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FR - National Geographic TI Explorer - Mike Wilkie

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  • Mike Wilkie
    FR - National Geographic TI Explorer   Mike Wilkie   Hi,   Please find my report below or the HTML version in the test folder via the link below.  Thank
    Message 1 of 2 , Jan 27, 2010
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      FR - National Geographic TI Explorer
       
      Mike Wilkie
       
      Hi,
       
      Please find my report below or the HTML version in the test folder via the link below.  Thank you for your edits.
       
      http://tinyurl.com/yzqe2kg

       
      Best Regards,
      Mike Wilkie
       
       
      NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC TI SOFTWARE
      ADIRONDACK PARK EXPLORER 3D - TEST SERIES BY MIKE WILKIE
      FR
      January 27, 2010
       
      TESTER INFORMATION
       
      NAME: Mike Wilkie
      EMAIL: foreverwild76 at yahoo dot com
      AGE: 33
      LOCATION: Davenport, New York (USA)
      GENDER: M
      HEIGHT: 5' 8" (1.73 m)
      WEIGHT: 150 lb (68.00 kg)
       
      Hiking for me started at an early age, as I was always an avid camper and as a Scout my backpacking obsession began. Now living in the Catskill Region backpacking has become serious for me over the years. I hike, snowshoe, canoe, snowboard or multi-day backpack through the Catskills or Adirondacks almost every weekend. I use and practice safe lightweight techniques and have greatly reduced my pack weight, adding both comfort and miles to my adventures. As an aspirant of the Catskill-3500 Club and Adirondack-46ers, peak-bagging is my main outdoor activity. My long-term goals are to complete long distance thru-hikes.
       
      Field and Testing Locations
       
      The Adirondack Park Explorer software was used to plan various backcountry trips for the Central, West-Central and High Peak Regions of the Adirondacks.  Below is a list of my planned trips that have been taken during the field-testing period of this test series.  I also have several trips that are still in planning, but still have yet to be completed.  These trips will be taken during the Long-Term Report period so they will be posted for that review.
      Cascade Lake - West-Central Region
      This was a 6-mile (9.7 km) snowshoe loop with and average elevation of 1950 ft (594 m).  Trail difficulty was easy with a wide double track trail for most of the trek.  The terrain was mostly level for the entire hike.  Snowshoes were worn for the whole length of the trip as the trail offered solid 2 ft (61 cm) snow base.  Trail breaking was need for about half of the trail.  The weather was cold with temperatures around 14 F (-10 C) with light snow at times.
      Bald Mountain (Rondax) - West-Central Region
      This mountain climbed to an elevation of 2350 ft (716 m) on a maintained trail of 2 miles (3.2 km) out and back.  Snowshoes were worn for the entire hike.  The conditions were cold with temperatures in the negatives at the summit.  Wind gusts were strong and even prevented a climb up the fire tower.
      Snowy Mountain - Central Region
      This was another mountain climb, but to an elevation of 3899 ft (1188 m).  The conditions were cold at 15 F (-9 C) and light snow for most of the day.  Roundtrip the trail was 7.8 miles (12.6 km) out and back.  The terrain was about moderate in difficulty, but snowshoes were worn for the entire trip.
      West-Central Region
      The Explorer program was also used to plan my Christmas vacation.  This was a weeklong trip where the software was use for travel information within the park.  The program offered great for highway and back roads directions.  For this trip, the Adirondack Park Explorer was use for both front and backcountry planning.
       
