Google Maps for walks

I like that maps are so much more fun than they were a couple years ago. You can drag them, zoom them, annotate them, mash them up, and fly over where you grew up. One site I’ve been enjoying lately is Gmaps Pedometer. You just click to mark out where you walked and it will give you
– how far you walked
– the change in elevation
– how many calories you burned

It’s also easy to save a map and send it to friends, with no registration required. For example, here’s a lap around a chunk of the Googleplex:

To make a map, use the normal controls to move or zoom. When you’re ready to make a walking record, click “Start recording.” Each double-click will add a new waypoint, and you can use the single-click to drag the map just like you’re used to. If you make a mistake, there’s an “Undo last point” button. The UI is great.

Here’s a walk that I did a couple weeks ago: Seven miles, ~1200 feet of elevation, ~1000 calories, in 2.5 hours. That’s nothing for some of the more fit people here, but I was proud. 🙂 It helps to have an iPod with energetic music. What’s your favorite maps mashup?

Update 7/15/2007: Clearing off my desktop and found this picture. Might as well put it up:

Google maps pedometer

39 Responses to Google Maps for walks (Leave a comment)

  1. Dave (Original)

    Here’s a walk that I did a couple weeks ago: Seven miles, ~1200 feet of elevation, ~1000 calories, in 2.5 hours. That’s nothing for some of the more fit people here, but I was proud.

    That’s a long walk just for a night out out a pub and lot’s of junk food in the Taxi ride back home 🙂

    Nice to know about though. I didn’t know about until now.

  2. Hey matt, i would like to introduce your readers to a service called “critical map”. It’s a “collaborative” google maps for bikers! People can register and add tours and point of interests for bikers 🙂
    it’s a sort of an aggregator with maps.
    Unfortunately it’s only in italian at the moment, but the guy developing is very open minded. I think that after a good feedbacks in english he will do his best to make it available in other languages.

  3. Matt- I have used Google maps before (to help identify structures when researching an ancient culverted river in Dublin) but how do you draw the beautiful squiggly line? It would be ideal to plot the course of my beloved River Poddle in Dublin! Incidentally, 1000 calories is very impressive for just 2.5 hours of exercise, combined with fresh air and (obviously) great scenery.


  4. jan

    i know google maps was good for swimming already

  5. JohnMu

    (pat on my own back) I like my live flight-simulator air-race tracking – . The race is over, but it was great fun setting it up and getting live data from several servers onto a single world map. 🙂

  6. Love that pedometer, thanks!!!

  7. That is neat, I was able to track a route I walked on Sunday with my dog. I had not realised that I had walked so far (plenty of stops for refreshments though).

    Here is the route:

  8. Thanks for the hint to the Gmap-Pedometer… seems fairly basic and not as loaded as others.

    Do you know those two:

    MapmyRun is awesome since they have a community for sharing walks or runs…

  9. Matt, I got a new and useful link today,

    Is this a website from Google?


  10. Its a ity that the more interesting walking areas in the UK are mapped at such low resolution 🙁

  11. You also get distance when tracing routes in Tagzania, though not altitude profiles for the moment. As a plus, once the line or route is drawn, there’s output for Google Earth, GeoRSS, and a way to embed the map in a blog or site. Check here, for instance:

  12. Hi Matt,

    Its a great leap with the pedometer and google map.
    I am totally disappointed to see that INDIA map is not available.
    Is this gmap-pedometer is a product of google personnels or is it a third party’s ?. It would be great to know the details.

    Have a great day Matt.

    Pon Arun Kumar

  13. Nice topic.

    Locally in Chicago, I look at nightly food and drink specials on this site –
    While the data isn’t yet as complete as I’d like, however the ability to segment data by days of the week or food/drink is a direction I really like!

  14. Seb

    Very nice, I’d love to see the topo information extended to cover the UK, at the moment it appears to be US only.

  15. Matt, it is worth mentioning that I have often given Google criticism about how they bring out new products that, while may be attractive to techies, often are not at all attractive and sometime downright confusing to new users. I felt that Yahoo did a great job making their Answers newbie-proof and welcoming to new users. I felt Swicki did a good job on the custon search engine side.

    I think you custom maps are great. The ability for anyone at all to make a map without an API is wonderful. The interface is pretty easy to use, and I think that Google has succeeded in an offering to the general internet user with this and I predict it will spread like wildfire. Great and useful tool, nice to see one of Googles innovative products being simple enough for anyone to use.

    Wonderful job, my compliments to the Maps team.

  16. We run an adult entertainment directory, and all our strip clubs and massage parlors are laid out on Google maps(Probably NSFW – no porn, but some mild adult content). It seems to be one of the more popular features of the site!

  17. Shawn S

    I’ve just recently started working with the maps api for a site I’m developing and it is my opinion that the map is one of Google’s best products.
    The site I’m working on is just a baby and not ready for public consumption so I won’t post it here yet, however Matt, your feedback is always welcome.

