Shuffle your feet, find a new street
April 4, 2020 11:22 AM   Subscribe

Like taking walks just to get the hell outside these days? But you want variety, and not the same ol' walk around the block every time? Then, input your starting address into Routeshuffle, enter the target length of your walk, and Routeshuffle will generate a random strolling course for you.

Works better for the more densely-populated areas, I'd imagine—but rural-dwellers, please report back. There is a premium option (pretty cheap) that allows you to export, save, and schedule the creation of automatic maps, too.

🎸 ♬ ♪Gonna walk around the block tonight
Gonna walk walk walk till the broad daylight
Gonna walk, gonna walk around the block
♫ 🎷
posted by not_on_display (31 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
Update: you can manually adjust the length of your walk using decimal places as well. Trying it out on some rural maps, that decimal point can make all the difference.
posted by not_on_display at 11:29 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]

Ah, this is very cool! I've wanted something like this.
posted by oulipian at 11:30 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]

It's an interesting idea, but it doesn't seem to know much about what streets a local would consider walkable. Which is not necessarily a surprise, but what _I_ want is a neighborhood walk, not up and down major streets. Even if traffic is down.
posted by the antecedent of that pronoun at 11:45 AM on April 4 [12 favorites]

This is cool, but it seems to be using data from OpenStreetMap without the required attribution.
posted by teraflop at 11:51 AM on April 4 [4 favorites]

you can manually adjust the length of your walk using decimal places as well long as it's over 1.0. If I enter 1, or even 1.1, it gives me routes closer to 2 miles which I don't want at the moment, so I tried setting it to .9 and it choked. The routes also tend to go back-and-forth along long stretches of roads, whereas I'd prefer more circular and less repetitive routes (I can always walk one in the other direction another time for more variety). And, as the antecedent of that pronoun says, it seems to favor a nearby busy 4-lane main road, which no thanks even though it does have sidewalks.
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:54 AM on April 4

Yeah, the more I mess around with it, the more I'm finding little ways the programmer could improve it. Keep in mind that this is written by a high-schooler, who would probably love your comments and suggestions so he can make it more usable. (And $5/month to a high schooler is not bad dosh.)
posted by not_on_display at 11:55 AM on April 4 [6 favorites]

I used to walk around Chicago in the 1970's, which was arguably the center of Surrealist activity in the States at the time, and use a wristwatch to randomize my stroll. Right, left, or straight, depending on where the second hand was at the end of the block. I ended up in some interesting neighborhoods, of course.
posted by kozad at 12:14 PM on April 4 [20 favorites]

One other improvement I'd suggest: take terrain into account. In a hilly city, different 3-mile walks can burn significantly different amounts of calories.
posted by PhineasGage at 12:18 PM on April 4 [1 favorite]

use a wristwatch to randomize my stroll. Right, left, or straight, depending on where the second hand was at the end of the block

Took me a minute. I had to convert the wristwatch back into analog.
posted by Silvery Fish at 12:20 PM on April 4

Out here in my part of the sticks, for whatever reason, the map source has driveways (including mine) shown as streets, and suggested walks take you up those driveways.

Good way to get bit, shot, yelled at, or at least some curtain-fluttering.
posted by maxwelton at 12:48 PM on April 4 [4 favorites]

(hides street Atlas)
posted by clavdivs at 12:48 PM on April 4

Hey, cool! I got a walk that's basically a fun variation on the loop I've been mostly sticking to, so I'm kinda looking forward to this. I'm in a pretty dense, residential area, so it's not a great surprise that this works for me, mind.

(This comment also brought to you by me stumbling over my actual dream house on this morning's ramble, so I am very primed to be ready for a tiny neighborhood Adventure.)
posted by kalimac at 1:19 PM on April 4 [4 favorites]

I asked for a 1.5 mile route and it gave me a 9 mile route. Okay.
posted by obfuscation at 1:44 PM on April 4

I asked for a 3 mile route and it gave me 1.5 miles directly uphill and then back down which, I guess, but not ideal.
posted by jeather at 2:02 PM on April 4 [1 favorite]

I asked for 3 miles (ca. 5 km) and I keep get getting 8-10 miles one way, so 20 miles RT.
posted by COD at 2:06 PM on April 4

So this route is a superset of what I walked this morning. It's kind of a tiresome tool that it only works in miles in this metric country. Also, the distance seems to vary randomly: I asked for 1 mile, got 2.6.

seems to be using data from OpenStreetMap without the required attribution.

I was about to say the same on first load, but it's there on reload. As a bunch of the paths I put into OSM in my neighbourhood are using it, you're damn right I was going to slap them with an attrib demand. It's hilarious seeing a previously insouciant developer whose app hits the Lacking proper attribution list getting worn down by the constant barrage from OSM contributors. Well, I find it hilarious.