      Field Evaluations and Assessments
       
      During this leg of the test series for the Adirondack Parks Explorer software, I have planned for many completed and soon to be completed backcountry adventures.  The software has provided a great resource for route planning, distance measuring, highlighting trails and printing maps.
      Thus far, I have really enjoyed exploring the Adirondack via the Explorer program.  It has offered features that have mad trip planning easy.  I found different features to be of good use for a variety of adventures.  Some feature proved valuable for day hiking and backpacking, others for peak bagging and canoeing.
      For mountain climbing trips, I found the fly-by and elevation profiling to be important features.  The maps show open waters and various tributaries with camping areas as well as lean-tos along water routes that will be useful for canoe trip planning.  For hiking and backpacking, many of the program's features are of great use.  To name a few; view and save trail profiles, route and trail highlighting, imbedding personal notes along routes and at various locations and the ability to save any work to reopen later for additional planning.  For all activities, I found the place finder/search to be of great use and the ability to transfer trip info to my GPS as well as printing maps.
      As for as the printed maps, I still have concerns with the resolution in which they are printed.  In order to print a map with decent detail and a good reading of contour lines, the area printed is of only a small area.  Therefore, many maps must be printed to gain a good visual of the surrounding are of a particular location.  When I try to print the map at a zoom level to see more of the surrounding area or at a higher resolution, the map printed is only a 2x2 in (5x5 cm) square.  This is obviously two small to be reading when in the backcountry.
      I am still having some issues with the programs stability.  As explained in the Initial Review, if I travel around the map to quickly, not allowing the map to load for every few inches moved I receive a popup error.  This error then forces the program to shut down and any work that is not saved is lost.  Therefore, I must be careful when moving through the maps and be sure to save often as possible.  This does not happen often, but when it does, it is frustrating.  To be honest, software today should not be this fragile or touchy.
      Another issue I have is with trail measurements.  I sometimes do not get an accurate measurement when at zoom levels less than the max of four.  Therefore, if zoomed at levels one through three route or trails measurements will not be accurate.  In order to get an accurate measurement, I must make sure I am at the highest zoom level.  In addition, loop measurements are not accurate as well.  I feel that the program gets confused when trying to measure trail loops or sometimes at trail junctions or road crossings.
      The last issue I have is with local details that are not included on the maps.  I feel many details such as local businesses would be of great value for the backcountry planner, especially long distance hikers.  Such business that would be of importance would be grocery or convenience stores, back, visitor centers and accommodations.
      Some of my favorite features include the "view trails, notes and routes" of a specific area and the corresponding number of the trail that matches trails in the Adk (Adirondack Mountain Club) trail guidebooks.  When exploring a particular area I can ask the program to show all of the trails in that surrounding area.  This list gives some brief details of the trails and their trail number.
      These features are useful when planning routes that consist of multiple trails or trail junctions.  For a complete description of the trails, I can use the trail numbers found on the Explorer maps to locate the trail within the Adk trail guidebooks.
       
      SUMMARY
       
      With all of the negative finding, I found with the Adirondack Park Explorer Software, it still has proven to be an excellent resource and trip or route planning tool.  Even though the low msrp cost is well worth what I get out of the program, I do feel a redesign is in order to be comparable to other programs.  With a more sophisticated approach, I feel the Parks Explorer software would be of more value to the end user.  With that said, even with the old-school feel of the program it still performed well enough to make trip planning much more easily than using an in-print map.  However, be sure to keep that in-print map for field use as it maybe easier to read than printing multiple pages for an area.
      Many other features still make this program a valuable resource for field use and trip planning.  The GPS transfer is one of the better features as well as many route planning and designing features.  Although, the printed map can be improved, they too are a good feature to have.
       
      Pros
       
      GPS transfer
      Corresponding trail numbers to the Adk trail guide books
      View trails, notes and route feature
      Route highlighting, distance measuring and elevation profiles
       
      Cons
       
      Low resolution for printed maps
      Local details not included
      Stability issues with the program freezing and shutting down
       
       
       
      This report was created with the BGT Report Generator.
      Copyright 2010.  All rights reserved.




      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • pamwyant
      EDIT: Field Report National Geographic TI Explorer Software – Mike Wilkie Hi Mike, Good info in your report. I found an awfully lot of small edits though.
      Message 2 of 2 , Jan 31, 2010
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        EDIT: Field Report National Geographic TI Explorer Software – Mike Wilkie

        Hi Mike,

        Good info in your report. I found an awfully lot of small edits though. I would like to suggest that you proofread your reports before posting, since having to catch so many small things makes it more time-consuming than it should be to edit a report from a veteran tester.

        With that said, here are your edits:


        Cascade Lake - West-Central Region
        This was a 6-mile (9.7 km) snowshoe loop with and average elevation of 1950 ft (594 m).

        ### EDIT: …with *an* average elevation…

        Trail difficulty was easy with a wide double track trail for most of the trek.

        ### Comment: `Trail difficulty was easy' sounds a little odd to me. Perhaps just "The trail was easy" would be better?

        The terrain was mostly level for the entire hike. Snowshoes were worn for the whole length of the trip as the trail offered solid 2 ft (61 cm) snow base.

        ### Edit: …trail offered *a* solid 2 ft….

        West-Central Region
        The Explorer program was also used to plan my Christmas vacation. This was a weeklong trip where the software was use for travel information within the park.

        ### EDIT: …where the software was *used* for travel information…

        The program offered great for highway and back roads directions.

        ### Edit: This seems incomplete somehow. Or maybe the word "offered" is what is throwing it off. Do you mean "The program was great for highway and back roads directions"? Or maybe something like "The program offered great highway and back roads directions for my travels"?

