Monday, February 9, 2009

Walking and Walk Scores

Seeing we are having a little February thaw, my mind is starting to think about getting out and about - on foot.

I got to reading an article by Maria Colenso. "What's a walk score?." 10 December 2008. HowStuffWorks.com. <http://science.howstuffworks.com/walk-score.htm> 09 February 2009.

Apparently using Google maps and a special algorithm a numeric rating can be determined for a neighborhood to tell you the walkability to such thing as stores, restaurants, and whatever. My address gives a value of 78 out of 100 which is supposed to be pretty good.

You can do the calculation for any address - I just put in the street address and zip code and it worked great. The url of the site is: http://www.walkscore.com/

It is anything but perfect, of course. It depends on the accuracy and completeness of the information Google Maps has but you can also update the information yourself. Generally it gives a higher rating for nearer locations and restricts itself to less than a mile - reasonable for walking - about 2000 steps.

All-in-all it is a very interesting concept. For instance: when considering purchasing a house it might be interesting to check its walkscore - especially in view of how terrible it is in some areas getting anywhere except by car.

The site has ratings for various areas. It might be interesting to check others.
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