But something bugs me about this. From the About:
I coded straight into Glitch, an awesome free web editor …
(emphasis mine) in the same article as:
But then I thought about monetization. How could I make money from this? …
just didn't sit right. You've used free data and resources (most likely Mapbox's router, which is free or very cheap up to a certain number of hits a month) yet you feel you need to make money out of a project that you admit took a one not-very-experienced programmer a few today to knock together?
posted by scruss at 2:17 PM on April 4 [6 favorites]

It's a great "idea'" I think. He should put it on GitHub and recruit some contributors. Lotta bored people these days. But way not ready for prime time (or a commercial tier) from comments above.

PS also agree he needs to get his attribution shit straight.
posted by j_curiouser at 2:34 PM on April 4 [5 favorites]

Looks like it's probably using OSM. Works great in my small town where there are a lot of trails and off road connections.
posted by humboldt32 at 3:20 PM on April 4

I tried it three times and it hasn’t started with a mile of my location.
posted by jvbthegolfer at 3:25 PM on April 4

I'm seeing the standard Mapbox “© Mapbox © OpenStreetMap …” attribution at the bottom right. Are others not?

Some OSM contributors are not happy with Mapbox's attribution. But it's all OSM in the backend: Mapbox is nothing without it.
posted by scruss at 3:27 PM on April 4

Note that this website isn't new, it was launched in 2018 (see the About page). The missing attribution makes me like it a lot less.

Also, you can click the "mi" to switch to km.
posted by oulipian at 3:36 PM on April 4 [3 favorites]

Yeah, I'm seeing the attribution link now, but it definitely wasn't there when I checked a few hours ago.
posted by teraflop at 4:15 PM on April 4 [1 favorite]

I've had to switch to walking the neighbourhood, as my usual method of exercise of climbing the Wentworth Steps has been closed due to Covid. Which I get, but it was my primary way to physical and mental health, and having that taken away is frustrating. So many changes and disruptions, and the one thing that was helping me cope best gets taken too. Great.

My neighbourhood walks are fine, I guess, but sure, I could use a change.

So I type in my address to this router, and the first hit... takes me right up the Wentworth Steps.

posted by Capt. Renault at 4:37 PM on April 4

From the developer (whom I contacted directly about the OSM attribution):
Thanks for the feedback. I'm working on a Routeshuffle 2.0 revamp now, which will have turn-by-turn directions built-in. Because I'm a student, I have a lot of time to work on the new version as I am home because of the virus. And as the OpenStreetMap citation, I'm not sure how I overlooked that (I'm a dues-paying member of the organization). The citation is now there. Hope you are staying well!
So, he is open and does respond politely to direct feedback... send him your concerns if you would like to see this work the way you'd like?
posted by not_on_display at 5:06 PM on April 4 [5 favorites]

I'm sure it's a tricky algorithm to find an exact length route on the twisty New England roads and paths but out of 5-6 rolls it came up with pretty wretched routes around my general rambling ground. There are some really pleasant walk/bike trails along Alewife brook and it managed to choose a bit of path and a lot of restricted highway. Probably useful for a new area to get ideas, but not immediately impressed.
posted by sammyo at 5:53 PM on April 4

Finding this and trying it with the address I grew up at after reading the article about Armenians and Americans kind of drives home the sheer emptiness and lack of walkability of the American suburbs.
posted by DoctorFedora at 11:33 PM on April 4

Out here in my part of the sticks, for whatever reason, the map source has driveways (including mine) shown as streets, and suggested walks take you up those driveways.

This seems to be true for the UK as well - driveways and private roads are all included in routes. Just using places where either me or people I know have lived it has suggested routes including:
- a walk which had both the local red light district and the internal roads of a refinery (locked, secured and warning-signed for good reason).
- along the secured routes between bonded whisky warehouses
- several trips up driveways and into back gardens
- a lovely loop around the local infectious diseases unit (though labelled as such on the map, and not normally a bad walk to take)
posted by Vortisaur at 3:05 AM on April 5 [2 favorites]

Can we stop being nice about minimum viable products now? Haven't we seen enough of them yet?
posted by thatwhichfalls at 4:31 AM on April 5

Can we stop harshing on nice kids who are offering a well-meaning, imperfect personal project for free?
posted by PhineasGage at 7:39 AM on April 5 [8 favorites]

I like it! Works pretty well in my neighborhood, I think I’ll try it for my next few morning walks.
posted by Secretariat at 6:38 PM on April 5

Used it this morning and saw some unfamiliar but cool houses. Spouse complained about cognitive load required to discuss route, but I kind of like discussion and had a good walk!
posted by Secretariat at 9:55 AM on April 6 [1 favorite]

« Older Essential Labor: Underpaid And In Harm’s Way   |   “The only thing is this world I’m afraid of is God... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments