Instructions for Creating Random Routes from Random Starting Points

Random Starting Point

  1. Visit the Random Point Generator website.
  2. In "Search for place:", type in the name of your city, then "Find it"
  3. Choose a maximum distance. For Vancouver I use 10 kilometres.
  4. Click the "Get random point(s)" button.
  5. Preview the point on a map. The "See it on a map" button will load a new tab/window.
  6. If the random point is in the ocean or a river, I just select another point. If you think you might fear for your safety in the neighbourhood, select another point.
  7. Copy the data from "Results:" and massage the info so that you get a latitude and longitude.
  8. Paste the latitude and longitude into a Google Maps search. Make a note of the intersection.

Random Route

  1. Visit the RouteLoops website.
  2. Click Set Start/End Location.
  3. Type in the intersection with the name of your city.
  4. Click Settings in the row above.
  5. Choose your preferred travel mode and directions, and unit system.
  6. Type in the distance you want to travel.
  7. Click "Create a Route of this Length"
  8. At this point, review the route and note the places where you cross the street. Visit Google Street View to determine whether you can cross safely. Also check to see if major routes have sidewalks to run on. If it's not safe to cross or it's a major route without sidewalks, you can drag the route in RouteLoops to safe intersections where it might cross at an uncontrolled intersection.
  9. To get a GPX file of the route, click "Import/Export", then the format you want. This will load the data into a new tab/window. Save the file and make sure you include a .gpx extension.
  10. Import this file into your route app of choice.

Hosting Your Map


If you convert the GPX file to geoJSON, you can host your randomly generated map on GitHub. Why would you? So people can fork it and make modifications, of course!

  1. Copy the text of the GPX file in the "Random Route" instructions above to your clipboard.
  2. Paste it into MapBox's toGeoJSON tool. Be sure to select GPX and not KML after you've pasted it in.
  3. Copy the resulting geoJSON to the clipboard.
  4. Create a Gist on and past the geoJSON.
  5. Give the filename a .geojson extension.
  6. Bonus points for styling the map using simplestyle options.