When planning a trip, it’s always vital to measure the distance of the route you intend to travel. Measuring distance helps you to make decisions about when to stop and allows you to estimate the time it will take to complete a trip and reach any checkpoints. The methods for doing this manually typically involve measuring your route on a paper map using the scales on a compass. This can be difficult if the route involves lots of twists, turns and curved lines. The remedy for this requires a piece of string to be placed along the route, which can then be straightened out and measured. As you can imagine this is quite an awkward method, as well as rather inaccurate. A variety of digital tools have been created to measure distance, but the one that stands out is Daft Logic’s Distance calculator.
Daft Logic’s Distance calculator tool uses google maps, giving you access to satellite images that are ideal for those of us looking to go off the beaten path. To use it, all you have to do is find your intended starting location, which can be done by entering an address or co-ordinates into the search bar, or navigating there yourself by scrolling and zooming in in the same way that you would using other satellite maps. Once you’ve located it, clicking on the map will place a marker. Placing a second marker results in the distance between both points being displayed below the map. Keep placing consecutive markers and the total distance will be displayed. This distance can be converted between miles, kilometers, nautical miles, meters, feet, and yards. If you place a marker in the wrong place, you can remove your previous marker by selecting ‘clear last point’. Once you’re done you can also select ‘clear map’ to clear all your markers and plan other routes. You can also generate a link for a route you’ve placed, in other words, you can share your route with others via social media or email. This is particularly useful if you’re planning a trip with others. Saving and loading routes is also possible after making an account in the advanced version.
Alternative distance calculators exist and many of them work in a similar way, however a lot of these seem to limit the placement of markers to roads. Daft Logic’s Distance calculator is also free unlike some similar tools. It has had continued development and updates since its release in 2008, so it’s always improving. The drawbacks are that it can’t guarantee complete accuracy, but in my experience it hasn’t let me down. You also won’t be able to make adjustments while in the field like you can with a map or the appropriate hardware.
Whether its planning a day hike, multi day trip or just going out for a run, Daft Logic’s Distance calculator proves an invaluable tool. There’s also a host of other interesting web tools available on Daft Logic listed under ‘projects’.
If you found this article interesting why not take a look at our other articles on web tools relevant to the world of camping, hiking, ultra light and light weight backpacking.