FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
- When are you going to launch new cities?
- How do your different A-B routing options work?
- How do your circular routes work?
- Are you going to do bicycle routing?
- Why don't you have more comprehensive footpath data?
- Why don't you show more landmarks/features on your mapping?
- How do I zoom in and out and pan around the maps?
- How can I print things out?
- Why can't I see any maps?
- How do you calculate your step count?
- How do you calculate your walking times?
- How do you calculate your Calorie figures?
- How do you calculate your carbon figures?
- Isn't it sometimes unsafe to walk?
- Do you have any promotional materials you could send me?
- What’s nearby?
When are you going to launch in new cities?
We have a development programme that will see walkit.com launched in new cities and towns on a regular basis. Please do contact us if you'd like to work in partnership to launch walkit.com in your area.
How do your different A-B routing options work?
- 'Direct' With this (default) option we try and find you the quickest walking route between the points you entered, regardless of how busy the roads are. Please note in areas where we have incline data (i.e. where you see a hill profile beneath the map), we take account of the impact inclines have on walking speed when generating a route – so we might find you a route that doesn't look direct (e.g. round a hill, rather than over it) if we think it’ll make your journey quicker. Find out more on the blog.
- 'Less busy' Here we try and find you a route that avoids the busiest roads, and favours routes across parks, by rivers/canals or down quieter streets. We can't guarantee the route will be 'nice' however, as you will sometimes just have to contend with a noisy/busy street to get from A to B! But if you think we're missing a trick somewhere (i.e. a short-cut or an off-road path), please let us know.
- 'Low pollution' (NB currently only inner, West and North London and Cambridge) When calculating a 'low pollution' walking route we look at the average nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentrations along each road or path segment, and the path segment's length. We take these together as an estimate of a pedestrian's likely average exposure to NO2 along that path segment. We then generate a route that minimises the overall exposure to NO2. This means that a walking route may include a section that passes through an area of relatively high NO2 concentration because alternative routes – although they may pass through areas with much lower NO2 – would mean you'd spend correspondingly longer in those areas, leading to a higher overall exposure to air-pollution. It is important to note that the pollution data we are using are modelled data. This means that a low pollution walking route cannot be guaranteed to give the absolute minimum pollution exposure for a walking route between any two given points on any given day. We anticipate the route to be the lowest or amongst the lowest walking routes on an 'average' day. See our showcase pages for more information.
How do your circular routes work?
Our unique 'circular' routes let you plan walks ranging from a short lunchtime stroll to a more ambitious 4 hour expedition. You can read more here. Please note the following:
- Like our 'less busy' routes, we try and favour quieter streets and 'off-road' paths, but please note that we can't guarantee to find you a 'nice' walk.
- Our timings may be out by a few minutes – it's not always possible to get it spot on. We also prioritise 'less busy' routes, where we can find them, over hitting precise target times.
- Longer routes may take you out of the town/city limits, in which case the walk may be along roads (where we can't guarantee there are pavements) as we haven't yet captured footpath data in the urban/rural fringes of many of our towns/cities.
- We don't have the facility to 'drag' the route in a different direction.
Are you going to do bicycle routing?
Bike routing is something we might do in the longer term. It is intrinsically more complex however: people have different cycling proficiencies; we'd need to track down data on dedicated cycle routes/lanes; and as a cyclist you have to obey the usual rules of the road (one-way streets, turn restrictions etc – though there are exceptions…). So it isn't a trivial piece of functionality to add in quickly. The beauty of walking is that you're largely unrestricted in where you can go.
Why don't you have more comprehensive footpath data?
As there aren't any 'off-the-shelf' data-sets with which to build a walking route planner, we are having to do a lot of the development work ourselves.
In particular we're collating information about routes across parks, along rivers, beside canals, down alleys etc – all the stuff you won't find in most vehicle-based journey planners. Key to this process is the incredibly useful feedback we receive from our users about specific pedestrian routes they are familiar with. We call this the 'walking knowledge'.
So apologies if we're missing a specific link, or haven't mapped your local park yet – it's an ongoing process! With our current resources we have to concentrate on city centres (roughly a 10km diameter circle), so parks in outer areas may not be covered. But if you write in, we'll endeavour to act on your feedback as quickly as possible.
Why don't you show more landmarks/features on your mapping?
