FAQ

wikitrail.org

Wikitrail FAQ

Basics

Q: Where am I? What is this place?

A: You're on wikitrail.org. Read all about it.

Q: Cool. I came here looking for ___. Where is it?

A: If you're looking for a specific trail, check here. Otherwise, try the search bar above.

Q: I can't find the trail that I was looking for. Where is it?

A: If you can't find the trail that you were looking for, it may not yet be on wikitrail.org. You can request that it be added on wikitrail's feedback page. It's kind of a big deal to add a new trail, though. You'll need to have GPS and elevation data at the very least. This data can be retrieved from *.gpx files - so, if you've taken a GPS device / smartphone onto the trail and recorded your hike, then that may be enough to get started.

Q: I've found the trail I was looking for, but I've not sure what to do next. Help!

A: Ok. That depends on what you're looking for. Had a good or bad experience somewhere, and want to leave a review? More info here. Want to download an offline copy of the trail guide? More info here. You know a specific location on the trail and want to see more details about that location? More info here. Want to make changes to the trail? More info here.

Q: Alright. I've found what I came for. Also, I love wikitrail.org - and by extension you, rhymenocerous. How can I show my appreciation?

A: Aww, thanks. If there's something missing from a trail or something is out of date, please make the appropriate changes. Also, if you have an idea for a feature, please add it to our uservoice acct.


Terminology

Q: I'm seeing icons in the trail guide as well as on the website. Can you explain that those represent?

A: Sure, here's a list of all of the symbols that wikitrail uses:

Dry Water Source Outfitter
Semi-Reliable Water Source Parking
Good Water Source Phone
Atm Post Office
Bar Privy
Barber Restaurant
Campsite Restroom
Cell Coverage River Ford
Context Road
Food Storage Shelter
Hardware Short Term Resupply
Hostel Shower
Hotel Shuttle
Info Side Trail
Internet Swimming
Laundry Town
Long Term Resupply Train
Maildrop Veterinarian
Medical View
Other Wifi

Hopefully, most things here should make sense. Some things need an explanation, though:
  • The quality of a water source comes from user ratings. If it has a rating of four or five stars, then it's listed as a good water source. Two and three stars mean it's a semi-reliable water source, and, of course, one star means that it's dry.
  • Food storage is when a shelter or campsite has some sort of mechanism for keeping food away from animals (esp. bears). Some places have bear cables, some have locked bear boxes and some have poles you can use to hang your food.
  • Long term re-supply is any place with a selection of food and supplies so that you can get what you need for a few days out on the trail. Short-term re-supply is for places with a limited selection of goods (for example, most gas stations). It works in a pinch, but you wouldn't want to rely on it for too long.
  • A maildrop is any place which will accept packages on your behalf. Some stores and hostels along the trail will offer this, but will expect you to to stay with them in exchange.
  • 'Other' is, as you would guess, a catch-all term for any feature on the trail which doesn't fit any of the other categories. These can be anything: a mountain, a gap, a sign, etc.
  • A river ford is any place where you have to cross a river without a bridge - i.e. where you have to walk across the river.

Q: I've seen the word 'feature' used a few times on wikitrail. What does that mean?

A: Within the context of wikitrail.org, a feature simply refers to anything on or off the trail. A shelter is a feature. A water source is a feature. A town is a feature. Etc, etc.

Q: Another term that's got me confused is 'business'. I mean, I know what a business is - but in the context of wikitrail.org?

A: Yup. 'Business' is another word that can mean a lot of different things. Because a business can potentially be a number of things at the same time (e.g. a hostel can in some cases also have short-term-resupply), wikitrail.org attempts to represent this by calling it a business and then saying that it has certain things. So, in the last example, it would be a business, but it would have a 'hostel' and a 'short term resupply'.


Accounts

Q: I try to make an edit or try to login, and it's asking for my google login info. What's up with that?

A: Wikitrail.org does not use a username/password system of its own. Instead - for security reasons - it uses google to authenticate users. The good: if you've already got a google / gmail acct, then this means there is one less password to remember. The bad: if you don't already have a google / gmail acct, then you've got to create one. But I'd say that's a good thing because gmail is a great option for email.

Q: Ok. But I'm not sure I want wikitrail.org to have my google login info.

A: Don't worry. You're not actually giving wikitrail.org your login info - just your email address. Wikitrail has no idea what your google password is.

Q: Alright. But my email address... what is wikitrail.org going to do with that?

A: Wikitrail.org's not going to do anything with your email address. It's just used for identification - not for spam and not sent to any 3rd parties. More info on our privacy policy page.


Offline Trail Guide

Q: Where is it?

A: You can download offline trail guides for individual sections or for an entire trail. In both cases, you'll see a link on the trail / section page: 'Download Trail Guide'. The guides are PDF files.

Q: I've downloaded a guide. What next?

