AllTrails and National Geographic Team Up to Get Hikers Oriented
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go grab a beer, so we may provide an easy way to click over to a new map view with local businesses layered over the map. We’re talking with some advertisers about sponsoring programs to clean up trails by providing prizes and incentives. These are all things that tie in with our overall community.”
There’s plenty of work for AllTrails to do after the premium version goes live in March. As it absorbs the old TOPO.com and all its customers, AllTrails will have to cope with a big influx of new members. The Android app needs to be upgraded—it isn’t nearly as full-featured as the iPhone version, Cook says. There are plans for an iPad app; the National Geographic maps would obviously look prettier on a larger screen. And the company wants to expand its map coverage and trail information to the U.K., Australia, and South Africa, followed by Europe and Asia. “We spend a lot of time building the initial database of trail information,” says Cook. “That’s the main limiting factor on rolling out in other countries.”
The fact is that most of the map data AllTrails offers has been available in print form for a long time. But many people “look at a map and get overwhelmed,” Cook says. The Web, and especially the recent wave of GPS-enabled, broadband-connected smartphones, can feed people trail data and other information about potential destinations in more manageable chunks. “When you provide people with the right information, they feel more empowered to go explore their back yard,” he says.
And the more time people spend exploring the great outdoors, the more willing they may be to protect it. “People who are out experiencing the outdoors are much more motivated to do the little day-to-day things” that can save the environment, Cook says. So maybe John Muir was right after all: The clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness.