When Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) launched our
trail-finder website, TrailLink.com, way back in 2000, its uniqueness was based
on a simple premise: Combine our own extensive trail experience with the input,
reviews and photos of thousands of trail users around the country-and with all
external submissions vetted by RTC's own expert staff. The result was a free
trail-finder service unmatched in terms of coverage but also accuracy.
Since then, TrailLink.com has grown remarkably to become one
of RTC's signature accomplishments, providing high-quality Geographic
Information Systems (GIS) maps for 23,000 miles of trails around the country,
plus photos and reviews for hundreds more trails still to be mapped.
But things move fast in the high-tech world of trail mapping
and data, and RTC is moving fast with them. Last month we launched a major
overhaul of TrailLink.com's appearance and functionality, unveiling a new Web
service that not only looks very cool but, more importantly, has an emphasis on
making the trail-finding experience more personal and interactive.
RTC's Senior Director of TrailLink.com Frederick Schaedtler
put it best when he said the primary aim of the new site is to "invoke and
resonate a spirit of exploration and interactive inquiry around the world of
After all, exploration and inquiry is what it's all about.
RTC's mission is to promote trail use, and TrailLink.com is every American's
portal to that. Frederick
points out a few key features:
Actually, the new TrailLink.com design is only the first
phase of some exciting tech developments we'll be rolling out during the next
year. TrailLink.com's new "Take It With You" section hints at our upcoming
iPhone and Android mobile apps, which will allow users to take the TrailLink.com
experience with them out on the trail using smartphones.
We hope to unveil this exciting new technology next spring.
It's a huge step that will allow users to seamlessly sync their favorite trails
and utilize routing functionality and interactive map data subscriptions to
fully empower the on-the-trail experience.
Of course, in order to make omelets you have to break a few
eggs, and the roll-out of the new TrailLink.com last month did come with a few
teething problems. We apologize to those users frustrated at a number of
glitches that made it hard to sign up, enter passwords and search for trails.
Fingers crossed, we've solved most of the problems. Courtesy
of our TrailLink.com staff, here's a list of some of the most common problems experienced
by users of the new website, and how to fix 'em.
Looks good. When viewing a members Photos and Reviews, it would be nice to see the name and a link to the trail that they are associated with.
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