Who needs yet another smartphone app, let alone one that plots and records your wanderings?
You do – if you want to explore a city without keeping track of every turn, yet later call up the coordinates of that quaint patisserie you passed on that cobblestone street whose name you can’t recall.
Here are my picks for tracking long strolls.
This comprehensive app logs the details (including distance, duration, altitude, speed, pace, date and time) of any number of activities: walking, hiking, cycling, horse riding or driving, to name a few. After selecting your preferred activity and pressing “start” on your phone, Trails begins working behind the scenes, creating a map of the route you travel in a black line on which you can zoom in and out.
The Basics: Available for iOS, including Apple Watch. Free; $1.99 (three months) to $4.99 (a year) for Trails Pro, which includes bells and whistles like offline topographic maps. Trails.io/en
Best for: iPhone owners who want a single, easy-to-use tracking app that provides plenty of details about their walk.
I used this app every day for a week in Paris without a glitch. I turned to it each night to see precisely where and how far I’d walked. It was a delight to see a beautiful photographic map with a fat red squiggle crisscrossing the city, looping back on itself in the places I got lost. The app has a corresponding website where I logged in at the end of the day to view my walks on a larger screen.
The Basics: Available for iOS and Android. Free. Livetrekker.com
Best for: Lovers of photographic maps, and those who want to share their walks in real time.
Glympse (with Evernote)
Glympse is an addictive app that tracks your every move and allows you, with the tap of a single button on a map, to send a copy of it with your current location to anyone you wish.
The Basics: Available for iOS, Windows Mobile and Android, including the Android Wear watch. You can then view your path on Evernote on any screen or device where you’ve linked the app. Free. Glympse.com
Best for: Productivity aficionados and Evernote devotees.
This one has a fitness bent: It refers to the particulars of your walk as “workout details” and allows you to log your food choices and integrate music. An easy-to-read map with a red line denotes your path; you can share your progress with friends who also use the app. Besides the essentials (distance, duration, elevation), there are icons to do things like track the mileage on your sneakers and join fitness challenges, which can make the app feel cluttered.
The Basics: Available for iOS and Android. Free; $5.99 a month or $29.99 a year for an ad-free version as well as features including live location tracking and heart rate analysis. Mapmywalk.com.
Best for: Those who want to track how much exercise they are getting and want a little motivation to get moving.