Custom Route FAQs
How do I quit my current route and start a new one?
You can start a new route at any time from the Custom Walk Setup page, but keep in mind that you can only run one route at a time so if you set up a new one, your old route will be deleted.
How do I alter my route?
You cannot alter your route once it has been generated. You can only reset it with the Custom Walk Setup page. There is nothing, however, to prevent you from creating a new route with the same starting date as your old route which essentially has the same effect as altering your original route.
Why doesn’t the route follow the shortest path?
The routes are generated by Google, and there could be a few different reasons why the route deviates from what you might otherwise expect.
- Google might not know about the trail or staircase or secret path that you might know.
- Since this is a virtual walk, W4F requests a “walking” route. We want to use routes that—although perhaps unlikely to ever be walked in real life—could theoretically be done. Thus, generated routes will not take you onto Interstates or other locations where pedestrians are prohibited.
- Maybe Google has information about a particular route being temporarily closed due to construction and is routing you around it—even though for our purposes, it doesn’t really matter.
- Maybe one particular path is better for walking. For instance, walking along a bike path might be quieter and more scenic than a shorter road walk—especially if the road walk has no shoulders and fast-moving traffic. Although a little longer, Google might decide that the bike path is a better option for walking.
Basically, Google tries to pick what they believe is the best walking path that hits all of your stops along the way. There are probably more factors that go into the calculations than are listed here, but these are most likely reasons I can think of.
Why does Google Street View not work?
Beats the hell out of me. I spent several hours trying to figure that out and never got anywhere. However, if you do open up the street view, you will see a link in the upper-left corner of the map to View in Google Maps. If you click on that, it will open the street view in a new window that works just fine.
Where are the registers?
Your friends are on the trail with you in spirit only. Your custom route is your custom route and nobody else can see it. Thus, there are no registers because nobody but you would be able to write in them or read them—and there are better options for journaling than this website!
Even the friends who show up on your map cannot see your route or their location on it. They are hiking their own virtual route or—if they are a premium member—their own custom route.
If you and a friend want to go head-to-head on a custom route, you can both create identical routes with identical start dates and make sure each other are among your friends. It will then appear that the two of your are hiking the same route at the same time—but it’s really just an illusion. In the database, Walking 4 Fun is tracking both you on two separate (albeit identical) routes.
How do I add members to my walking group that aren’t already in an existing group?
The walking group associated with your custom map is a group just like any other—so you can add members to it just like you would with any other group from the Friends page.
What is the start date?
The start date is whatever date that you want your custom virtual walk to start. By default, it’ll start with the date that you created the route, but if you set the date in the past, it will move you and your friends up the trail as if you had created the route on that date and you have already been walking it for days, weeks, months or even years!
If you set the date in the future, everybody will be stuck at mile marker 0 until that date comes and goes and people start recording steps on or after your start date.
Why is Google unable to create my route?
There are several possible reasons for this. We can only forward the error messages that Google provides—which sometimes aren’t very useful or helpful. If there is a specific stop it cannot figure out—for instance, there is a typo in location—Google will tell you which locations it does not understand.
Sometimes, the error message is more generic. Obviously, there has to be some sort of actual walking route between each location. Trying to be funny by walking from Los Angeles to Hawaii won’t get you very far! Although if there is a walk-on ferry service over a body of water, Google might route you through that—which is why it is entirely possible to create a virtual walk from Los Angeles to Avalon on Santa Catalina Island.
It also seems that Google sometimes chokes on particularly long, complex routes. If you know all of your locations are valid, correctly-spelled locations and that they are all walkable, you might try shortening the route.
What can I use as a location?
Anything Google understands... you can use. If you use the name of a city, I would include the state (or country!) as well so Google knows which one you are referring to. Otherwise, it will guess and it may guess incorrectly.
You can also use street addresses if you want the virtual walk to run from your front door to wherever you go. You can also use zip codes or cross streets to narrow down a location.
Locations can be as general as an entire country, but there is no telling where in the country Google will give you directions from/to.
You can also use major landmarks or parks. For instance, if you want to create a route that goes past the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, you can list the location as Lincoln Memorial.
Latitude and longitude coordinates also work, but it is recommended that you use a decimal format for best results. (e.g. 35.2817, -120.6609)