Skip to main content

Poorly Plotted Routes



  • TC

    I am somewhat old-fashioned in that I use the route with a map on my computer to understand it and to see what it looks like.  I use a combination of OS, OSM, Geograph and street-view.  Then I will walk with both an OS map and a GPS.  I would be happy so long as the route clearly showed the intention.  I would not be happy with one that went down the wrong side of a river, even though I would likely discover that at home. I think a good enough route plot is one that is not misleading at any point?  But that is me, I already posses hundreds of paper maps.  Perhaps other people don't want to buy paper, and just wish to trust to their GPS, and need even higher quality? It is so much easier to see your context on a paper map or a big screen than on the small screen of a GPS.

  • David Sanderson

    I think as a reviewer it's good to have an idea of what you're facing and do the prep but the end user (the people we are ultimately reviewing it for) shouldn't have to. If a Slow Way doesn't deliver the walker from end to end it's failed. I too, always take a paper map with me but that's in case of technical failure. My review is based on the idea of whether somebody who'd just downloaded the route to their phone and had no prior knowledge of the area could follow it without a hitch. I think your phrase "a good enough route plot is one that is not misleading at any point" is actually bang on and should be incorporated into the guidance!

  • Lynn Jackson

    I agree with both of your points and have had the same experience (although not as bad as you David). At one point the route had me walking along the middle of a canal in Sanlon One! And my latest route (Beewes) seemed to levitate from the ground to the top of Clifton Bridge.
    As I’ve had to create a new route for Beewes for other reasons I took the opportunity to tidy the route up around Clifton Bridge and riverside paths. But I didn’t do the same for Sanlon as the GPS did point me in the direction and I didn’t have the GPS in high enough resolution to cause confusion (although I did note the canal issue in Basecamp).

    I do have an urge to tidy up the original routes but I’m concerned that a plethora of new routes for small changes will confuse the intended users.

    I’m  not sure what the answer is, short of asking the central team to replace the ‘One’ routes with our more accurate routes and there isn’t a process for that at the moment.

  • Jane Taylor

    This is a helpful conversation (or maybe two conversations!) and good to know other people encountering similar issues.

    David - your initial question about looking at the route line in advance - I do this and I think as part of the review process this is a good step to do.  And also, as I know the area I'm reviewing I am interested to see how other people have routed.

    Plotting - I've got more and more nit picky about plotting as I've gone on, for me its been because of dodgy road crossings.  I think line accuracy matters in urban areas (where I am reviewing, SW London) to a fine level of detail - e.g. road crossing at drop kerbs for accessibility, or which side of the road to walk to get to a safe crossing point (rather than randomly drawing the line down the middle of the road).  Although I wouldn't fail for that, I have failed an otherwise excellent route for a single unsafe 'A' road crossing.

    The 'pre-walk check' step leads to Lynn's point about making small changes that for me would improve a route, because I can see in advance any missed opportunities for footpaths/cut throughs that the route maker maybe didn't spot.  That gives me a chance to reccy them while I walk the original route, and I am more likely to make up a new route option as a result that is similar to the original, but for me works better, because I prefer footpaths to roads - but that may not be everyone's preference.

    So I reckon if small adjustments will increase the star rating (in my judgment) then I will do that, because it's improving the Slow Ways network, and I leave a trail of new route options in may wake!  I too am a bit concerned that it will be confusing to users.  I know the plan is to use user ratings to rank route options, so I do what I can with reviews, star ratings and judicious use of the 'verify' button. 

    Another reason I'm adding new routes is where I recognise a need for genuine alternatives - e.g. a night-time option that is well lit but less green, or a 'more direct but less riverside' option.

    Like Lynn, my 'tidy up' instinct means I would like the facility to flag that a route should be removed because a more accurately drawn version is in place.  This would have to be followed up, but I think this would be a worthwhile exercise during the 'review' phase which is where we are.  However, I can think of instances where two options may be very close but still deserve their own space, at least for a while until more people have walked and reviewed.

  • rob bushby

    Really interesting, informative and insightful discussion to tune in to. Current phrasing, and the overall aim I guess, is for a route (and the network of routes) to be 'trusted' and 'credible' - and relates to many of the useful points made here. I think there's some helpful unpacking of a wee bit of the vagueness inherent in the phrase 'good enough' in the chat; and there's scope to reference the 'Methodology' in relation to this, too. Really useful pulling together of threads here. I don't have any immediate answers - other than I prefer specifics/objectivity to subjectivity/ambiguity - to add to the above chat, but will keep tuned in. Thanks.

  • Mike Davies

    I have been looking at a route from my village to the next town and I am a little concerned at the proposed plot. I suspect the original plotter has used aerial photography to suggest the route and doesn't have personal knowledge of the area. For instance the route starts from the village and is directed along a major road with no footpath and narrow grass verges - I would not consider this to be safe. It then turns up a private driveway to a house and continues along a field boundary where there is no path. I would note that this is in Scotland so it is technically legal but may not be the most appropriate path. Further on the route appears to follow the edge of forestry and across a hillside where again there is probably no path.

    I have not yet tried to walk/cycle this route as I would suspect it is not realistically feasible. I have uploaded an alternative route which is  less direct but uses existing paths and tracks. I haven't seen my suggestion on the website and am not sure how it would be made available.

  • Lynn Jackson

    Your your uploaded route should be available almost immediately Mike.

    This has happened to me recently, I waited until I realised that it was never going to appear so uploaded it again and it showed up straight away. So I would upload it again.

  • Ken

    Better late than never, I get around to reading these posts.

    We have all seen them, a four or five star rating with a comment, the path is closed here you will need to find another route. I suggest we have acredited reviewers and others. Like the earlier posts I have started checking the route before walking it for a review but it all takes lots of extra time. In the recent case I had to Google for the hints supplied to get the location then find the path reference number from an online map. Still no idea if the closure is still in place so another Google with the path number which did in this case direct me to the county council site with the closure notice. All much quicker to write up than do. Then find a way round the problem plot it and submit it. Two hours in the office, no wonder I don't get out walking too often. Yes I say the plot needs to be spot on we hope to encourage non walkers to get out on the Slow Ways.


Please sign in to leave a comment.

Powered by Zendesk