Waymarking is the marking of a walking, cycling, or other travelled route by repeating along the route a consistent specific symbol ('waymark', sometimes 'way-mark' or 'way mark'). These waymarks sometimes follow the route in one direction, or more often allow the route to be followed in both directions. One example is the standardized sign posted along the 49-Mile Scenic Drive in San Francisco, California, which can be started at any point along the route.
The route in question may be a specific named route, such as the Pennine Way, or may more generally be any public right of way. National trails in the United Kingdom are generally waymarked with an acorn symbol.
Retailers sometimes also use waymarks to draw motorists to the location of their store or car park. Temporary waymarks are used for special events such as charity walks. A similar process is also used by local fairs, fêtes or even firework nights. The signs are typically posters strapped to railings or lamp posts or a standard symbol is used.
Local governments have also adopted waymarking as a method of increasing awareness of local points of interest.
More recently, waymarking is an activity where people locate and log interesting locations around the world, usually with a GPS receiver and a digital camera. This differs from geocaching in that there is no physical container to locate at the given coordinates. Waymarking identifies points of interest for GPS users. There are many categories of waymarks, from pay phones through various restaurant chains, covered bridges, churches, places where one can take a factory tour and places of geologic significance, to name only a few. As of April 15, 2010[update], there were over 1000 different categories. Participation in waymarking leads some to become more knowledgeable of their own areas and to become interested in local history. Others have developed games (such as "What's in a Name?") that require the assistance of other players in remote areas.
A waymark serves to document a location (or an object at a location) that fits within a specific well-defined category. Waymarks are created by contributors who visit a location, take pictures of the object at that location (and/or the surrounding area), obtain coordinates for the location using a handheld GPS device, and later submit this information (along with additional descriptive information) to the Waymarking.com web site, specifically targeting the waymark to a particular waymarking category. Each waymarking category has its own group of volunteer reviewers, and submitted waymarks are reviewed by a group member who checks the submission for fit and completeness.
Once a waymark submission has been accepted by a reviewer, it becomes visible to the general public. Published waymarks allow visitors to submit "visit" logs, describing their experience or uploading their own pictures taken at the site.
Each published waymark falls under a single specific waymarking category. Categories (and the "Departments" into which they are grouped) represent the taxonomy of waymarking, providing an organized structure for focused filtering and searching. Each category description includes particular and appropriate requirements for all waymarks submitted to that category. For example, waymarks submitted to the Murals category require a description of the type of media used in the mural; waymarks submitted to the Battlefields category require the date of the battle.
New categories can (and are) added to Waymarking.com on a regular basis. New categories are created when small groups of individuals with interest in a potential category concept develop a proposal for the new category which is then submitted for peer review. Members of the waymarking community vote to accept or decline the proposal, based on a loose set of category guidelines (new categories are expected to be global in nature rather than local, prevalent, interesting, and minimize overlap with existing categories). Categories that are accepted in peer review can then begin accepting waymark submissions.
- "Waymarking". Hometown Highlights. Lake County, Florida.
- Craig Hill, "Waymarking: The latest GPS game: Who are those people scoping out your neighborhood?" April 3, 2007, Tacoma News Tribune, accessed May 24, 2008
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