Lonely Planet Writer

Lost in a new city? Retrace your footsteps with a tracking device

While some tourists need to plan their holiday down to the very last detail, many love nothing more than getting completely lost in an unfamiliar city.

livetrekker.
Retrace your steps with livetrekker. Image by OFFICIAL LEWEB PHOTOS / CC BY 2.0

Finding some secret charm, a hidden away church or restaurant, a picture perfect view or quaint street brings its own satisfaction.

So what happens if out on your travels – you want to retrace your footsteps and find out exactly what route you took or what you were looking at.

One option is to use a personal tracking device like LiveTrekker which keeps exact details of everywhere you have been via GPS.

It can then be used to retrace steps precisely, find out exactly what streets or paths were walked, and all the various sights along the route.

The app keeps a record down to the time spent sightseeing and the speed at which it was done, and can be shared instantly with family and friends.

It works any place that there is GPS, which is almost everywhere with exceptions for certain buildings, and deep underground.

My Tracks operates on a more functional basis, keeping a detailed map of everywhere a phone or device has been while out and about. It is popular with runners and cyclists but can be just as useful for travellers abroad.

An even simpler option is to turn on the location history on Google Maps, and it will keep a log of your travels that can be accessed through the timeline menu option.

If you didn’t think to download an app in advance, any pictures you have taken could well be enough to track back to your location.

Pictures can be reverse image searched through websites like TinEye or simply by right clicking on them in Google Chrome.

If a similar picture was taken in the past at the same location and posted online, it can be relatively easy – particularly in major tourist spots – to get a match.