How to document and share local walking routes?
May 23, 2022 4:55 AM   Subscribe

I live close to an area (in the U.K.) where some friends will be staying this summer. I’d like to walk around the area now and document some great little walking routes for my friends so that they can have the best experience when they’re here. This would include photos of landmarks along the routes and some kind of map so that they don’t take a wrong-turn. Any ideas how to do this?

Equipment available:
Apple iPhone
Apple Watch

Neither are recent models.
posted by d288478 to Travel & Transportation (12 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Go Jauntly
posted by boudicca at 5:07 AM on May 23, 2022 [2 favorites]

Best answer: There are probably better ways, but AllTrails has maps, photos, and user-created routes, and, provided your friends had smartphones, would probably kinda-sorta work.
posted by box at 5:13 AM on May 23, 2022 [3 favorites]

Another option is Strava - capture the route on GPS and if you add photos they will automatically be linked to the location on map. There's a free subscription tier that will work fine for what you need.
posted by crocomancer at 5:27 AM on May 23, 2022 [4 favorites]

I would also recommend AllTrails. I've found it pretty easy to use, and you may discover that your walking routes already exist in there. I find Strava more challenging to use.
posted by hydropsyche at 5:45 AM on May 23, 2022 [1 favorite]

AllTrails is great, I use it a lot.

If you don’t want a dedicated all, you could spin up a Wordpress site or something, using Google maps to draw the paths and have your photos there as well.

Alternatively: draw a paper map! You could even bundle this with photos that you’ve printed, and they’d have a little guidebook to carry with them.
posted by curious nu at 6:38 AM on May 23, 2022 [1 favorite]

The marvellous Slow Ways website is aiming to create a national walking network, I’ve seen some good walks near me.

I have the Ordnance Survey app, I don’t use it enough to cough up for an ongoing subscription for the whole country . So I bought an OS map for the areas I go walking in, firstly the map is nice to have anyway in case of phone issues. Secondly the map comes with a digital download code so I can access the detailed maps I’ve paid for in the map. It’s really detailed and led to me finding there was a Roman Road about 5 metres from my house! You can also access and document walks there, I like it a lot.
posted by ElasticParrot at 6:40 AM on May 23, 2022 [5 favorites]

Google maps with points along the way, you can add photos and descriptions to each point.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:57 AM on May 23, 2022 [1 favorite]

I second drawing maps on paper in a nice bound notebook. You can add whatever notes & pictures you like - and so could they. It would have a lot of charm.

Slow Ways looks good though.
posted by rd45 at 7:17 AM on May 23, 2022

Another Go Jauntly vote. I've been using it since about August 2021 and it's a breeze. My sister was visiting me recently and, in preparation for her visit, I made a Google Map with walk options that she could view/add to and it was painful by comparison.

As a bonus, Go Jauntly has other good content--pre-curated routes, auto-generated walks that fit the specified amount of time you have available to get between them--that might make it more fun to use once your friends get to explore the routes you're assembling.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 7:36 AM on May 23, 2022

I use the OS Maps app (also with digital copies of local area maps that I bought on paper) for walking the Slow Ways. It's very good - I had been in the habit of just relying on Google Maps, but it's so nice to have a map that not only shows me where I am but also shows me which way I'm facing and lets me see the actual footpaths. Plus, as per ElasticParrot, it's very good for discovering interesting features of the landscape... I knew about my local Roman road, but I've discovered a surprise nature reserve that I really must go and investigate one of these days.

It'll let you record your own routes - bring a portable phone charger if your battery's less than it once was, just in case - but sharing them with your friends might be tricky. It doesn't give me the option of exporting a GPX of mine (it's greyed out), and I don't know if that's because I'm not a paid subscriber or because I've got my routes marked as Private (the only choices are Private and Everyone, and they start and/or end at my house!).

You can also add notes, but I haven't found any way to include photos or to link the notes to specific places along the route. I'd like to be able to do that, so I'm watching this thread with interest.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 9:04 AM on May 23, 2022

It depends a lot on your end users. Are the visiting friends likely to install an app just for this? How much opportunity for exploration is there in the target area/along the route (and how does your chosen solution adapt to the user straying from the designated course?) And how much commentary do you want to include?

Personally, I would most enjoy a paper map with the suggested route drawn out, plus a list of landmarks/waypoints written out in order such that I could navigate without my phone when I wanted to, but have the option of using gps to get back on track if I needed to.

On re-read, if you’re talking about a rural/rural-ish area where a wrong turn can take you into private property or a long way off course with no easy way to correct, a digital map makes more sense, but I still suggest investigating a few options and checking to see if your friends already use one of them. If not, make it with whatever UI is easiest for you.
posted by itesser at 9:04 AM on May 23, 2022

Go Jauntly is really easy.
posted by mani at 12:47 PM on May 23, 2022

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