In reply to M1EYP:
I really think the summits information pages are extremely valuable for new activators who are a little unsure of themselves, and are time saving devices for those more experienced activators who are evaluating prospective hikes…those pages really should be beefed up. Tom you are dead on.
I think it would be great if by default the summit page had a Photos link and a Video link that automatically searched for the proper photos…
For example, the South Beacon Page
should have a link on it by default labeled photos that links to http://www.flickr.com/search/groups/?q=W2%2Feh-003&w=640391%40N21&m=pool
which returns all photos tagged with W2/EH-003 in the SOTA group . Of course there should be a similar link for the videos and it should be emphasized to everyone on the youtube and flickr groups that they should tag their photos with the summit identifier. The photo/video links should be added automatically…it should be easy.
I know it sounds trivial to those comfortable with SOTA and the internet, but I think if prospective activators could actually SEE the summit and past operations, they might be more willing to activate a summit. Also, we cannot count on prospective activators to have enough willpower/time to come to an understanding of the SOTA identifier system and do a proper search on their own.
Also I have found that the summit pages do a poor job of giving new potential activators an overview of where the summits are. I send these new activators a copy of the great google earth file at:
But why is the KML hidden away like that? Shouldnt the summits.kml file be available on the SOTA pages without membership required? I think it is the best tool for getting an overview of the summits and I use it myself in planning activations.
In addition, there should be some way to search only for summits in a particular
area which have information listed. A potential new activator should be able to
search for summits within 50 miles of his location that at least already have
some link or external article listed, and it would be nice if they could get a
list of summits near them that already had flickr/youtube content. Its
frustrating for new guys to go through endless summits looking for one that
already has some access information posted. I would also love as a manager to
be able to see on a map where there are “holes”, areas where there is no
information posted for summits. Right now I do not have the tools to see where
the vast expanses of “no information” hills are. If I had those tools…for
example if I could see the “non information” hills somehow highlighted on the
google earth file, I could spend my information searching time much more
effectively by filling in the gaps so that no place was too far from a hill with
information that I could point newbies to.
Another thing that might help would be for the summits to be searchable by
link/article search. For example, it would be nice if a potential activator
could do a text search for major US trail like the “Applachain Trail” and get a
list of all summits that mention Appalachain Trail in their link or article
subject or body. I recently labeled all summits in the US that are on the trail
in the sota summit pages…there are quite a few. In W1 we have several trails
that go over multiple summits. It would also be useful to be able to do a
search for “GPX” to see what summits have GPX trail files posted as articles. I
guess along with that should be a notice somewhere to be sure to put the letters
GPX in the subject of any GPX trail file that was posted. In addition, I would
also like to be able to tag summits with minimum ascent information that was
searchable. For example, it would be great if when I finally found a trailmap
for a summit or analyzed my GPX file, I could look at the map, find the easiest
route to the summit or at least the shortest one with the least vertical gain
(hopefully that was the one I took) and place the minimum vertical
gain/horizontal distance information on the summit page in a user searchable way
so that potential activators who were not fit could easily do a search for
summits with minimal required vertical climb and horizontal distance. Just as
easily, those looking for a challenge could look for hard summits only. I enjoy
the hunt for information, but many people do not, and I can tell you that when I
am feeling lazy it can be quite time consuming to find a hill with say a 100
foot vertical hike. Having summits searchable by minimum vertical hiking
distance from the trailhead would be great. It would also allow the point
hungry to find the best “point return” for their efforts.
I think it would be nice to have a “batch” operation for the summit pages as well.
For example, in W2 the entire
Adirondack region with its 100+ summits is covered by the trail maps of the
National Geographic Park Explorer program
http://www.natgeomaps.com/adirondack_explorer.html The program is a wonderful
and inexpensive resource, but you would only find it if you dug through the W2
manual. It would be great if a link to that program could be inserted in every
Adirondack summit page by batch operation. I have a
few of these situations in smaller areas in W1. Also, I would like to be able
to post links to the regional hiking clubs for the specific areas of
summits…and some of my areas have well over 100 summits…it would be great if I could use a batch operation to tag all 200+ W1/HA summits with the same links or the same article listing the relevant hiking clubs for W1/HA. I know for
myself, the most time consuming part of planning a hike is not packing…its
finding trail maps and access information. Many regions have their own
"clearinghouses" of information…some obscure government agency website perhaps
or an area citizen’s group…I would love to be able to do a batch operation and
tag the regional summits with this information which is not summit specific.
OK so theres my 2 cents and great idea Tom on beefing up the pages!