The free Virtual Walk app debuted for Android in late 2012 and was also available for iOS by spring, 2013. It tracks your walking via GPS and uses your distance to take you on a virtual walk and show you the sights you would see on that route. Even if you are just circling your neighborhood or the high school track, you can be walking the Appalachian Trail or taking a historical tour of Washington DC.
About Virtual Walk
John Zaccone, CEO of Virtual Walk, explains how the app works.
"To keep themselves motivated, some walkers keep track of their accumulative miles on a virtual map across the country. Virtual Walk is an Android app that is based off that simple concept. Instead of mapping out where you are, (MapMyWalk and Endomondo are examples that do this), Virtual Walk maps out where you want to be - on a map chosen from an expanding library of virtual routes.
Each route has something different to offer, and they vary from lengthy treks (Appalachian Trail) to historical tours (Washington D.C.). Interesting information about landmarks that users “walk by” is included along the way. The content is rich and contains pictures, to give users as much of a feeling that they are actually there as possible. There are also quizzes and links to YouTube videos to make things even more interesting.
The goal of Virtual Walk is to provide these virtual experiences, while maintaining motivation and fitness details that a walker needs. Each walk is recorded along with miles and time to be reviewed later. The support for Virtual Walk is ongoing, and new features and routes will be added frequently."
This is a great way to motivate your fitness walking. It can be very addictive to want to put in an extra mile to reach the next point of interest.
You can also feel the achievement of walking the length of the Appalachian Trail without the need to carry a backpack and use trekking poles (although you may want to do that for authenticity!) The screen shots also show a virtual Boston Marathon, which is probably the only way a walker will be able to do the race, due to the qualifying times.
Because Virtual Walk is GPS-based, its accuracy for distance may be reduced by the strength of the GPS signal indoors or in a dense forest or ravine. Virtual Walk added a feature for treadmill users, based on their treadmill speed, so they can use the app without GPS.
The app is available for both iOS and Android.