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

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Mystery of the Missing Base Map Data!

After we all had trouble loading base map data in class #2, I tried with my HP Windows 7 laptop at home with no luck using IE and Firefox (via GIS server) after logging into nova-cc.maps.arcgis.com.

This week I was in a training class at the AWS Herndon office using a Windows 10 on an Intel NUC PC with Chrome, Firefox, and MS Edge (new Win 10 browser replacement for IE). I was able to log in with all browsers, but could not load any base map or layers with any of them!

Given the different Internet network links and browsers I’ve tried, I believed I was doing something wrong loading this content into a map! I’ve got to review the videos to review the procedure. There was no Internet delay at home or at AWS like we experienced at class.

On Saturday morning, after breakfast, I was in the kitchen with my first generation iPad, which I use for reading e-books and web surfing. I went to arcgis.com because I couldn’t recall the NOVA-specific URL. To my surprise, a default base map appeared after clicking the Map link! I could display any base map selection and even apply additional layers from the “Search” for layers. I was doing all this while not signed in, just from arcgis.com.

After trying this on my iPad, I duplicated the above with my HP laptop on arcgis.com. As soon as I logged in with the ID and password set for Nova-cc.maps.arcgis.com, the base map disappeared and I couldn’t select any other. As a result, I believe the base map problem lies with the NOVA-specific version of arcgis.com.

After logging out and going back to arcgis.com, I created a simple base map and saved it to my account name. I could then log into my NOVA account, recall the map, change base maps and add layers. We may have to save a “dummy” map to prime the account with some data that allows us to create a real map!