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iFootpath Expert: Uncovering our Elevation Charts

Are you enjoying the ups and downs of walking in the UK? With the iFootpath Elevation Chart, you can precisely see what ups and downs you are likely to encounter on an iFootpath walk - every step of the way. 

We are keen to get people walking by creating high-quality walking guides that give everyone the confidence and info they need to give walking a go. You may have noticed that our guides are very comprehensive, with details on how to find the start point, full details of any access challenges (like stiles, gates, hills, livestock – we have several customers with disabilities and/or dogs that rely on this heavily), full turn-by-turn directions and photos plus a GPS map that we think is the most detailed in the market. Now, you can view an Elevation Chart on the website and understand better how steep or hilly the walks are.

What is an Elevation Chart? 

The iFootpath Elevation Chart will show you the elevation above sea level for the whole route in a graphical form. You will also see the highest point and the lowest point. If you hover over any spot on the elevation chart, you will see the corresponding point on the map. The green map pin will have an 'M' in the centre - (M for Manual). You can also 'play' the Elevation Chart, click on the green play button in the bottom left of the Elevation Chart, and you will see a blue map pin moving along the track on the map with an 'A' in the centre - (A for Automatic). As the pin moves, you will be able to see the corresponding position on the Elevation Chart and the height at that point.

iFootpath Elevation Chart

The heights are shown in metres (one metre is approximately one yard or three feet), and you will also be able to see the highest and lowest point of the route. The term elevation is mainly used when referring to points on the Earth's surface, while altitude or geopotential height is used for points above the surface, such as an aircraft in flight or a spacecraft in orbit, and depth is used for points below the surface.

How should I use the Elevation Chart? 

For those of you that want a few hills to walk or maybe a good workout while you are a walking, you may look for walks with steep gradients and those that want fewer hills will look for a flatter overall landscape. (Discover walks with Easier Access)

You may have to do a little maths, as the highest point is above sea level and not necessarily the total climb. Let's put some of the heights in perspective

  • Two storey house - height to the gutter on a two storey house is about 5.7 metres
  • Nelson's column - the whole monument is 51.6 metres
  • The Shard - the highest point is 308.5 metres
  • Snowden - the highest mountain in Wales has an elevation of 1,085 metres
  • Ben Nevis - the highest peak in the British Isles is 1,345 metres

In addition to looking at the height that you may need to climb on a walk from the Elevation Chart, you can see also at a glance the Boot rating of each walk. This grading 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 trail that is mostly 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 or descents. It may be technically challenging involving difficult terrain or obstacles that require scrambling with your hands. 

Cornwall Boots.png

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. 

How do I get the Elevation Chart feature?

The Chart is available for every walk on the iFootpath website. All you need to do is to become an iFootpath Fan. You can do this for free for 40 days or become a lifetime member for a small donation. Once you are an iFootpath Fan log in and you will see the Elevation Chart on every walking guide on the website. What's more, if you become a lifetime iFootpath Fan you will be supporting iFootpath and also have access to some more Fan-only features and new Fan features in the future. See a list of Fan features and donation options. 

Why do you charge a fee for this feature? 

Providing the Elevation Chart and indeed the website navigation and search maps mean that we have to pay the map provider a fee (in this case Google) everytime they are viewed. So requesting a donation towards these costs is one way that we can manage our outgoings with our aspiration of making walking accessible, safe and enjoyable for everyone.

Is the Elevation Chart available on the iFootpath App?

No, it is unlikely that we will add the feature to the iFootpath App. It would be expensive to implement and also a little troublesome to manage within your device. On the website, there is a little program that runs in the background that asks Google for the elevation of every track point associated with the route  - this requires a live internet connection. Downloading, storing and presenting the data for offline use would require us to make some major (costly) changes to the App and increase the size of every walk download.

However, if you want to check your altitude while you walk there are lots of apps out there that can provide that information for you. There are also several Android and Apps on each platform and you may find that any fitness App that you use will show you the height climbed.


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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