Do you 'edit' the walks you do?

I have yet to complete a walk that I did not ‘edit’ the details on Aussie Bushwalking, in order to enhance the walk/experience. This can be as simple as the correct details for ‘getting there’ to a better ‘route/trail’.

Yet, I see plenty of bushwalking blogs saying the walk details are wrong, but they then don’t go in and correcting them! Just today, I see a comment that Twin Falls Circuit is not 4 hours, but no correction has been made.

Many of these walk details were pulled from various sources; so you, the bushwalker, having completed the walk will no better.

Please, please correct or add details for the benefit of your successor.

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Hear, hear! As well as incorrect details please jump in and just improve the description of a walk if you can. My hope has always been that people will find it easy to add walks, even if they don’t want to write up a full description, but over time the community would improve on the walks until hopefully one day they would be as good as a classic guide book.

I often add photos, GPX data and occasionally modify the walk information.

One of the things that might make the walk info a bit better is to clean up some of descriptions and directions. I often find that they don’t contain descriptions of the walk per-se (what the walk is like, features, historic significance, etc) but consist of (sometimes only) directions on how to get there. Since there is already a “Getting there” heading in the “Guide” section under which these directions can be listed I suggest the directions should not be in the description.

Speaking as web developer, perhaps some additional/separate fields in the edit form will help clarify to users what goes where. But of course, you would have to either go through all the descriptions yourself, or hope/encourage users to make the corrections over time.

Thanks for adding the data - particularly the GPX data. I’m edging closer (slowly) to having the tracks on the maps instead of just pins and also using that data to show elevation profiles for the walks.

I’ve gone back and forth on having extra fields in the edit area since day 1. I eventually decided that I wanted to make it as easy as possible to add a walk so people would be encouraged to do it. Perhaps the site is growing to the point where that is less of an issue… perhaps…

Lately I’ve been thinking of choosing a single walk and getting a few people to help me turn it into the “perfect” Aussie Bushwalking walk page. So it might have elevation profiles, extra fields like elevation change, much better descriptions. We could then promote that as the ideal and encourage people to work towards it on other walks. I could also use it to focus the development work. Do you think you’d be interested in helping with something like that?

Some thoughts…

I think that as with any website that has grown to this level, it is usually better to structure/regulate the data sooner then later - otherwise it progressively gets more harder and restrictive to develop and/or more time consuming to parse the existing data into separate database fields.

For instance, as a user, I might want to look for hikes that don’t have a fee - or perhaps are within my budget. It would be easy to add another field to the search form - but since this information is currently stored along with the directions, maps, other references,etc then it would be near impossible to query the database for just hikes that are free. You could try to parse the string data on the fly, but this would add a significant toll on performance, and unless you can get all users to follow instructions and enter fee/permit data in a consistent pattern (good luck) then coming up with reliable regex/parser rules would be hell.

I think you could add extra fields to the form and still keep it easy to use - but the key would be in the layout, helpful validation error messages, dynamically hiding/showing only relevant fields, auto fill, etc.

You may want to have separate ‘quick add’ and ‘advanced add/edit’ forms.

Another trick I have sometimes found works with novice users is not presenting all the fields all at once - hence ‘wizard’ type forms - with field labels that ask questions - like “How long is the walk” and “Is that one way or return” - as opposed to just “Length” and “One Way/Return”. You can create multi page forms, but there are jQuery plugins that can convert a form into a wizard.

It may take a little more time to develop, but what you could also do is when a person ticks off a walk, determine what data is missing and present a field for that missing data only. You could also limit the number of these fields to 3 or 4. This way you could collect more data without deterring users with excessive data entry.

In any case, not many people will add/edit the walks unless they are enthusiastic about hiking and/or the website as a whole - so those that do may not mind a few extra fields.

I have been a little busy lately, but I am happy to contribute some ideas / a static HTML mockup.

I’m always one for applying the ‘KISS’ principle and Dave, you just went very techie on me! No offence.

Making things easy and comprehendible is always going to be a problem and we have to appreciate that this is more of a hobby for Richard than an income earner.

How willing are those that have signed up to Aussie Bushwalking prepared to contribute? Take this forum for example. Something that was cried out for, yet once in place gets 1,188 views and 20 replies from just 5 contributors!

I’m more than happy to contribute and help out where ever I can. So for example, I think that I can find a walk/trail that I have already done, re-written up, has elevation and GPS that could serve as an example to others.

Can I take this opportunity to congratulate Charlotte on her Mount Bartle Frere Western Approach blog. This has to be the best ever informative blog I have ever read. MBR is our nemesis and we hope to conquer it later this year, so this info is vital. Charlotte, do you have the GPS route that can be loaded? Given you live/work in Tasmania, have you got a similar adventure to the top of Cradle Mountain? Another on out BIG8 bucket list!

Sorry, forgot there were others in the room :smile:

Well at least we’ve nicely captured two viewpoints here :smile:

I’m well aware that I naturally lean towards really well defined data - like having lots of little fields - because then you can do cool things with it like searching and sorting. However, when I started ABW I looked at things like wikipedia and realised that getting people contributing is much more important than making sure they give perfect data.

So I went with a handful of fields and made them all optional. I’m pretty happy with that decision. Sure some of the walks don’t really have much detail (or any in some cases!) but at least the walk is there and another person has added something to the site. It’s a hint towards somewhere I can go walking and hopefully somebody else will see it, investigate, and maybe add a bit more info. I’ve been blown away by how many people have jumped on board and I’m extremely grateful for it. Plus, the site has achieved what I selfishly wanted and helped me find some walks that I didn’t know about!

Having said that, I think there is room for a few more fields. I’m planning on adding climb/elevation soon thanks to this UserVoice suggestion ( and if you look at the comments there I mention how I’d like to get a better “difficulty” measure… except I’m not really sure how. Perhaps there could be an “advanced” section in the walk editing with these extra fields to make it clear to people that they really are extras and don’t feel bad if you can’t fill them out.

Regarding wizards, I’ve been considering a wizard for when adding a walk but I’m less clear they’d be good when editing a walk. I’m not a UI guy so, Dave, if you wanted to whip up some mockups for improved adding and editing walk pages then I’d appreciate it but I can’t promise how quickly I’ll get to implementing any changes or even guarantee that I’d follow your suggestions. But I would definitely appreciate your efforts.

And finally - I agree with F.A.B. Charlotte’s Bartle Frere comment was fantastic!

If when someone leaves a comment and/or ticks a walk off, you could ask them how difficult did they found the walk. You could perhaps then use this to calculate an average.

Great minds think alike. My initial version did averaging of difficulties but again I decided against it for simplicity. Perhaps I could show everybody’s difficulty estimate next to their comments and show a little histogram of difficulties as a popup.

didn’t know where to post this 4 u… bald rock nat park tenterfield shows up below the australian bite in the middle of the ocean??

Thanks @gizmobazz. It’s actually a duplicate so I’ll merge those into the existing Bald Rock walk. Just have to fix the merging feature first… :slight_smile: