Hiking Upward! [.com]

One of my very favorite web sites is HikingUpward.com, where one can locate and learn about great local day hike venues or more distant, multi-day backpacking trips in the mid-Atlantic region. This free web site contains both Google-based static and interactive trail maps showing the terrain, distance, camping locations, and snapshots along the trails. Even more valuable, each hike includes a link to a PDF file containing a map and trail description in a convenient two-page format. As a result, USGS Topo maps are not necessary, especially for day hikes. Key indicators summarize each hike listing, in a 1-to-5 scale for difficulty, streams, views, solitude, and camping.  User reviews also provide feedback about each hike in a 1-to-5 scale, which may influence your decision to take a hike.  The following screenshot shows the main page highlighting a specific hike in North Carolina:

MainPage

If you click on the left side map on the main page, the following interactive map appears showing the location of all hikes available. Based on your location, you can quickly find a map that suits your ability and schedule:

FullPageMap

Another way to view the hikes is by name, distance, difficulty, streams, views, solitude, and user feedback. These qualities can filter the list using slider controls.

SortableList

One of my favorite local day hikes is Sugarloaf Mountain. The following page lists many details about the area, with both static and interactive map components. Like many parks, there is more than one trail than the one highlighted in the map and trail description and you can easily length or shorten the hike.

SugarloafPage

A detailed, interactive Google-based topo map plus user review are displayed at the bottom of the page:

SugarloafMap

Every hike includes links to printable a PDF trail guide, local weather, and summary of the key hike metadata for length, difficulty, streams, views, solitude, and camping:

SugarloafSummaryLinks

Some trail maps are created by Hikingupward.com and some by other land management organizations. Sugarloaf Mountain is owned and managed by Stronghold Inc., and their complete trail map is available fro download from the hike description page:

SugarloafTrailMap

Nine New Enhancements to ArcGIS Online

The Fall 2015 issue of ArcNews has an interesting roundup of the new features added to ArcGIS Online (AGO) this past summer. The article is available online at: http://www.esri.com/esri-news/arcnews/fall15articles/nine-enhancements-to-arcgis-online. A complete list of changes made is available at ESRI’s web site: http://doc.arcgis.com/en/arcgis-online/reference/whats-new.htm. Its important track changes made to take advantage of new features as they become available as AGO is rapidly evolving. To summarize, the enhancements include:

Smart Mapping Transparency

Automatically adjust the size range so symbols, border widths, and transparencies look better across zoom levels.

Workflows and Design

User enabled editing and viewing of standards-based metadata associated with map elements.

Map Viewer, More Adaptable

The user can now sign into AGO directly from the map viewer so no work will be lost from within the viewer.

3D Scene Viewer Improved

Scenes generated in 3D Viewer can now be embedded in a website or shared via email or social media.

Enhanced Analysis

A new Analysis button located prominently at the top of the map viewer allows the user to interactively perform operations such as create viewsheds, watersheds, and trace downstream.

Feature Layer Updates

A new set of data collection templates are available for created hosted feature layers used with Collector for ArcGIS.

Growing Content

Base maps, The Living Atlas, and imagery services have been updated and expanded.

Amplified Apps

Five new AppBuilder themes and several widgets are now available. New widgets, map tools, and feature actions can be created with the ArcGIS API for JavaScript.

Better Administration

Improved account management tools are available to set user and group permissions, accesses, and sharing rights.