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Mountain View

Useful Content In The Mountains

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Next to my studies I am doing a training as a hiking guide. One module of the education is first aid and how to handle health incidents in the mountains. That’s when I got useful insights where content meets my hiking guide training. In this blog I’d like to present three types of content and how I use them in the outdoors.

Outdoor active – Emergency

The Austrian Alpine Association has developed a mobile app, which offers various pleasures for outdoor lovers. The main feature is based on numerous paths and tours in the mountains. They are divided into cycling, hiking, climbing and ski touring. The user can choose between existing routes or can create its own tour.

I am a passionate hiker and use this app frequently for my adventures in the outdoors. But what was new for me as well was the rescue function in the app. If you are in an emergency, you can press the emergency button. The app checks your location via GPS and shows your coordinates on the display. Furthermore, it offers you to call the emergency number right away. Another feature is, when you dial the number, your current coordinates are still displayed on the screen. Therefore, you can pass your data easily to the rescue center. On the picture below you can see how this screen look like.

Outdoor Active App Emergency
Outdoor Active App Emergency

Every hiker’s darling – the map

Using a mobile app is the most common way to navigate in the mountains nowadays. But when it comes to understand the surroundings in the outdoors with all its details, I highly recommend to use a hiking map and a compass. In our training we learned how to orientate ourselves with an altimeter, compass, map and GPS. Our instructor explained the structure of the hiking map in such a detailed way – I never thought about a piece of paper this precise. A hiking map always displays the North in the upper part. The letterings are written from west to east.

A hiking map displays main points in the landscape and mentions their altitude. Contour lines show how the slope gradient and help you to find the most comfortable route to avoid steep climbs. Every fourth line is shown in bold. These lines represent the even altitudes like 1.100 or 1.200. The lines in between count 25 meters. Depending on the orientation of the altitude figure, the user can easily see in which direction the elevation goes up or down. Check out the picture below to get a better understanding of the displayed content on a map.

Hiking Map and Compass
Hiking Map

Oldie but goldie – the signs

I talked about the mobile app, I talked about the hiking map and compass, what is still missing are the good old signs. Signs which are placed on cruxes, on forks and on places with a nice view. When you are in the outdoors and you forgot your hiking map and the batterie of your phone is empty, you can still count on the signs. They are well placed in clearly visible areas and provide you important information about the hike: In which direction is the next target, how far is to get there, which router leads there and are there any other targets close. The signs work in summer and winter as well and serve you as photo object as well. Never underestimate classic content and how it still can meet your needs.

Hiking Signs

The outdoors meet content

During my hiking training I thought about different courses in my masters degree and how they would fit into all these content types. How would a content modeler assign all these various content types? Is the legend of a hiking map the pioneer of a search engine optimazion? What would my lecture from Infografics would say about the hiking map? And the UX designer about the outdoor app? After a week of studies, followed by a week of hiking training, my brain mixed up all new information and combined it. Looking forward to the winter course and new inspirations.

Silvia Sprügl

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