Hi-tech computer modelling is being employed to map walking routes around Britain’s cities for award-winning website www.walkit.com. Using accurate terrain data captured from the air, the height models from aerial mapping company Bluesky are being used to produce walking routes that avoid the steepest hills and alert walkers to inclines on their selected journey, information that is especially useful for those carrying loads, pushing buggies and those with certain health conditions.
walkit.com has been named one of the 100 top sites for the year ahead by the Guardian newspaper, ranked in the 101 most useful websites by Telegraph.co.uk and in the top 50 best London websites by TimeOut. Visitors to the site can select from one of 12 cities across the UK, including London, Glasgow, Bristol, Birmingham and Sheffield, and simply enter their walk’s start and end points. Additional user options include selection of route type, for example, direct or less busy. walkit.com then returns a detailed walking route including a map of the route and full written directions together with distance, walking times and calories burned for slow, medium and fast walking paces and even an estimation of the CO2 avoided.
“By supplementing our routes with information derived from the Bluesky height models we can really boost our offering,” said Jamie Wallace, walkit.com’s founder. “We already enhance traditional mapping with footpath data derived from high resolution aerial photography and user feedback, and the inclusion of incline data will further enable visitors to the site to select the most appropriate route for their needs.”
A recent survey of visitors to walkit.com has shown that nearly 90% have been encouraged to walk a route in favour of other modes of transport, nearly 80% have been encouraged to take extra physical exercise and approximately 55% are regularly switching to ‘active travel’. “The environmental, financial and physical health of the nation are all at the top of today’s agenda,” continued Wallace. “Walking ticks all the boxes and by encouraging more people to walk more often we can all take a step in the right direction.”
The height data walkit.com purchased from Bluesky is part of the GeoPerspectives nationwide Digital Terrain Model (DTM). Covering the whole of England, Scotland and Wales the DTM maps the Earth’s surface, excluding vegetation and buildings, to a resolution of 1 metre and an accuracy of 50 centimetres for urban areas with a population over 100,000. GeoPerspectives is a joint venture between Bluesky and Infoterra providing national coverage of orthorectified aerial photography, digital terrain & surface models and colour infra-red imagery (CIR).
Bluesky is a UK-based specialist in aerial imaging and remote sensing data collection and processing. An internationally recognised leader with projects extending around the globe, Bluesky is proud to work with prestigious organisations such as Google, the BBC and Government Agencies. Bluesky has unrivalled expertise in the creation of seamless, digital aerial photography, 3D landscape/cityscape visualisations and prints and also runs a national mapping centre, providing digital mapping, satellite imagery and aerial photography including ultra-high resolution imagery of cities and towns.