  18. I have long been a fan for google maps, but this new function is great. I live in NYC and walk everywhere. I just mapped last night’s stroll.
    URL for this route is:

  19. Dan The Man

    I did notice that there is one swimming route. Just go to Google maps and click “get directions.” Enter “New York, NY” and “Paris, France” and click “get directions.” Check out step 23.

  20. This looks like a reviewme

  21. This is incredible! I didn’t know so many things could have been done with Google Maps. It is also quite scary, i cant imagine the things that will be available in the future..

    7 miles is great by the way but you should shorten the time 🙂

  22. Chip

    Nice, one of my friends was talking about how cool it would be to be able to trace a biking route and see how long it is. The page could use some visible instructions, but once I figured them out it was pretty easy. Also, what would be really sweet is the option to have it snap to roads. Don’t know if the data is even available to be able to do it, but it would be slick. Anyone up for a challenge? 🙂

    This was my first foray into the API:

    Nothing spectacular, just dealers(car not drug) locations and their relationship to each other. If you want to see something crazy, check out how many BMW dealers there are in California:

    crazy state,


  23. Walking is excellent, much better than running.

    Ever notice how your body burns calories days after a good walk?

    Keep fueling those walks with themz spicy burgerz Matt! 🙂

  24. Oo OO OO

    You’ve just hit near one of my wishlist items…

    A route planner for public transport.

    This is going to need a bit of explaining and a little suspension of disbelief from English readers. See in some places you have something called ‘public transport’ and in even fewer of those places this ‘public transport’ actually works. Unfortunately none of those places speaks English, so you’ll have to take my word for it.

    When I’m in Holland, it’s damn difficult to park and damn easy to get around on the trams and buses, so I usually use public transport.

    There are limited public transport planners for individual places, e.g.:

    Anyway, I’d like to be able to plug in an address at the start, an address at the end and be told how I can make that journey WITHOUT A CAR.

    The route planner would say, take tram 333 nearest stop is zzzz, switch to train xxxxx, take bus 28374, get off at stop kkkk.

    It would be monetized by advertising, e.g. ‘take taxi from ffff to Schiphol centrum, oh and here’s a bunch of advertisers related to taxi services in Schiphol’

    Green and environmentally friendly = corp plus points. Getting the data in a workable form is the big problem, but since a lot of public transport services that work are in places like holland, with governments behind public transport, it should be possible to get cooperation on it. DeLijn in Belgium is a typical example. Connexxions in Holland, VRS Germany etc…
    There aren’t that many players, so it’s not as impossible as it seems.

  25. Shawn S, glad to hear it! I can pass on API suggestions if you have them.

    Pon Arun Kumar, it’s a mash-up that someone else did.

    Brian, nope. Just me, glad I burned a few calories and that I could check how far I walked. 🙂

  26. Nice Tool! But I don’t walk or run in UK, China or Japan. I hope for a german Pedometer 🙂

  27. I love walking maps for city’s like London, San Francisco, Paris and New York.

  28. Matt –

    I’ve been tracking my daily steps on Walker Tracker – – a nice site for pedometer users to track how far they are going. (Closing in on 3 million steps now, woo.) There’s people on that site walking all over the world, I follow folks here in Ann Arbor as well as in Portland, London, and Negaunee MI.

  29. Matt, Is that your cabriolet sitting out front?


  30. Google may have some of the most creative people working for them, but I’m always impressed how people are able to take a google product, such as the maps and step it up a notch.

    I recently visited Seattle and realized how complicated a public transit system can be, referring to the buses, I grew up in Boston, where you had colors not numbers. Red Line, Green line, Blue line and Orange line. Very simple, and if you missed your stop you just went to the next one and went back, not with a bus system where you where SOL!!

    Living in Montana now, where the public transit is just a few buses, for a total of 12 routes, Seattle seemed like a it is worthy of a transit system messed up with the map system. Once they can do real time bus maps I will consider going back to Seattle.

    Thanks for the post,
    Bradford Knowlton

  31. Very cool…will check this out. Any plans to integrate this with GPS?

  32. Hi Matt,
    I had a go at using Google maps for the routes on my website but the road map isn’t really good enough for walks.

    It would be absolutely fantastic if google managed to licence proper maps (e.g. Ordnance Survey in UK) – I’d spend the next month doing cool things with API.

    Any chance do you think that Google will ever include proper detailed mapping of the countryside in the Maps product?

  33. Wow, great tool! Love this for my runs.

  34. James Xuan

    Heres one that would be good-if you could walk that far!

  35. Wow, Matt, a seven mile walk?! That’s impressive. is one of the original Google Maps mashups, and probably still the most popular. A great site which has inspired many others, including mine. is a Google Maps mashup geared toward cyclists, but it can be used for walking routes too. Also lets you export your route as KML, which can be viewed in Google Earth.

  36. When I first started using Google Maps I was completely utterly amazed. I thought I was watching a movie of my hometown street. Granted I couldn’t see the ficus tree or the old battered gate on the lawn, but I could see more than I thought I would.

    –Congrats with the updates

  37. Has google considered adding the “drag” a point feature to the mobile version?