Historical Events  Art
Hiking emjoji

Where is the hiking emoji?

MMDE: There's a hiking emoji

Current: The hiking emoji people remember is missing

This is an unusual MMDE, because it might be fixed at any time, so all we can report is that as at Aug 2018, there was no hiking emoji whereas many people remember there being one.

Reddit shows an example of a report of this, where emojis for many other outdoor activities are plentiful but for some reason the hiking one was not only missing, but the details of what it looked like were very clear too. It was described as a figure with two sticks, brown hair, a red shirt and blue shorts.

Pretty detailed for something which never existed!

One could appear at any time...

Of course with emoji's on smartphones and messengers, the set is changing all the time, because ultimately they are just software. If one is added after Aug 2018, it will only serve to muddy the waters. However, as things stand, one which people remember cannot be found.

There's a great article on this over at gearjunkie.com which provides more details.


There's an interesting way to look at this. Emojis are there to pictorially represent something, an activity, a state or condition such as the weather, and of course the meaning they get their name from - an emotion. Whilst they are widely believed to have only originated with the smartphone revolution, this isn't the case. Character sets before ASCII (origin: 1960) certainly existed, but initially this only supported 128 separate values. This is because, whilst the alphabet consists of 26 letter, meaning 52 for both cases, and the 10 digits plus a bunch of essential others such as quote marks, question marks etc, it didn't leave many over for other values. Only when it was expanded to 8-bits, giving 256 combinations, was there scope for some which represented actually images rather than control or part of the recognised text. There was no standardisation used on the symbols in the range 127-256. Once all the popular non-English symbols were covered (umlauts, cedilla etc) there were still slots left over. 

Things got much better when the bit length changed again, which largely co-incided with the smartphone revolution. Now, the system used was Unicode, which supported 64k characters per "plane", with 17 planes available, meaning 1,114,112 possible combinations. This gave rise to the much more detailed representations of many possible symbols, which came to be termed "emoticons". It's important to realise the emoticon code is just that - a code. It's down to the creator of the receiving equipment to render it, and there is actually some scope here for artistic licence, such as color. Furthermore, these designers often use software for messaging which is capable of both creating the emojis and receiving them embedded in the message. When creating a message with one and sending it to another designer's system, such as between a Google and Apple system, it's assumed they both show images with the same meaning, otherwise some confusion will arise.

Since hiking is a common activity, many people might well just assume there's a hiking emoji without actually checking, and just having seen a bunch of others representing similar concepts, such as swimming, fishing etc, assumed they'd seen one.