Tag Archives: Flickr

Bushwalking Navigation | Documenting Your Route Plan

How do you document a route plan? How can you use Google Earth to check the route and save pics of critical navigational decision points? How do you use mapping software to plot and export the waypoints to your GPS, print the route and elevation graph? How can you annotate your map pdfs? How do you protect your maps from the weather?

This post is part 2 of  Bushwalking Navigation | A Route Plan Workflow

Getting the “big picture”

The first step in planning any trip is to read guide books, talk to other bushwalkers and search  bushwalking forums, websites and blogs to discover which routes are popular. 

Once you have decided on your intended route you will need to check water availability, weather conditions, locate existing tracks, property boundaries and permitted camping spots.  Don’t forget to check photographic websites such as Flickr, which give a good idea of popular sites and the scenery to be expected.

Next study the terrain to work out your likely speed, keeping in mind height gains and losses, the density of vegetation, the amount and difficulty of any off-track walking, and the presence of waterfalls in creek lines, which may need to be bypassed.  Once you know these you will be able decide how far apart your camping spots can be and determine each day’s starting and finishing times.

I have discussed many of these navigation techniques and route plan design in previous posts (21) and won’t go further into detail now.

Finding a Map

You should never rely solely upon a GPS for critical navigational decisions and for this reason bushwalkers should always carry topographic maps covering the route, and the surrounding countryside just in case you get off track. These can be purchased from a local map or outdoors shop, and are usually available at 1:50,000 scale but sometimes at 1:25,000, which provide more detail, for popular areas.

If you are walking the Heysen Trail in South Australia, there are two excellent guide books (Northern and Southern), with log books readily available available which include maps that are adequate for most walkers. The CFS also publishes (Mapland) excellent map books, and these too are available from map and outdoor shops. Many downloadable walking brochures for our parks are available from the Department of Environment’s Parks SA website.

With digital maps readily available, many people are using mapping software to select just the relevant parts of maps and to enlarge these beyond the 1:50K scale than is usually available in printed maps, making it easier to see the contour and creek lines. If you are lucky enough to live in NZ, you can download 1:50,000 maps free of charge and even Australia has 1:250,000 maps for free download from Geoscience which are useful for getting the big picture and planning access roads.

Using Mapping Software

My apologies to Windows users for the following Mac centric discussion. 

As a MacBook Pro user I have used MacGPS Pro mapping software for many years to import my scanned maps, plot my routes and export the waypoints to my GPS. A print out of the waypoints file is an essential record of each waypoint’s  name, grid reference, comments, and elevation

One big advantage of mapping software is that it is possible to enlarge the map on screen to locate the exact position of known waypoints  or to determine the grid reference to 7 figure accuracy of any point you can see. Once you have decided on your waypoints you can rapidly link these to form a route, calculating distances and bearings automatically by dragging from point to point, and plotting a route elevation graph by selecting the route single click. The elevation graph is useful for estimating time to be taken.

From MacGPS Pro

The disadvantage of using a Macintosh is that without a Windows emulator, such as Bootcamp, and an installed version of Windows, OziExplorer software doesn’t work.

For older Macs (not using intel cpu) use Virtual PC or for new OS X Macs with the Intel CPU use either Bootcamp or emulation software called VirtualBox or ParallelsVirtualBox (Sun Microsystems Inc.) is free for personal use. It works in OS X on Intel Macs. (OziExplorer – Running OziExplorer on a MAC or Linux Computer )

There is a way to overcome this and that is to import the maps from the disc in .ecw format into a graphics program such as Graphic Converter, select the relevant part and then save as a PICT or TIFF file.  Some of the .ecw image files are small enough to import directly into a mapping program such as MacGPS Pro.

Often the .ecw image file will be accompanied by a matching .map calibration file and providing you keep it in the same folder as the ecw file, you can then import into MacGPS Pro and automatically calibrate the map. You could of course still do it the old way which was to scan and process a hard copy of the map.

Assuming there is no matching .map file available, calibrating a digital map using MacGPS Pro requires that you first rotate the map (using GraphicConverter) so the northing gridlines are horizontal and then enter the full 7 figure grid references of four widely spread points, usually near the corners of your map.

Top Left:  Easting 0263000 Northing 6540000, Grid Zone 54J, AGD94

From MacGPS Pro

You must also enter the UTM grid zone and know the projection and map datum eg I am using a portion of the Oraparinna map for a forthcoming trip

From MacGPS Pro

NB UTM Grid Zones is SA are either 52 (far west), 53 (west) or 54 (central and east)

Annotating your pdfs

Annotated portion of Oraparinna map

There are several programs (I use Skim) that allow you to annotate a pdf. This is particularly useful as it allows you to add grid references to the margins of your map (NB MacGPS Pro has a menu item “View/Gridlines” which does this automatically for you) and add notes about the route. Most programs allow you to add arrows showing routes and highlights. Once you have done this, you can export as a pdf and if you have the full version of Acrobat take advantage of its ability to reduce the file size significantly, to as much as a tenth.

