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Help, Hints and Tips on the Wild Yorkshire Way Website


Using the built-in Ordnance Survey mapping system

When you're out walking, do you sometimes send texts or messages to friends and family, to let them know where you are and that you're safe? I know I do, especially when I'm walking alone. On the Mapping page you can continuously share your progress on a walk and share it, so your friends can see where you are and track your progress on a map on their phone, tablet or laptop. Of course, you and your friends need an internet connection for it to work, and you need to enable JavaScript.

Anyway, on the mapping page you can do the usual things with the map, like zoom/pan using the controls at the top left, or dragging/scrolling with your mouse on a laptop. The Wild Yorkshire Way route is shown in brown, and alternatives (where present) in purple. Although you can use the map as it is for planning your route, the real power of Mapping on the site is to allow you to share your progress when walking, using the GPS in your phone or tablet, so your friends can see where you are and follow your progress. Before I go any further, it's important to point out that there some privacy implications here. If you set up the system to continually report your position, but then get tempted off route by someone you bumped into while wallowing in black ooze on Saddleworth Moor, your subsequent diversion will be visible to your friends unless you turn logging off, in which case they will then surely question why you have turned it off. So be aware that you are being tracked!

Following a friend's walk

Assuming one of your friends (or it could be me!) is out on a walk and has set up sharing (see below), here's how you can follow their walk at home. Firstly, open the Mapping page, and at the top left you will see a drop down list where you can select your friend's walk. If he/she has specified a PIN, you'll need to enter this before his/her walk will become visible, but if there's no PIN the walk should appear in blue on the map. There may be marker symbols, which you can click on to read comments made by your friend on the route. The map will automatically centre itself around your friend's latest position, but you can use the Manual Pan button to disable this if you prefer.

Setting up an account to share your walk

There's one small step to make before you can use the website to share your walking route to your friends, but you only have to do this once. So, how does it work? Well, firstly, you have to Register as a user of the system, so other people can't set up walking routes in your name. Click/tap the Login/Register button, then enter your chosen user name and click/tap Register. Now choose a password and confirm it, and click Register to create an account. I'm sure I don't need to tell you not to forget your password, but if you do get in touch with me via the feedback form and I'll sort it.

Once you've registered, click New to set up a walk you want to share. Enter a name for your walk, together with the walk date and optional 5 digit PIN. The PIN is to prevent your walk being seen by anyone else, so be careful who you give your PIN to. Setting up a PIN is your choice, but it you don't specify one your walk will be available to anyone on the internet. When you click Create, you walk will be created, but of course since you've not set off yet there'll nothing to see.

Sharing progress on your walk

The general idea of the system is that you use your GPS system on you phone to continually log your position. Provided you have an internet connection, this is then stored in a log file on the Wild Yorkshire Way website, where your friends can access it if they know your PIN. They will then be able to see your track on a map, together with any comments you choose to upload.

The first way to upload your position is to use the Wild Yorkshire Way website itself. To use this, click/tap the Log button to open the Progress Log service, which look up your current position using the GPS on your phone, which must of course be enabled. Once your position has been found, click Update to store your current position in the log, with an optional comment if you wish.

The above method works, but does require you to use your phone for every position you want to log. This is OK if you just want to report your position every hour or so, but if you want to let your friends see your actual route you need to log more points. To do this, you'll need to install an app on your phone. I use an Android phone, and I use GPSLogger for Android to log my position automatically on a walk. Once set up, this works automatically with my phone in my pocket.

The set up for this system is fairly complex, the first time, so if you want to use it use the feedback form to get in touch and I'll tell you what to do. If you use an iPhone or another non-Android phone, let me know which GPS logging app you want to use and I'll try to get it working.