FAQ for the iWalk Cornwall app

Contents


    Buying walks

    For troubleshooting any issues buying walks see the platform-specific troubleshooting guide either for Apple or Android.

    If I change phones, will I have access to my walks?

    Your walks are in-app purchases from Apple or Google which are stored in your Apple account or Google account alongside any apps you've bought from the App Store/Google Play. You can use the relevant link below to check what's in your Apple/Google account:

    Provided your new phone is on the same platform as your old phone and is signed into the platform with the same Apple/Google account, then you can use "Restore Purchases" on the home screen of the app to download the walks from Apple/Google to your new device. You can also use the same approach to share walks between your phone and tablet (provided they are on the same platform).

    Note that Apple and Google currently don't provide any mechanism to transfer in-app purchases either between accounts on the same platform or to their rival's platform (i.e. they do NOT support moving in-app purchases from iPhone to Android or vice versa).

    If you've changed platforms, note that the iWalk Cornwall app doesn't need a SIM card so you can still use your old phone for the walks you've purchased on that platform and you can still get updates for those walks over WiFi.

    Can I share walks with a family member?

    Apple/Google make in-app purchases available to any devices signed-in to the platform with the SAME account. "Restore purchases" on the home screen of the app will fetch these.

    Cross-account "family sharing" of walks is currently not possible.

    Navigating routes

    Can I do the circular walk starting from part-way round the route?

    Yes, using the following "hack", although you'll need to remember where to finish! When you reach a direction point on the route, the app will offer to start the walk from here (accept). Follow the walk until you reach what is normally the end of the route (the distance/time remaining are to here, not where you joined it). Here, do "Restart Walk" to continue on what is normally the start of the walk until you reach the point where you joined the walk. Note that once you restart the walk, the app won't know where you are intending to finish so the distance/time to end of walk stats won't be meaningful since you'll be stopping short. There are some more tips here.

    Can I do the walk in the opposite direction?

    This is not possible because the direction wording/landmarks and geolocation are all predicated on doing the walk in a particular direction. This information is triple-tested in the field which already requires a substantial amount of effort. An alternative set of directions for the reverse route would require the same level of testing which would nearly double the production and maintenance costs of the route navigation information. It takes roughly three years to work through all the routes re-checking them. Doubling this would lead to an unacceptable loss of accuracy of the walks.

    The map screen will track your position even if you aren't following the directions so it technically is possible to navigate backwards using just the map but it's not really the same thing as following directions and being warned if you're off route. In general, starting a route part-way round and following it in the written direction is the better option.

    Can I use the app to navigate along footpaths which are not part of the walk route?

    As well as the obvious lack of directions, this is not recommended:

    • All other paths you're likely to notice are shown on the map within the app to help you find your bearings when you are on the route. Not all of these have public rights of way. Their presence on the map does not imply a right of way. You should consult an OS map or the Cornwall Council mapping service if you want to determine if there is a public or permissive right of way along a footpath not on the walk route.
    • Paths which are not on the route have not been checked for positional accuracy to the level that the paths forming the route have.

    How long will the walk take?

    To estimate that, you'll need to work out your personal average walking speed which will be somewhere in the range 1-3 mph and then you can divide the length shown on the walk by this. The app calculates this as you walk along and uses this to estimate the time remaining for the walk. It's also shown at the end when the walk is completed so you can build up a picture of how fast you walk to be able to do rough estimations yourself. You'll also find it will vary with season (muddy paths slow you down as does very hot weather).

    Why does my GPS tracker say the walk is longer?

    Whilst the iWalk Cornwall app knows the exact route and can therefore accurately measure its length, your GPS tracker has to estimate distance based on GPS positions. Each GPS reading contains several metres of error. Your phone delivers roughly one reading every second and so the resulting accumulation of errors can result an overestimate of distance around 10-20%. See the article here for a detailed statistical explanation or a simpler summary here.

    What does the walk grade correspond to?

