Mind the hill – view our new incline data below each London route


From the blog

Mind the hill - view our new incline data below each London route

Posted 14 January 2010 19:11 by martin

We've just launched a new hill profile graph which you can find beneath all of our London route maps.  This follows their introduction in other walkit.com cities such as Sheffield and Glasgow.

In these areas you can see how steep different parts of your journey will be – particularly useful info if you're carrying a load, pushing a pram or using a wheelchair. Or maybe you've got medical or age-related reasons for wanting to avoid hills. We think bikers should also find this info handy.

Here are some examples:

Norbury to Herne Hill

Norbury to Herne Hill

Crystal Palace to Herne Hill

Crystal Palace to Herne Hill

Crystal Palace to Highgate

Crystal Palace to Highgate

The graph's y axis measures 0 to 250m above sea level, and the x axis 0 to 6,000m of walk length. For route lengths of under 6km the graph line will stop short of the end of the right-hand edge of the chart area (i.e. we don't stretch to fit) – we think this allows you to make more meaningful comparisons between the hilliness of each route (see first two images above) .

However for practical reasons, for routes over 6km, we compress the whole distance into the chart area – so you might end up with a slightly Matterhorn-esque graph line (see third image).

Please note that we take account of the impact inclines have on walking speed when generating a route – so your journey times and Calories burns will change accordingly.  We'll also try and find you a route round a hill, rather than over it, if we think it'll make your journey quicker.

Please let us know what you think, and/or comment below.

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  1. Simon K says:

    January 15th, 2010 at 9:38 am (#)

    That's a really nice bit of functionality! Probably less useful in London than in some of the more hilly cities and towns, but good anyway.

    Incidentally, you mention people “pushing a pram or using a wheelchair”. Do you have the data available to include a “step-free” option on your routes?

  2. James says:

    February 4th, 2010 at 4:19 pm (#)

    Cool functionality – add for Bristol next please!

  3. Donald Bruce says:

    February 10th, 2010 at 12:50 pm (#)

    Do you take account of the hills when you calculate car journey CO2 emissions? Here in Edinburgh any journey from the north side of the city to the south has a big hill to go up, which will increase car CO2 emissions signficantly.

    Also do you take account of time spent waiting at traffic lights when calculating car and bus CO2 emissions? Going by car up our local main street (Dundas Street) to go up to the Royal Mile at George IV Bridge in the centre of Edinburgh you will go through 7 traffic lights in just over a mile. On average you will catch at least 4 of these on red, and could spend between half a minute and 2 minutes per light, depending on the junction. So that's perhaps 6 minutes belching out CO2 while stationary. During that time you might have gone another 2 miles of distance. I am not sure what the difference in emission between driving along the road and idling plus accelerating from stationary, but I would guess that a nominal one mile of distance might be more like two miles in emissions in this example. Presumably you could have an average emisson per traffic light factor to add to the emission per mile figure? Or do you do that already?

  4. jamie says:

    February 10th, 2010 at 6:27 pm (#)

    You raise a very good point. Our stats are purely indicative, based on distance and the Defra conversion factors (see our FAQ). We hope to refine these figures over time – but we might struggle to offer the level of sophistication you're after!

  5. Chas M says:

    February 25th, 2010 at 6:19 pm (#)

    The hill profile graph using incline data is a very welcome addition. Thank you! I can't help thinking, however, it would be even better if the y axis scale, which is currently fixed over the range 0 to 250m above sea level, was dynamic (or there was an option for the user to select a dynamic scale). I envisage the scale being a function of the variation in the altitude over the length of the path. For example, in the case of the route between Norbury and Herne Hill, where the maximum height appears to be around 75m, perhaps a range from 0 to 150m for the y axis would give a better impression of the overall variation. Of course, I appreciate the advantage of a fixed scale is the ability to be able to more readily compare variation between routes, and that there may also be good reasons why the scale is set as it is (given the minimum 6kmrange on the x axis).

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