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Monday, October 01, 2007


Gmap Pedometer is a fun toy!

I enjoy biking, hiking, and walking, and so I tend to underestimate the distance that I travel. Everything seems pretty close to everything else. 14 miles is a completely reasonable distance to hike in a day. It is reasonable to walk 4 miles just for the heck of it.

Now that I have a "bike computer" - an odometer - on my road bike, I'm learning that many places I go are farther away in miles then I tend to think. I used to routinely tell people that I lived just 5 miles from my office, when it turned my most direct route was more than 7 miles, and I often took a 10.5-mile scenic route to get there. (Those distances are one way, of course.)

My bike computer changed my perception of distance in a good way.

gmap-pedometer ( is another tool that is great for developing more accurate perceptions of distance. I've been using it to figure out how far I travel on my foldie, which doesn't have a bike computer on it. This tool has all the wonderful functionality of Google maps (, but you can set it on "record" and double-click through a route, and it will both map your route in a way you can save and share with others AND it will measure out the distance. The measurements are about as good as you make them: I tend to be unwilling to zoom in and deal with every little corner, so I cheat myself out of some distance. But it is a great tool.

I took a loop around the City on Sunday, and it is mapped here. (Note: I didn't actually start and stop it where I live. So there.) I didn't zoom in as much as I could have to map things like curves more accurately - I literally cut some corners - which cheated me out of nearly a mile that shows up on my bike computer, but this is still a fabulous representation of the trip, and a pretty good estimate of it, despite my lackadaisacal mapping effort.

I suppose this means that, if my favorite backpacking places are ever mapped by Google maps in high enough resolution, I'll be able to provide links to my routes quite precisely.

I can see myself happily wasting weeks of my life with this wonderful tool.


posted by Arlene (Beth)9:30 PM

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