Our base mapping data includes a limited selection of building outlines in most of our cities. As we receive more data updates from our supplier, we hope this will improve. We may also digitize some building outlines ourselves and add them in. But if you know of someone who can supply us with a good building outline data layer, please do get in touch.
How do I zoom in and out and pan around the maps?
You can zoom in and out by right-clicking the map and selecting zoom in/out, or use the zoom control bar on the right side of the map. To move around simply click on the map and drag, or use the arrow buttons at the top of the zoom control bar. To return to your original overview map, click the little house icon in the middle of the arrows at the top of zoom control bar.
How can I print things out?
Click the 'print' button just above the top left hand corner of the map.
Why can't I see any maps?
Our maps are created using Adobe Flash, and you need to have the Flash Player installed (version 7 or more recent) in order to view the maps. Flash Player is installed on the vast majority of Mac and PC systems.
If you still can't see any maps, you might be accessing our site from behind a firewall or proxy which is blocking walkit.com. Here are some ways to troubleshoot the problem.
How do you calculate your step count?
We assume an average stride of 69 cm.
If you want to customise the step count so it reflects your actual stride, please sign up to mywalkit where you can input personal data.
How do you calculate your walking times?
We use the following speeds:
- Slow – 2 mph
- Medium – 3 mph
- Fast – 4 mph
Please remember that in areas where we have incline data (you will see a hill profile beneath the map) we will adjust the timings accordingly – i.e. there will be a slight time 'penalty' for any uphill parts of your route.
If you want to enter a custom walking speed (e.g. 3.5 mph), please sign up to mywalkit where you can input personal data.
How do you calculate your Calorie figures?
There are a lot of complex factors that can affect the number of Calories you burn when walking – weight, age, gender, walking speed, inclines etc.
The Calorie figures you see on walkit.com are calculated in relation to walking speed and inclines (in areas where we show a hill profile beneath the route map). We assume an average weight of 70kg.
To make the Calorie burn more specific to you, please sign up to mywalkit where you can input your own weight.
How do you calculate your carbon figures?
We multiply the route distance by standard carbon dioxide conversion factors available from Defra:
- Car: average (unknown fuel) – 0.18635
- Bus: outside London – 0.10883, inside London – 0.07917
- Taxi: average black cab – 0.21872
- London tube – 0.05631
- Other light rail – 0.05461
For cars we show kg of CO2E emitted per vehicle km, for all others we show kg of CO2E emitted per passenger km.
If you wish to learn more about the different units used for emissions, you can find a good write up here.
Obviously these are only indicative figures.
Isn't it sometimes unsafe to walk?
We'd recommend that everyone takes sensible precautions – you can find advice from organisations such as The Suzy Lamplugh Trust, Safer Streets (West Midlands Police) and the Metropolitan Police – but we're not in a position to suggest that any given area is safe or unsafe. We hope that the more people walk in a neighbourhood, the safer it begins to feel for everyone. Please also see our Safe walking section.
Do you have any promotional materials you could send me?
The ‘nearby zone’ (aka isochrone) we generate to show you what’s nearby examines all the roads and paths we believe you can walk within the time or distance you specified. We usually return a very slight overestimate of this distance or time. Having determined all the roads and paths that we have decided are reachable within this ‘nearby zone’, we use them to determine what amenities fall within this zone, and list them as the result of our ‘nearby’ calculation.
Here are some things to bear in mind:
- Drawing the ‘boundary’ of the zone quickly requires some approximations – in ‘joining the dots’, we may have included or excluded some areas at the margins.
- Your first impression for some parts of the isochrone may be “well, surely that’s not right!”. Before dismissing the result, or contacting us, it might be worth examining in more detail – sometimes road/path configurations mean that places that you’d have thought couldn’t/could be reached, actually can/can’t be.
But if we’re missing a connecting footpath link (e.g. a footbridge over a railway), this can distort the results – please let us know if you spot one of these.
- We can’t guarantee that the Points of Interest (POIs) we list are comprehensive or fully accurate, as we’re often dependent on third party suppliers. Please also note that we may include/exclude a POI depending on its entrance point(s), or centre point.
- Let us know what other POIs you’d like us to search for within your ‘nearby zone’, and we’ll do our best to accommodate the most interesting and popular requests.