Stories about ASD

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ASD Roadmap

Building a regional trail inventory

Distinguishing between baseline, beginner, and more adventurous hikes helps to organize your data and scale up your regional trail inventory

March 31, 2020

 

Kennett Square Trails

 

Making hay at Cheslen

Interested in becoming a regional trail coordinator, and creating maps like this for hikers near you?  Email me and I will walk you through all of the steps. Let's get everyone hiking!

Phase I: Easy trails to establish a hiker's baseline

Phase II: Trails for beginners that gradually increase in difficulty

Phase III: Trails for more adventurous hikers

Coming soon!!

Longer and larger trail systems

Coming soon!!

The technical stuff

Organizing your data

An Alltrails list created using filters is certainly a start, but these filters do not include all of the variables needed to assemble a trail inventory. For that, you need a spreadsheet like Excel, and a regional trail coordinator who comfortable working  with it.

Even though I am very familiar with local trails, I found this list to be helpful in  reminding me of trails I should consider.  It also allows me to add trails that are not in Alltrails - in fact, 20-30% of my favorite trails were not listed. At this point, I like to also note the type of trail: whether it is a forest, or meadow, or mixed, and whether it is a loop.  I also note if this is in a city park. I find that city parks tend to be more crowded, while a forested loop in a nature preserve is likely to be more peaceful and interesting.

Downloading data into Excel

 

The next step  is more complicated: it involves importing GPX data into a purpose-built Excel spreadsheet to automatically calculate changes in slope and assign effort ratings to each 100 foot section and 1/2 mile segment.  This is important: while an amateur to differentiate a flat from a steep section of trail, they cannot make more subtle distinctions. Is this just a steeper section, or a change in overall slope for an entire 1/2 mile segment?  For hikers like Margot, subtle changes in slope across an half-mile, or more significant changes for a section, can make the difference between a comfortable and an uncomfortable hike. Whether I download an existing GPX file or a trail that I recorded myself from Alltrails into Excel, it takes about 15 minutes to align these data to generate the effort scores for a trail.

Mapping your trails

For now, I create Google Maps to generate maps that list a range of trails, as well as maps for individual trails yet to be listed on Alltrails. While I may shift to other apps, Google maps is a good place to start, as it is familiar to most users, and offers a basic functionality.  For example, our map of trails for beginners (to the right) allows us to include links back to this website for more information, and include different layers for different stages.  The listing for a given trail allows us to include a link back to a trail map (either on Alltrails or our own Google map), other useful information (including the overall effort score), and offer an easy way to get directions to the trailhead. I like to include pictures of Margot on this trail, to show that you too can walk it!.

 

 

 

 

 

Click on right-facing triangles to close folders and shrink the menuClick on downward-facing triangles to open folders to expand the menu, and then click on the icon to see more information on the trail.Click here to show these trailsClick here to hide these trailsScribble Map Tips

 

 

 

 

 

A map for the trail itself is also very useful.  Trails created through Google maps or already available on Alltrails allow you to follow your route in real time, and make sure that you are in fact on the right path, and are making the progress you expected.  Like the map for the Trolley Trail and Extension (to the right), these maps also allow you to include other waypoints and photos conveying other useful information, like the parking area, places to sit, and other interesting things to see.

Add photos and waypoints when you create your own trails

 

Previous

Our Solution: Progressive access

Progressive access uses data to guide planners in selecting regular 60 minute hikes that are calibrated to gradually build the capabilities of hikers to take on more and more challenging trails.

Next

Evidenced-based practices for hikers

Core EBPs identified as effective for teaching other skills or preventing problems in people with ASD can be readily adapted to building hiking skills and endurance for those with ID.

Coming soon