A: Open it up. If you're on a computer, you should already have a PDF reader. If you don't, you can get one here. If you're on a smartphone, hopefully your phone has a PDF reader. I know newer versions of Android phones have a PDF reader built-in. For Apple products, you may need to install a PDF-reading app. I don't have an iPhone, so I cannot recommend a specific one. Do you have an eReader (e.g. a kindle)? Most eReaders support reading PDF files, so try copying the PDF to your eReader. Don't have an eReader OR a smartphone? You can always print the guide out!

Q: I've got the trail guide open. What does it all mean?

A: The first page of the trail guide is going to have some basics of the section / trail - e.g. version as well as some information about the section / trail itself. After that, there's a few different types of pages you might see:

  • There will be a profile page, which lists all of the features along the trail as well as their trail location and elevation. You can get an idea of the contours of the trail by looking at the trail profile, which is to the right side of the page.
  • If there is additional info about the trail features from the previous profile page, then that information will be listed on the next page.
  • If there are any towns with location data, then a map of each town will also be included on its own page.


Site Navigation

Q: I found my trail. What's next?

A: The trails on wikitrail.org are long, so in order to make things easier, they've been broken up into 'sections'. On the trail page, you can see a list of the most popular sections, or if you know which section you want, you can search for it under the 'View All Sections' link.


Reviews

Q: How do I add a review?

A: If you want to leave a review on a section, search for the section and then find the link for 'Add Review'. Same idea for trail features: find what you want to leave a review for, and hit the 'Add Review' link. If you want to see previous reviews, click the 'View Reviews' link.


Editing

Q: I want to edit a feature. How does that work?

A: You can edit the description of any object in wikitrail.org - i.e. trails, sections and features. For features, you can also edit a number of other attributes, depending on what type of feature it is. For example, a business can have a website and a phone number, but a shelter or water source wouldn't have these attributes. Whatever page you're on, just look for the 'edit __' link.

Q: It looks like a trail feature is in the wrong place. How do I move it?

A: Changing the position of a feature means figuring out where the trail positions first went wrong. Is the feature before the feature in question also in the wrong place? If so, then you have to keep going back until you find where the positions got off track. Once you find the core discrepancy, load the page for the feature and adjust the distance between that feature and the one before it. Once you've done that, all features appearing afterward on the trail will also have their positions adjusted.

Q: I found something on wikitrail.org which doesn't actually exist on the trail any more (e.g. a shelter was burned down by lightening). How can I remove it from wikitrail.org?

A: Find the feature and then hit the like 'Remove __ from the trail'.

Q: I found something on the trail which is not on wikitrail.org yet. How can I add it to wikitrail.org?

A: Find the trail or section you want to add the feature to and then hit the like 'Add Feature' link. Next, it will ask you what type of feature you're adding. Choose the appropriate type, and then fill in all of the information about the new feature you have. Most fields are optional, but the more you can fill out, the better. Also, if you're adding a feature to another feature (e.g. adding a hostel to a town), find the town and then look for the 'Add Feature' link on that page. This is important if you want that feature to show up as part of the town.

Q: The map and/or elevation profile looks wrong. How can I fix that?

A: At the moment, there is no way for end-users to fix that. Map and elevation data comes from a .gpx file. If you've got an updated .gpx file with the improved map/elevation, email it to admin@wikitrail.org, and we'll see about importing it into the system.

Q: I found a water source which is dry or not as great as the guide said it would be. How can I update its condition?

A: To change the rating of a water source (or any feature which supports it), you actually add a review to the feature. Part of the review is a rating. So, for example, if you found a dry water source, you would leave a review of 'Water source is dry' and give it 1 star. The actual text of your review is not important, but you should try to keep it helpful if you can. What's important is the rating that you give it. If you give it 1 star, that means it's dry. Five stars means it's a really great water source, and everything in between is whatever you want it to mean. For example, three stars could mean that it's running but it was low or kinda dirty - however you want to see it.

Q: I made an edit, but it's not showing up on the site or in the guide. What's going on?

A: Wikitrail.org processes all edits in the background. This can take a few minutes. If it takes longer than that, then there may be a problem somewhere, and wikitrail.org engineers will investigate as soon as possible.


Misc.

Q: I need to get in touch with you. What's the best way?

A: Please refer to the contact page.

Q: I didn't find the question I was looking for. What now?

A: Oops. Please post you question to wikitrail's uservoice account, and if it's legit, we'll answer it and/or add it to the FAQ.

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  • Wikitrail.org

    Wikitrail.org is a project to create a free, complete and up-to-date guide for the world's long-distance hiking trails. All trail data that you find on this site is submitted by users. If you would like to add something or if you see something wrong, please feel free to fix it. For more info, visit about and faq.

    At the moment, wikitrail only has information about the Appalachian Trail, but if this site proves to be useful, then other long-distance trails will be added.

    Wikitrail.org is a brand new website and has a lot of growing to do. If you find that something is broken, please be patient. We'll will be fixing issues as they arise. If you have anything to say, please feel free to share it on our feedback page. Thanks!

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