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Five Walking Guide App Myths….

Tens of thousands of people enjoy using the iFootpath App and other walking guide Apps to successfully follow great walks in the UK whether the walks are nearby to where they live or further afield. They gain the confidence to find & enjoy wonderful hikes and strolls by themselves or with family & friends. Often, however, we hear that many people are put off using a walking guide App because of Myths about what an App can or can't do. We've presented below some answers to the more common worries that people have mentioned to us through email and social media...

So, if you are reluctant to use a walking guide App have a quick read through... if you do not find the answer to your worry or fear about walking with the help of an App please contact us and we will try our best to help.

Myth 1 – Because you always need a mobile phone signal or internet connection the walking guide App will not work in remote areas

We hear this one quite a lot via emails and social media. Usually in the form of "… your App maybe great in the cities but we like to walk in a remote area so it will not work." So, here's the rub…. Apps are created so that you do not need a constant connection to a mobile phone signal or internet connection. If that were the case then we may as well stick to a website. Apps are just little pieces of software Claire Holding iPhonethat run happily on the device's operating system (Android or iOS). You will need an internet connection (WiFi or 3/4G) to download an App from the App store, register and download specific content like the iFootpath walking guides But once these are on your device you will not need to reconnect.

Tip: To make sure you always have a full map of the walk on the iFootpath App open your chosen walking guide and navigate to the map. Open this and zoom in and out a few times to see the map appear when connected to the internet. This will then cache (temp store) onto your device.

Myth 2 – You have to have Ordnance Survey Maps on an App to find your way.

Ordnance Survey (often called OS maps but they should not be confused with Open Source Maps) are a great way to navigate and show (depending on the scale) all Public Rights of Way (public footpaths, bridleways, etc.). However, we have found that the most important part of a good walking guide is the GPX track of the route (plotted on to the map within the App by the walkers that created the walking guide). With the iFootpath App, you will then see your exact location relative to the route. The hybrid Google-powered map that the iFootpath App uses also shows road names, landmarks as well as an aerial view of the landscape. The combination of Google map information, the satellite view, iFootpath GPX track and your exact location (from GPS technology) means that you can quickly get back on track should you take a wrong turn. You may also find that in some areas such as forests and parks Google maps, in fact, show you more information than an Ordnance Survey map. We don't use Ordnance Survey maps on the iFootpath App as they cost a lot of money to buy (for the App user) and for us to maintain.

Tip: Your device will allow you to run more than one App at a time so can use an App that has Ordnance Survey maps (you will need to purchase a subscription) at the same - just flip between the two.

Myth 3 – Apps use all your battery and then you cannot make an emergency call.

It is, of course, true that an App will use the battery on your device - but then what's a smart device for if it's not to run Apps? I guess the real fear is that you could end up in a remote area with no battery to run your navigation App and no way to call anyone… Battery technology is constantly improving so devices released in the last couple of years rarely run low on battery power if you start the day with a full battery. Here's a few suggestion to mitigate the fear if you do have battery concerns.Battery pack for phone
1 – Take a hard copy of the map and the walking guide with you
2 – Take a backup battery for your device, they can be purchased for a few pounds and are also light and small to carry
3 – Take a spare phone. Lots of us have spare phones at home following an upgrade so you could get a pay-as-you-go sim card for it. 
4 – Take measures to manage battery life – close unwanted Apps, resist checking emails, turn down the screen brightness, etc.
5 – Charge up your device before you go on the walk

Tip: In addition to the suggestions above why not take an old phone with you too. If you have an old smartphone you may be able to download the iFootpath App and follow the walk even if your device does not have a sim card. (See Myth 5)

Myth 4 – Free Apps are the best… … do not need to pay for a great walking guide App

There is an old saying that there is no such thing as a free lunch. Indeed, many Apps that look free require in-app purchases to unlock the content. Check to see what you get before investing a lot of time and effort on free Apps. There are of course lots of good free Apps too. Many are created by big companies such as Nike and Fitbit, they make the money through selling other products like sportswear, fitness bands, etc. So take advantage of what they offer for free.