        For this trip, the Adirondack Park Explorer was use for both front and backcountry planning.

        ### EDIT: …was *used* for…

        Thus far, I have really enjoyed exploring the Adirondack via the Explorer program.

        ### Edit: …exploring the *Adirondacks* (or Adirondack area)

        It has offered features that have mad trip planning easy.

        ### Edit: I love those "mad trips". ;^) But I think you mean "*made* trip planning" in this case.

        I found different features to be of good use for a variety of adventures. Some feature proved valuable for day hiking and backpacking, others for peak bagging and canoeing.

        ### Edit: Some *features* proved…



        As for as the printed maps, I still have concerns with the resolution in which they are printed. In order to print a map with decent detail and a good reading of contour lines, the area printed is of only a small area. Therefore, many maps must be printed to gain a good visual of the surrounding are of a particular location.
        ###Edit: …good visual of the surrounding *area*…

        When I try to print the map at a zoom level to see more of the surrounding area or at a higher resolution, the map printed is only a 2x2 in (5x5 cm) square. This is obviously two small to be reading when in the backcountry.

        ### Edit: …obviously *too* small…


        I am still having some issues with the programs stability. As explained in the Initial Review, if I travel around the map to quickly, not allowing the map to load for every few inches moved I receive a popup error. This error then forces the program to shut down and any work that is not saved is lost.

        ### EDIT: …if I travel around the map *too* quickly… Also a comma is needed after "for every few inches moved"

        Therefore, I must be careful when moving through the maps and be sure to save often as possible.

        ### Edit: …be sure to save *as* often as possible (or simply state "be sure to save often")



        Another issue I have is with trail measurements. I sometimes do not get an accurate measurement when at zoom levels less than the max of four. Therefore, if zoomed at levels one through three route or trails measurements will not be accurate.


        ### Edit: Need a comma between "three" and "route" for clarity.

        The last issue I have is with local details that are not included on the maps. I feel many details such as local businesses would be of great value for the backcountry planner, especially long distance hikers. Such business that would be of importance would be grocery or convenience stores, back, visitor centers and accommodations.

        ### Edit: "Such *businesses* that would be…
        ### Edit: Also, "back" doesn't make sense in the list of businesses.


        Some of my favorite features include the "view trails, notes and routes" of a specific area and the corresponding number of the trail that matches trails in the Adk (Adirondack Mountain Club) trail guidebooks.

        ### Comment: Should "ADK" be all caps?

        These features are useful when planning routes that consist of multiple trails or trail junctions. For a complete description of the trails, I can use the trail numbers found on the Explorer maps to locate the trail within the Adk trail guidebooks.'

        ### Comment: Same as above on whether "ADK" should be all caps.

        SUMMARY
        With all of the negative finding, I found with the Adirondack Park Explorer Software, it still has proven to be an excellent resource and trip or route planning tool.

        ### Comment: Might I suggest re-wording a bit? Perhaps "In spite of all the negatives I found with the Adirondack Park Explorer Software, it still has….

        Even though the low msrp cost is well worth what I get out of the program, I do feel a redesign is in order to be comparable to other programs.

        ### Comment: I'd suggest leaving "msrp" out, or spelling it out.

        With a more sophisticated approach, I feel the Parks Explorer software would be of more value to the end user. With that said, even with the old-school feel of the program it still performed well enough to make trip planning much more easily than using an in-print map.

        ### Edit: …to make trip planning much *easier* than…


        However, be sure to keep that in-print map for field use as it maybe easier to read than printing multiple pages for an area.

        ### Edit: Sort of borders on projection, even though you don't use the word "you". Can you word it as "However, I will be sure to keep in-print maps for field use as I find it easier than printing multiple pages for an area"?


        Many other features still make this program a valuable resource for field use and trip planning. The GPS transfer is one of the better features as well as many route planning and designing features.

        ### Edit: need a comma after "one of the better features". Also "many route planning and designing features seems a little vague. Can you detail that further? If not, you might consider dropping that last part.

        Although, the printed map can be improved, they too are a good feature to have.

        ### Edit: You need to change the mixed tense here, and technically there should be a comma after they and too. That would be either "Although the printed maps can be improved, they, too, are a good feature to have" or "Although the printed map can be improved, it, too, is a good feature to have." Better yet, I would re-word it a bit to avoid all the necessary commas – "Although the printed maps could be improved, I think they are also a good feature to have.


        Pros
        GPS transfer
        Corresponding trail numbers to the Adk trail guide books

        ### Comment: ADK?

        View trails, notes and route feature

        ### Edit: *features*
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