Using Google Earth to Plan a Route

Google Earth can be used to visualize the route, finding 4WD tracks, checking whether creek lines are heavily vegetated and to see if ridges would be easier going. Cattle, goat and sheep tracks converging on a creek line probably indicates a waterhole, spring or a shallow crossing. Rainwater tanks, galvanised iron shelters, windmills and bores can sometimes be seen in Google Earth, even if they are not marked on the map.

Flinders Ranges: Google Earth screen capture

Simply import your .kml file showing your waypoints and then zoom in and tilt to see your route in 3D. Use a screen capture program, such as  Snapz Pro X, to capture pics of significant parts of the route, with your waypoints shown. Save these to your iPhone, camera or print, for later reference while on the walk.

NB I can never get my GPS waypoints to exactly match those in Google Earth, as I assume it uses a different map datum

Protecting your maps

One of the advantages of printing your maps from pdfs is that you can print them in A4 format which means they can either be laminated back-to-back or placed in a map case without the need for folding.

Other relevant posts

The Bushwalking Navigation series

Other Resources

Department of Environment’s Parks SA website
Bushwalk Australia Forum
Friends of the Heysen Trail

  Creative Commons LicenseThis article by Bush Walker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


Bushwalking 2.0 | Some Social Media Websites to Grow your Club

Once you have a social media plan to grow your bushwalking Club membership you may be wanting some ideas to help you implement it. Here are a few social media websites to help you get your message out to prospective members.


This website allows you to send short text messages (tweets) to other users. As mentioned in an earlier post,  it is a good idea to monitor what others are saying about you and other local bushwalking clubs so you can modify your focus if needed. Including the ability to “tweet” directly from your website allows visitors to tell others about your website and creates a snow ball effect. Tweets can attract traffic to your website and may appear in search engines.


 A club Facebook page is a great way to promote your “brand” and allow “friends” to send messages and post news to your “wall”. Many bushwalking Clubs already have a FB presence and if you were really keen you could place an advert. You can add share buttons to your website to allow visitors to promote your web page via FB


This is an ideal place to post photos and video from Club walks, which can then be used to promote your website, via links. They can be made publicly available or if you want kept private for only Club members. Flickr has limited value as a direct promotional tool but does help your Google ranking.

PS You could use the comments and ranking facility built into the site to administer your Club photo competitions.


YouTube is a video sharing website to which you can upload small video clips taken by your member’s smartphones or cameras. What better way is there to show what a fun Club you have than to post clips from bushwalks and other activities? Links in the video description can very effectively link back to your website. Videos rank highly in search engines.


digg is a social news site where you can place items, of news value to the bushwalking community, which can then be linked by other bushwalking sites and blogs. News items rate highly in search engines and can lift your prominence quickly if widely distributed.

StumbleUpon and Reddit

These are social news sites where web pages can be  shared and found by potential new members.


This is a social bookmarking site where you can share your bookmarks which might be of interest to other bushwalkers, instead of hiding them away in your website. If your bookmark list is comprehensive and has lots of keywords to help searching, you may attract lots of visitors. Have a link from your home page to your Club’s bookmarks on delicious.

For example: oz.bushwalkingskills bookmarks



Acknowledgement: Some of the descriptions were developed from The CMO’s Guide to the Social Landscape (2011) pdf

  Creative Commons LicenseThis article by Bush Walker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Bushwalking 2.0 | A Social Media Plan to Grow your Club.

Social media are familiar to everyone and can help your Club collaborate, share, welcome, energise, update, compete, promote, plan, collate, produce, discuss, record, and present, using well known web 2.0 interactive tools such as Twitter, blogs, Skype, IM, YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, wikis and forums.

Web 2.0 tools can help you collaborate with other Club members to develop new resources, share the work load, make new members feel welcome, update guides and policies, run competitions, promote your Club to the public, plan events, collate, edit and distribute digital newsletters, promote discussion, and record events, skills and presentations.

Your members are probably already talking about your Club using social media. There are tools available to check what your target audience are saying about you: Google Alerts, Twitter Search, Technorati are but a few.

What are they saying? Is it positive or negative or simply non-existent? Do they have misconceptions? Do you want to capitalise on the opportunities available to promote your Club to new members?

The first step to grow your Club is to devise a social media plan, keeping in mind your goals and probably limited resources.