    The scale is based on walk steepness:

    • 1: Easy - no steep gradients
    • 2: Easy-Moderate - some gradients but nothing too steep or long
    • 3: Moderate - involves some steepish gradients but OK for anyone of average fitness
    • 4: Moderate-Strenuous - some "proper" steep gradients; likely to be hard going unless you are fairly fit
    • 5: Strenuous - lots of "proper" steep gradients; don't attempt unless you are fit

    Note that the grade of the walk is based only on steepness and not length to give the option of selecting longer walks without any really steep bits. For an "exhaustingness" scale, take into account both the steepness grade and the length and also the weather (both in terms of heat and mud). Also bear in mind anything listed challenges section that might be relevant to you to get an overall idea of how challenging the walk might be.

    Also note that because iWalk Cornwall is exclusive to Cornwall, the steepness grades are on a local scale running from “easy” (for Cornwall) to “strenuous” (as it gets in Cornwall) with the majority still falling the middle at “moderate”. Very little of Cornwall is flat so bear in mind that the easier walks here are not equivalent to walking in a flat area such as the Thames Valley or Norfolk. Conversely the most strenuous walks are not as strenuous as some in mountainous areas such as Scotland or the Lake District.

    Suitability for pushchairs or wheelchairs

    See the Access on Wheels section on the Accessibility page.

    Phones and batteries

    Does the app work offline without any wifi/mobile data/internet?

    Yes. You only need internet to buy a walk. Once downloaded, the entire walk can be navigated without any internet. If internet happens to be available, a few extra "bells and whistles" are available such as photos for some of the facts, but all the core functionality - including the directions and map - works completely offline.

    What if my phone crashes during the walk?

    If this happens and you had the iWalk app running at the time, it will remember which direction you got to. When you restart your phone and run the app again, you can continue from where you were.

    What can I do to avoid running out of battery?

    The GPS circuitry and numerical processing that the phone operating system has to do for GPS is quite power-hungry. There's not much the app can do about that as GPS is the whole point. The app keeps its own CPU footprint to a minimum by only redrawing the map after you've moved more than a certain distance.

    A fully-charged phone battery that isn't too old and degraded will typically last a walk. However we strongly recommend investing in an external battery and taking this along as a backup. This is often described as a "complete no-brainer" as, for around £20, you can get something with many times the capacity of the phone's battery so you can walk from dawn until dusk without worrying about battery capacity ever again.

    The app monitors how fast your battery is draining throughout the walk and if it looks like it's going to run out before you finish the walk, it will remind you to plug in your external battery or offer you some options to conserve battery power if you're caught short.

    Some more tips you can use to eek-out your battery are:

    • The phone camera is very power hungry so if you are planning to take lots of photos, using a separate camera or getting your friend to take photos on their phone instead will save a lot of battery.
    • Switch off WiFi before setting out on the walk as this uses battery power and isn't much use on a footpath. You can also turn off bluetooth unless you are using it to connect a smartwatch.
    • The screen is a significant drain on the battery, so:
      • Dim your screen as much as you can get away with, although for viewing outside you'll need it brighter than for inside.
      • During the walk, switch the screen off (usually by pressing the power button) during long stretches between directions. The iWalk app will continue to run in the background, even when your screen is turned off, so will still beep/vibrate when there's a new direction to follow.
    • If you stop to explore somewhere for a while during the walk, you can use the "Pause GPS" button to pause location tracking which will save battery power. It can be found by pressing the extended menu button "...". Don't forget to press it again to re-enable it before you resume the walk!

    Can I print out a hardcopy of the directions as a backup?

    Yes. At the bottom of the summary screen of the purchased walk is a PDF of the directions. To print this from your phone, see one of the guides below:

    Misc

    How do I report footpath issues?

    The app knows the footpath number and parish details for each direction, so by triggering a report from a direction number where the problem has been spotted, it can fill all this information in automatically in an email for the Cornwall Council Countryside Access Team (who maintain the footpaths).

    Are you planning to do walks for another county?

    Our walks/app will remain exclusive to Cornwall for the foreseeable future for two main reasons. The first is that creating a walk for the app is a very involved and technical process. Creating the walks in Cornwall has taken us nearly 10 years so far and there are still more walks we'd like to add so there are at least a few more years of work left. The other is that it's already a lot of driving to check out reported issues and a huge amount of time to keep the walks constantly updated for changes to footpaths. It wouldn't be possible to maintain that level of quality over larger distances.