Author Topic: Measuring Route Distances  (Read 860 times)

happyhiker

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Measuring Route Distances
« on: 17:40:15, 17/08/20 »
To establish route distances I rely on my Memory Map software. Its a bit long in the tooth now but miles haven't grown! I also subscribe to the OS mapping system, which in many ways is very good though I do find it a bit clunky to use. The difference between the two systems in measuring (say) about an 8 mile route would only be 0.3 miles or thereabouts. A friend uses a mobile phone app which produces yet a different figure (I am still fighting the smart phone temptation!).
My question to the very knowledgeable members here is; does anyone actually know what actually is the most generally considered accurate way of measuring distances - PC based mapping software, OS software, mobile phone apps? To stress, I am talking about measuring the distance before doing a walk, i.e. "on the map" rather than a track recorded the actual walk, though expect different systems would still give different results. Has any proper research been done?

To be honest, over a (say) 10 mile walk or so, even if a walk is half a mile different either way I am not concerned but given all the technical wizardry around, I am surprised there is any difference at all, so curiosity prompts the question.



Dread

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Re: Measuring Route Distances
« Reply #1 on: 17:59:09, 17/08/20 »
I can't really answer your question as to which is the most accurate but I do wonder whether the distance is measured on a flat surface or whether gradients are taken into account. If the measurement is in 3d then I suppose that there will be more variation.

ninthace

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Re: Measuring Route Distances
« Reply #2 on: 17:59:55, 17/08/20 »
These days I mostly use the OS mapping website for planning routes.  If I need to refine my plot against what is on the ground I will use the aerial view mode on the OS site, which was a better zoom.  I also sometimes export the gps file to GoogleEarth for a second opinion.  I have also used the ViewRanger website or Garmin Basecamp.

I have found the differences in estimated distance between the various methods to be negligible but the self-evidently, the more points you plot and the more accurately you place them, the better the estimate.

When I compare my actual kilometrage with my estimate, as recorded by Garmin or Samsung, we are talking minor variations in the first or even second decimal place.
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WhitstableDave

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Re: Measuring Route Distances
« Reply #3 on: 18:23:10, 17/08/20 »
I too mostly use the OS Maps website to plan routes. Like ninthace, I will occasionally switch to aerial view (or standard view / street level view). And I tend to plot more points than is strictly necessary.

I always record my walks with a GPS watch and export them to Google Earth. I've recorded nearly 900 walks in that way and I've found that the recorded walk is usually up to about 5% longer than the plotted route. There are obviously several reasons why that's the case and, in practice, I'll expect a planned 15 mile walk (say) to be closer to 16 miles.

BuzyG

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Re: Measuring Route Distances
« Reply #4 on: 23:58:00, 17/08/20 »
Walking Highlands has a really simple system for measuring walks.  O0  Google earth is ok, but doesn't appear to measure ascent very well, if at all at times.  The OS App and website seen to be the most accurate, but it's not as simple and frill fee as walking highlands. :-\


After I'm done measuring I generally delete the route.
« Last Edit: 00:01:13, 18/08/20 by BuzyG »

fatmanwalking

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Re: Measuring Route Distances
« Reply #5 on: 00:13:14, 18/08/20 »
I don't have a proper answer as I'm still sort of figuring this out a bit as I go, I have two different makes of phone that I have tried with the same program on android.

https://www.basicairdata.eu/projects/android/android-gps-logger/
There's an option to download topographical data so that the system can calculate your distance and elevation etc. I can only presume the software is accurate. I do love the fact there's no login to some subscription based website or requesting of my email address to use it. It just does the one thing, and seemingly well, I get a calculation of distance and a gpx/kml file for later viewing in other software like google earth.

However, when I tried on my cheapo android phone, the gps data was highly irregular. So much so that it said I had walked about my neighbourhood despite having not moved from my seat. Whereas on my more decent phone the data is rock solid stable and seems to make considerably more sense.

I hear that watches (perhaps just old ones?) tend to have issues with #1 finding gps satalites quickly, #2 being erratic, #3 just not being quite accurate enough.
I'm just making a thread about the watches now to find out more because new territory for me.

Mel

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Re: Measuring Route Distances
« Reply #6 on: 08:22:01, 18/08/20 »
I use the Bing Maps in OS map view and the measuring tool when all I want to do is measure the distance. 


Gives me a good enough ball park figure to work with when I'm in pondering mode. 


You can't save the plot or export it though - but that's not an issue for me.



Is the search over if you find nothing?
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fit old bird

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Re: Measuring Route Distances
« Reply #7 on: 08:51:47, 18/08/20 »
I don't plot a route in advance, I turn up at the start point,  and walk for however length of time I have allotted for it, 4 - 6 - 8 hours. When I get back I check the distance on bikehike. Doesn't matter if it is not 100% accurate. I don't have any hand held gadgets.


ilona

Jac

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Re: Measuring Route Distances
« Reply #8 on: 08:56:34, 18/08/20 »
I also use Bing maps - in OS mode - prior to walking or when I get back home.
On my mobile I have the basic, non-OS (free) Viewranger to record while walking.

The mileage on the two over 10-12 miles is pretty close..
So many paths yet to walk, so little time left

vizzavona

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Re: Measuring Route Distances
« Reply #9 on: 09:00:06, 18/08/20 »
Hello...using the Memory Maps on the PC.....use the Draw Track thing...accumulates the distance as the route is drawn  on screen.  Done either before or after the walk. Whenever I remember to do it.  Distance given in Kilometres. :)

gunwharfman

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Re: Measuring Route Distances
« Reply #10 on: 09:52:34, 18/08/20 »
I'm a bit like you Ilona. I roughly work out on Bing OS maps how long or far I can get over a given number of days, add one day there and one day back and then turn up at the start point. My map is on my phone and essentially thats it. I sometimes have pangs of regret that I didn't keep records of my hikes but that feeling soon passes. I keep meaning to try to work out in what year I walked a particular route but I never seem to get around to it.

BuzyG

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Re: Measuring Route Distances
« Reply #11 on: 11:09:08, 18/08/20 »
I sometimes have pangs of regret that I didn't keep records of my hikes but that feeling soon passes. I keep meaning to try to work out in what year I walked a particular route but I never seem to get around to it.

I use MS Excel to log all my walks jogs and climbs. I just record the basics. Distance, Time, Ascent, weather and a few route points to jog the grey cells. I don't trust any of the other Apps and sites to still be around in 20 years time. Assuming I am. ;D

(note: if any one has a pre big brother internet version. They still run on windows 10. I'm currently using office 98 on my home PC.)

ninthace

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Re: Measuring Route Distances
« Reply #12 on: 12:00:36, 18/08/20 »
This morning's walk was estimated to be 10.93 km using the OS website.  The actual distance, according to my phone gps running the ViewRanger app, was 11.02 km.  Since I parked the car about 50m from the start point and started the recording at the car, I reckon that is just about as spot on as it needs to be.
Exporting the gps trace back into the OS website gives an actual distance of 10.99 km.  GoogleEarth gives 11.0 km.  Pobably not worth losing sleep over which is the most accurate.  Bottom line is, the better your plotting, the better your distance estimate will be.
Estimated ascent/descent from the OS was 163m, recorded vertical was 156m on ViewRanger, GoogleEarth gives 154.  Dropping the trace back into OS gives 171m.  Given my statistically insignificant sample of one - GoogleEarth and ViewRanger are best for ascent/descent.  This backs up what I have noticed on every other walk I have done.

« Last Edit: 12:48:09, 18/08/20 by ninthace »
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Dovegirl

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Re: Measuring Route Distances
« Reply #13 on: 12:32:15, 18/08/20 »
I use Viewranger to plot walks. I put in a lot of waypoints to take into account the twists and turns of the path to try to get a reasonably accurate measure of the distance.

richardh1905

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Re: Measuring Route Distances
« Reply #14 on: 20:50:07, 21/08/20 »
I too use Viewranger, but the ascent and descent figures are definitely NOT to be trusted on steep ground, as the altitude mapping used is approximated - the Viewranger Landscape contour lines are suspiciously smooth and regular.
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