Some questions to be answered:

  • What are you trying to achieve?
  • What do you want to change?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • What sort of relationships would you like to form?
  • How would you like to change your relationship with your target audience?
  • What resources (time, people, money) are available to implement your plan and maintain it?
  • What have you already tried and how successful was it?
  • How do you intend to promote the changes?
  • How will you know if it is working?

NB It is critical that everyone in your Club hierarchy is supportive and part of the development of this plan. 

Read more about using social media and web 2.0 tools

Some of the ideas here have been adapted from the Museum 2.0 How to develop a small scale social media plan and the Museum Social Media Strategic Planning Worksheet

  Creative Commons LicenseThis article by Bush Walker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

iPhone Apps for Bushwalkers Revisited

It’s over a year since I began reviewing iPhone apps for bushwalkers. During this time I have tried hundreds and found that I only use a few regularly.

While there are hundreds of iPhone apps useful to bushwalkers and growing every day, what you personally find useful is determined by your past experience, the type of walking you do, your interests,  and your willingness to be dependent on high tech devices.

After trying most, I regulary use only a few of these. On bushwalks, my choice will vary as it is dependent upon on the duration of my walk, and hence how important it is to save battery power,  and upon how much non-walking time I will have available.

My iPhone Apps

Navigation: Bit Map, Declination, Maps, Google Earth, Compass
Field Guides: Good Reader, BooksApp, Kindle, Aus. Birds (Morecomb), Field Guide Fauna Museum Victoria, Bird in Hand, WhatBirdNZ, Wikipanion, MyEnviro, FrogLog
Bushcraft / Survival : KnotsGuide, SASSurvival, Knots, GoneTrekking
Camp Food: Jamie Oliver’s Recipes, Poh’s Kitchen, Nigella Quick (….LOL)
Fitness: Walkmeter, Beat Monitor, Cadence, iHandy Level
Weather: Pkt Weather, Rainspotting, Clouds, iBarometer, ShralpTide, Clouds,WeatherNZ
Travel: Frequent Flyer, Webjet, Plane Finder, Lonely Planet, Trip Advisor
Astronomy: Star walk, Star Guide
NZ: WeatherNZ, WhatBirdNZ, SnowReports
Photography: Flickr
Medical: Elastoplast, MediProfiles, St John NZ

Disclaimer: Navigation using your iPhone always needs to be backed up with a compass, map and a dedicated GPS. 

I have written reviews of many of these iPhone apps previously in this blog, several articles about how to use iPhone apps in general while bushwalking, and detailed articles which focus upon iPhone apps for navigation, fitness and NZ.


  Creative Commons LicenseThis article by Bush Walker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

How to Best Upload and Share Your Bushwalking and Hiking Photos

Where should I store my photos taken with my iPhone or digital camera? What is the best app to use to share them with my friends? Which app offers the best value?  Should I get a paid account or will the free version be sufficient? How do popular apps Flickr, SmugMug and Picasa compare?

I have spent some time reviewing the options for uploading photos for viewing and have made a summary below.  Storage of photos is best done on a DVD or a removable hard drive; your hard drive is only for the short term.

Alternatives: How to sync, share, and publish with third-party tools

“…., a free Flickr account lets you upload 100MB of media per month (with unlimited total storage); a $25-per-year Pro account gives you unlimited photo and video uploads, as well as numerous other features. Smugmug presents your photos more stylishly than Flickr; accounts with unlimited storage start at $40 per year. “


iPhone apps:

Web Albums – A Picasa Photo Viewer, Uploader and  Manager By Scott Sykora
iPicasso -Picasa web albums

Want Picasa on your desktop?

Picasa 3.8 Mac (beta)
Picasa Web Albums Uploader for Mac
Picasa vs iPhoto
Comparison Picasa 3.5.1

Want both? Then you can import photos from iPhoto into Picasa using RSS feed and then upload to the web.

Better Ways to Share

  • Create online albums to share pictures by email without large attachments.    
  • Print with ease, print pictures at home or online
  • One click lets you copy your pictures to a memory card so you can display them on your digital frame.
  • Make a video with your digital camera and then upload to YouTube™ with just one click.
  • Upload directly to Facebook™ with a few simple clicks.
  • Upload top Flickr

Compare Flickr with Picasa

My summary below has beeen compiled from several excellent blogs on this topic.

