, I threw in some sweet looking terrain, a little Bing Maps imagery and then spent half an hour (or more) just watching my two options animate side by side (I can already tell that 70 is the more scenic route).  
  However, knowing the van as well as I do, I know it doesn’t really appreciate climbing a lot of hills so I decided to use STK to evaluate the amount of climbing each route had and compare them. I used the new Calc tool in the STK 10 Analysis Workbench to plot the rate of change of the altitude for each path (to find where all those hills are).   
  I then integrated the altitude rate along the route but only over the intervals where the rate was positive (just the uphill climbs).   
  The result of my little study shows that there is about 5 km more altitude climbing along the interstate 70 route (27-ish km on 70 compared to only 21-ish km along 80). It also looks like Interstate 80 has longer stretches without hills whereas Interstate 70 is almost constantly varying in altitude. In addition to the altitude variation, during my virtual drive-through I noticed a significant difference in how much turning was going on. The van doesn’t take kindly to curves at high speeds. So I pretty much repeated the above process, except this time I evaluated the rate of change of my heading (to find out how much steering I’m gonna be doing). After I ran my report, it appears my average heading rate of change along I-70 is nearly double that of the I-80 route:
So ... in the interest of not slowing down traffic and not burning out the brakes on the van, I think we’ll probably opt for the Interstate 80 route this time. We'll let you know how it goes next week! And hey, if you have the time, come to a Tour stop and learn about STK 10!
Posted: 10/12/2012 2:26:41 PM