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Site-Seeing: Walk It

Posted on 3rd Oct 2010 at 08:16 by Clive Webster with 17 comments

Clive Webster
London was held to ransom by a Tube strike the other day, which meant I was in a pickle as to how to get home. Thankfully, I remembered a site I’d heard about a while ago called Walk It, which plots you a route from one location to another, specifically for walking. I only live five miles away, so I could just walk home. As an aside, it was ironic that on my way into work on the Tube that morning The London Underground song (which is definitely NSFW) came on my iPhone.

Assuming you haven’t just been fired for watching that video at ear-shattering volumes, here’s why Walk It is such a useful site. It’s map (at least the one of London) is more sophisticated than Google’s, as it has all the little-known alleyways, and knows that you walk through parks, rather than around them. Google would have me walk through the scummy streets of Camden to get home, and I’d rather avoid being offered drugs by some bedraggled undercover Police officer every five paces. Walk It also trumps Google Maps by offering a choice of three routes, from the quickest to the least pollution-infested.

Site-Seeing: Walk It
Click to enlarge

I chose the latter, and was guided near-faultlessly from the office to my flat in North London. The site told me that the 5.1 mile walk would take a fast walker 1hr 20mins to do, and despite a few hiccups due to poor signage (okay, so Google Maps on my iPhone did come in handy) I got home in a little under that time. The site tells me that by walking home at this pace I burnt 548 calories and that I saved 0.5kg of carbons by avoiding using the Tube. Both of these facts baffle me.

For instance, an adult male is recommended to consume 2,500 calories a day. If an hour and half of fast walking burns only 548 calories though, I hardly see why I need 2,000 calories to sit in front of a computer screen or the telly. If I do, then exercise seems awfully over-rated.

I also fail to see how I saved any carbons at all, let alone half a kilogram of them. The Tube wasn’t working for a start, but even if it was it hardly conforms to my travel needs. It tends to run regardless of whether I want to travel on it or not, in fact.

Site-Seeing: Walk It
This is a school?

My ignorance aside, Walk It was very helpful, and I saw all kinds of unusual sights around London, from ultra-modern schools to a bespoke cycle-and-walkway that looks like it’s never been used. Unfortunately, there’s not an App for Walk It (which would be brilliant, especially if it spoke directions over your music), and the site doesn’t work particularly well on an iPhone. I’d be interested to know if it works better on another web-happy phone though.

Whether you have to print the directions (like I did, looking like the most lost tourist ever as I strode through back streets and suburbs) or have them on your phone, give Walk It a try. It’s a cheap way to save money and get some exercise. Please be sensible though – no walking through dodgy districts late at night and so on.

17 Comments

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karolis 3rd October 2010, 12:25 Quote
I'll give it a shot. I am a bit low tech when it comes to navigation though. I love the fact that these days you can get a map of your location pretty much anywhere, but i still plan the route myself.
Krikkit 3rd October 2010, 12:38 Quote
I think you're a bit paranoid about Camden. :p
DarkBanana 3rd October 2010, 13:09 Quote
Lol. I think most of those calories goes into simply keeping you alive :P

Exercise is a really poor way of burning calories but it builds muscle which have a calorie 'upkeep' all the time :)
pimonserry 3rd October 2010, 15:05 Quote
^ what he said. Most of your energy just goes into keeping you ticking over.
October 3rd October 2010, 15:29 Quote
Maybe the carbons saved are calculated by your extra weight not being on the tube, and it therefore not having to work as hard to keep moving ;)
Farting Bob 3rd October 2010, 15:43 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by October
Maybe the carbons saved are calculated by your extra weight not being on the tube, and it therefore not having to work as hard to keep moving ;)
That would be impressive for someone to work out per person. I suppose it would need to know your weight, or if you caught your bag in the door and held up the train momentarily, or if you jumped up and down all the time so your weight counted for less.
So many variables to consider!

Also, while this service looks pretty clever, it really needs sat nav voice over and take advantage of your phones GPS to be really great. Still, as a version 1, still pretty useful. Lived in london a while and walked most places, generally working out where i was by finding tube stations and working out which direction i was heading. Didnt take maps with me, rarely got lost.
Krikkit 3rd October 2010, 21:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Farting Bob
That would be impressive for someone to work out per person. I suppose it would need to know your weight, or if you caught your bag in the door and held up the train momentarily, or if you jumped up and down all the time so your weight counted for less.
So many variables to consider!

Holding up the train makes no difference if it's just for a couple of seconds, they won't go any faster.

Jumping up and down? :)
greigaitken 3rd October 2010, 21:52 Quote
but because you exercised more - you breathed more thus creating lots more carbon dioxide, you will also have a bigger appetitie thus use more food. How much Co2 is used in making and shipping another slice of cheesecake? ultimately, get a bike. it's faster and cheaper and greener and... slightly wetter on a rainy day.
Showerhead 4th October 2010, 02:48 Quote
Doesn't Work so well for Aberdeen misses out lots of alleyways i know about but maybe they don't want to be sued if someone goes missing at the underpass while following there directions
Madness_3d 4th October 2010, 14:04 Quote
Finally someone who agrees with me about Camden :-)
CardJoe 4th October 2010, 15:43 Quote
Chalk me up as another Camden hater. Go for the gigs, then get out as fast as you can.
phuzz 4th October 2010, 17:30 Quote
Can't you just, y'know, guess the right way to go? Always works for me in london and I don't even live there.
Also, Camden is scary? pussies ;)
sp4nky 5th October 2010, 13:24 Quote
I've been using Walk-it.com for a while now. It can suggest circular routes and tell you how far they are, how long it'll take you. I've also used it for sending people directions to events in town, when people are coming up from London or elsewhere.

Btw, as an outside I don't find Camden particularly scarey. Visit Fenham or Benwell in Newcastle and you'll see how tame Camden is.
LJF 5th October 2010, 13:34 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkBanana
Lol. I think most of those calories goes into simply keeping you alive :P

Your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) is used to calculate the number of calories needed, apparently.
http://health.discovery.com/centers/heart/basal/basal.html

According to that calculator I, myself, need 1885 calories a day minimum even if i'm doing absolutely nothing but existing.

... time for another pastie then.
Plugs 6th October 2010, 20:19 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by LJF
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkBanana
Lol. I think most of those calories goes into simply keeping you alive :P

Your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) is used to calculate the number of calories needed, apparently.
http://health.discovery.com/centers/heart/basal/basal.html

apparently, if i was the same height and weight as i am, but was actually 999 years old
i would give out 4534.8 calories
E_Spaghetti 7th October 2010, 06:05 Quote
No discussion at all about the union strike?
NethLyn 7th October 2010, 20:11 Quote
"Held to Ransom" indeed, once you've been caught out and buy an A to Z and give it a year, the strikers haven't stopped me getting anywhere I need to go when they shut the tube, for nearly a decade. In fact if they keep doing it they'll become as effective as the Royal Mail strikes where no-one knows the difference between a strike and normal service day to day.
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