But, don't expect a company to create and maintain hundreds of walking guides just for love. There has to be an income somewhere…. Many like Viewranger charge for some of the walk downloads and also for extra maps. Others like Walkingworld and Go Jauntley have a subscription model.

At iFootpath we charge a one-off fee of £1.99 for the App and then you can enjoy all the current and all future walks for free.

Tip: Before downloading an App, read the App description and pop along to the App website to find out more.

Myth 5 – If I change my phone/device I will have to buy the App again

So, this can be true…. but normally once you have paid for an App you will not need to buy it again when you upgrade your phone or tablet. The iFootpath App is sold through App stores that include the Apple/iTunes App store (iOS), Google Play (Android), Amazon App Store (Android) and Samsung (Android). You purchase the App through the App Store and the App Store manages the payment. The payment information is not passed to the App provider e.g. iFootpath. The App is associated with your App store account and as long as you keep that App store account you will always have the App. If you delete an App from your device, you can re-install it whenever you want. Now here's the thing…… if you have more than one device with the ‘same' account you can install the App on all of your devices – there is no limit. If you have devices with different App store accounts, you will need to buy the App for each account. As the account is App store specific you will always have to buy the App again if you have an Android device and an Apple device. There is nothing that the App provider can do. 

Tip: With Android devices check which App store you used to download the App and if you are using Google Play open the Play Store and then tap the menu at the top (to the left of the search box) and you will see your account email address that you have logged in with.

So, there we have it, five walking App myths. If you need any help with iFootpath or the iFootpath App just get in touch and we will do our very best to answer any questions or problems that you may have....


Walking Apps

iFootpath  - Google Play - Amazon - Apple App Store

ViewRanger - Google Play - Amazon - Apple App Store

iWalkCornwall - Google Play  - Apple App Store


Things to take with you

Phone battery packs

Ordnance Survey Maps


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Wednesday, 21 February 2018
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The length of our walking guides is given in miles and rounded to the nearest full mile (whole number) for simplicity. For short walks (of less than 2 miles) or walks that have a length that ends in .5, a more accurate walk length may be given in the first section of the walk introduction. For example, the Length in the header may be listed as 6 miles, and the introduction may confirm that the exact length of the walk is 5.5 miles. The walk length is calculated from the GPS file that was created by the walk author GPS tracking the walk whilst walking, using the iFootpath App GPS Tracker, meaning it is very accurate. Our bespoke tracker is particularly detailed and plots a walkers position about every 10 seconds. The tracker is calibrated to match two other reputable map and walking sources, Ordnance Survey and Nike. As with all standardised walk and map lengths, the distance does not take account of hills and slopes, just the distance you would measure using a piece of string on a flat map version of the terrain, so hilly walks will feel longer than stated. If you track the route using another GPS App or Tracker App or Fitness Device, you can expect the distance you record to be different due to different calibrations. This is particularly true of those Apps and devices that count your motion and steps – these can only guess the distance you have travelled with each step and so are much less accurate.

Grade (Boots)

The grade of a walk is an indicator of how difficult the terrain is that you will encounter along the way. This does not take into account the walk length but does suggest how challenging the walk will be. It takes into account things like hills, path surfaces and obstacles (like stiles, gates, steps and rock scrambles). An easy walk, graded as 1 (and shown as 1 Boot) indicates a walk that is essentially flat, has no sharp hills to climb, has no stiles, is easy to navigate (probably along a well-worn path) and is suitable for most levels of fitness. A difficult walk, graded as 5 (and represented by 5 Boots) indicates a walk that is strenuous and involves steep ascents and/or descents. It may be technically challenging involving difficult terrain or obstacles that require scrambling with your hands. Please note that the grading for walks is subjective and open to interpretation and should only be used as a guide when selecting a walk.

NOTE: Do be aware that the level of stamina required for any walk will vary depending on both the walk length and the difficulty grade - you should only walk within your limits.

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