1,000 Steps Project - Map Your Own Walking Paths Using Google Earth!




Introduction: 1,000 Steps Project - Map Your Own Walking Paths Using Google Earth!

About: I'm a community manager here at instructables! Mountain hermit by day, stitch witch at night. Not a fan of social media, but sometimes you can find me on Twitter at @makingjiggy ^_^

This is a project that I worked on in my sports psychology class this semester. The class was split up into groups and given pedometers, which we would use at various sites in Louisville to make interesting walking paths. We would then map the paths on Google Earth and try to make them as easy to understand as we could.

The whole point of this project is to get people involved - just a little bit of physcial activity is a good thing, and this program is easily acessible to nearly everyone. By using Google Earth, you can easily find a good place to walk close to where you work or live, and find out the exact distance you'll be walking. You can also share this information with others and hopefully get them to make a healthy choice!

Our final project in the class was to get someone to walk one of our paths with us, and as that didn't work out I've decided to instead share this with everyone here. We (my group) tried to get the University of Lousville to use our finished walking path as an orientation walk, but with no luck.

In this instructable I'll explain 1,000 Steps and how to create your own walking paths using Google Earth.

The offical website is here: http://louisville.edu/~dnpate01/index.html

Also, the opening photo is from Brad Alsop's site, http://www.run131.com/ . I highly recommend visiting and reading about him and his mission. My class got to meet him and he is truly an amazing athlete!

Step 1: Why 1,000 Steps?

1,000 steps is an easy task, something that can be done during your break at work or after you get home in very little time. The idea behind this is to introduce people to activity, and to get people to realize that it is not impossible to work a little physical activity into their day.

When most people think of activity, they think of going to the gym three days a week or running a mile before they go to work - they don't realize that they can work up to things like that. Fitness is not something that can be achieved instantly - you must work toward it!

The 1,000 Steps program is a simple way to introduce people to physical activity. They can start at the level they feel comfortable with, and they can modify the paths to fit their time limits. You can start at 1,000 extra steps a day and quickly work your way up!

Main points of the 1,000 Steps Program
- easy to do, even with time constraints
- modifiable to fit your fitness level
- a good introduction to physcial activity
- can be done with friends and family
- requires no extra equipment
- suitable for the eldery and overweight - walking is not as strenuous as you might think, and you can certainly slow down your pace and still reap the benefits!

Step 2: Pick Your Walking Path!

First of all - pick a location!

You'll need to decide where you would like it to be. Near your office? Near your home? At a park that is easily accessible?

Once you've figured this out, it is best to go scope out the area. Find an interesting path and walk it! In my group's case, we basically walked a random path in the area and wrote down where we went and what was around our path. We also took a pedometer and logged the number of steps. We then translated that to a map.

Of course, you don't NEED to map it, but mapping it is a good way to get other people involved! And it will also let you know exactly how far you're walking along with your handy pedometer.

If you want to share your path with other people, here are some tips to make it more interesting!
- make a cue sheet - this will let people know they're on the right path!
- take pictures! Show people the landmarks you're passing! Show them pictures of you having fun while walking the path.
- set the path close to places of interest. This way people can learn something while they're out walking. You can add notes about the places they're passing on the cue sheet.
- Walk the path with them! Recruit family members and friends - perhaps they'll like it and make paths to share with you!

Now that you've figured out where your walking path will be and where you'll go with it, go to http://maps.google.com/ to get started!

Step 3: Start Your Map!

From the Google maps main page, click on the "My Maps" tab. (Note: you will need a gmail account to utilize this feature!)

Then select "Create new map".

You will be prompted to enter a title and description for your map. I tend to name the map after the place I'll be walking, and the description will normally include how long the walk takes and the approximate number of steps involved!

You can also choose for this to be a public or unlisted map. So far, all of mine are public. :D

Step 4: Mapping Your Path.

To zoom in on the area you'll be mapping, enter your location in the search bar at the top of the page.

Once you've found the right location, you can zoom in by double clicking the area or using the magnifying bar on the left. I tend to use both. :P

I prefer to use the view mode "Hybrid" which seems to have been renamed "Satellite" - this will show you the streets and a picture of the landscape. This makes it easier to see sidewalks and the like.

Now that you're all zoomed in go back to the "My Maps" tab and find your starting point. Pick the entrance to a building or a landmark. Then click on the line tool - it's the third from the left.

Click to start the line and click to continue the line - only straight lines are possible, so sometimes you'll need to make a lot of small lines to round a corner. Double click to end the line. When you're done, a box will pop up and prompt you to name your path and enter a description. You can also alter the color and thickness of the line by clicking the line icon in the upper right hand corner. This is useful for documenting path that don't follow the same path to and and from the starting place. :D

Now you'll want to add start markers and places of interest, and maybe some pictures!

Step 5: Make Your Map Fancy!

Enter landmarks and starting and ending points on the map by using the icons.

You can place an icon on the map by clicking the second button from the left. Then simply drag it over the map to the appropriate place and click to set in down.

A box will come up which will allow you do describe your icon, and you will also be allowed to add pictures in the description box by using HTML. You can also change the way the icon looks by clicking the icon in the upper right hand corner - I tend to use the little walking people for my start points, and the thumbtacks to show places of interest.

Please check out the photos for additional explanation. :D

Step 6: Once You've Added Enough Landmarks and Pictures, Save Your Map!

You will need to save this as a KML file so that it can be sent to others.

To do this, make sure your path is saved and click "View in Google Earth". This will download a KML file of your map to your desktop. You can then send this KML file to others and they can view your walking path in Google Earth.

You can also view these maps at http://maps.google.com/ but I find it easier to keep track of them through KML files. :)

Step 7: My Group's Finished Walk, to Better Explain How This Works.

Here is a link and a copy of the file of my group's U of L campus walk. You can see that we've added pictures and color coded everything to make it easy to understand. We've also provided walking cue sheets in the line desciptions.

I hope this instructable encourages you to try using Google Earth to map your walks and runs! And I hope you share those maps with someone you care about and encourage them to get healthy with you!


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    10 years ago on Introduction

    I like this. I will have to start posting the photographic results of my walks. Thanks for the idea!


    Reply 13 years ago on Introduction

    Yep. Lived here for five years now. :) It's a pretty nice city, but I think I still prefer the country!

    Lithium Rain
    Lithium Rain

    Reply 13 years ago on Introduction

    Well, I didn't see much of the city, we stayed in a national park. It was gorgeous.


    13 years ago on Step 7

    cool, i didnt know you coud measure distances with google. i am a user for life.

    its a lion
    its a lion

    14 years ago on Introduction

    i think willpower might also be something to throw in there. my friend got talked into going for a midnight jog one night around his school. he said it about killed him. but he kept it up, and now he runs about 3 miles every day. me on the other hand. i went to the gym one day, said i need to go back. i havent been back since. i also said i was going to start doing a few exercises every day like sit ups and push ups, that lasted about a week.


    Reply 14 years ago on Introduction

    Yeah, it's true. I wish willpower was something I could teach people. :P It's just so hard to get started, and that's why moral support is so important. If you're doing this stuff with other people you're more likely to keep going.


    14 years ago on Introduction

    Lol. Nearly as bad as me. I use google earth as a street mpa on my wireless broadband when i travel.