When I did a hike in Spain, I wanted to share the journey on social media and a website. I also wanted to share the route live whilst I was walking.
I decided to do this through the following strategies:
- A website built on WordPress with a customised theme
- A plugin that shows a map with a location pin
- A mobile phone with a GPS signal and a 3G internet connection
- A Twitter account & tweeting with the location and an image
- A Garmin GPS unit to keep a track log and as a backup
GPS and Twitter
When I did the walk, I carried the Garmin GPS unit with me to record a track log to make a backup GPX of the route. I turned on location recording on my Twitter account so that the tweets that I posted had a latitude and longitude attached to them. When I posted a Tweet from my Twitter account, I also posted an image so that this image would also have location information attached to it.
Charging the Batteries
I needed to make sure that I had charged batteries for the GPS unit and my mobile phone was fully charged. I charged both of these devices via a solar panel.
The Mobile Phone Used
The mobile phone that I used was an iPhone 5. There are better phones now with a longer battery lives but at the time this did the job.
The GPS unit used
The Garmin unit that was used was an Etrex Vista HCX which I had lying around from previous journeys. Detailed maps can be loaded onto it. These days you can also load detail Maps onto a mobile phone, but it helps to have separation of concerns between devices in case one fails. The GPS unit also recorded detailed altitude information and information that I could upload onto a website called GPS visualizer (GPX file).
Once I had completed the journey, I wanted to communicate it. One-way was through a map with a waypoint marker shown on each blog post on my WordPress site.
I used GPS visualizer website to show the track log on a Google Map and a graph of altitude information. Finally, I created a Google Map which showed way markers for each tweet, with a pop-up window showing the photo and the text from the tweet.
- Effective method of documenting my journey
- Connected my journey to a wider audience via Twitter
- Loss of internet connection in some remote areas
- High level of technical ability needed for some of the pieces
- Time to prepare and execute
It would be helpful to have someone else to help with this kind of thing. Especially if you want to do it over the long-term. There is a lot of work involved. There is also a cost for hosting a WordPress website so you should take this into account.