Picasa vs Flickr : Ultimate giants of photo sharing, which service is better for you?
by Rahul on June 23, 2009
Photo faceoff: Flickr vs. Picasa ( a little dated)
16 August, 2007 by Chris 
5 Reasons Flickr Runs Circles Around Picasa
by Adria Richards 14 September 2009
Flickr, Picasa and SmugMug Shootout
Jarel Remick on March 25th 2010

Both Flickr and Picasa have tagging, search and social networking so you can share with friends and see what they have uploaded, although Flickr has more options. Both provide RSS feeds so you can track what your friends are doing. Flickr allows RSS feeds based on tags


  • Flickr requires a Yahoo account. The free account has adverts.There is a Pro paid account. Free vs paid Flickr account
  • Picasa requires a Google account, and integrates with other Google apps

Developer tools

  • Lots of APIs for Flickr. None for Picasa


  • Picasa gives you 6Gb for $20/yr. Any storage purchased is shared amongst your other Google accounts
  • Flickr gives you more (limited without the pro version) for $25/yr
Ease of upload

  • Optimised settings
  • Flickr limits bandwidth per month (100Mb)  while Picasa limits storage
  • Flickr 200 photos max most recently uploaded for free users. Don’t get deleted just hidden until you delete some. Flickr: No limit. Upload infinite photos and videos. But there is limit of total 100MB of photos and 2 videos every month.
  • Picasa: A free user can create up to 250 albums, total 500 photos and videos per album, i.e. total 1,25,000 photos.
  • Upload from mobile: Picasa easier than Flickr
Size limits

Free User

  • Picasa Photo: 20MB and 50 Megapixel Video : 1GB Total Capacity : 1GB
  • Flickr: Photo : 10MB Video : 150MB Total Capacity: 100MB/month  

    Paid users

  • PIcasa Photo: 20MB and 50Megapixel Video : 1GB Very expensive beyond the 80Gb/$20 per year 
  • Flickr Photo : 20MB Video : 500MB Total Capacity : Unlimited. Much better for professional photographers Total Capacity : Options of 20GB, 80GB, 200GB, 400GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, 8TB and 16TB.
  • Google storage can be upgraded at any time so you can start with the minimum 20Gb at $5 p/year and upgrade as you need it.
  • Paid version of Flickr is without ads.


  • Flickr: by location, keywords or tags, and then most relevant or most interesting.


“Flickr allows it’s images to be indexed by Google, Google Images and Yahoo which extends the reach of your photos well beyond the Flickr.com website. All you need to do is properly tag and describe your photos for them to grow wings. You can include URL links in the description as well and I do that often to link my screenshots back to blog posts I write.” (Adria’s blog)

Community/ Social networking

Flickr better. Photo pools. Unmatched social networking till now. Very easy to comment on other’s photos and add as a contact. There are several groups and discussions going on. Lots of people comment and discuss each other’s photos. This social networking aspect is one of the biggest and major attractions of Flickr which Picasa will find it very tough to beat.

Video formats

  • Picasa 3GP, AVI, ASF, MOV, WMV, MPG, MP4, M2T, MMV, M2TS
  • Flickr AVI, WMV, MOV, MPEG (1, 2 and 4), 3GP

Web presence

  • Much better exposure to public on Flickr


  • Picasa : unlimited albums, but no sub-albums
  • Flickr : 3 sets plus photostream of up to 200 photos
  • Both have Slideshow
  • Picasa  has an excellent utility to organise and edit photos prior to upload. 
  • It automatically gathers all media files on the hard disk and provides easy navigation for the user. Just a click of the ‘Upload’ button will upload hundreds of photos to the Picasa Web Albums. 
  • Other options available are ‘Blog This!’, ‘Print’, ‘Email’, ‘Movie’ and ‘Collage’ maker. 

Other features

  • Edit tags, captions, titles. Include EXIF data including gps location for both
  • Slideshow yes for both
  • Abbreviate URL link for emailing. Flickr better
  • Subscribe to comments
  • Favourites
  • Publish to blog (Picasa) through desktop software, Flickr within web app

 “Flickr makes it easy to “share” your photos and give people the right to use your photos in a way where you get credit for the images and they can use them on their websites. This is known as Creative Commons. There are several types of CC licensing and you can read to find out which option fits you. I usually choose, “Attribution with non-commercial” (Adria’s blog)



  • Public
  • Unlisted (send album link, no sign in required)
  • Private (by invitation) 
  • Post to only friends without need for an account.  Picasa integrates with other Google apps such as Gmail


  • Public (visible to everyone) Visible to friends (visible to people whom you add as friends, viewers need to be signed in and added to your contacts as friends before hand, a disadvantage)
  • Visible to family (visible to people whom you add as family, viewers need to be signed in and added to your contacts as family before hand, a disadvantage)
  • Private (only visible to you)

While Travelling

  • Remember that if you wish to upload your full size photos while on holiday that is an entirely different scenario
  • Uploading full size photos is very slow from a hotel room
  • Buy some extra storage cards for your camera or burn them to DVD at an internet cafe, by inserting your card ( lock it first) directly into the desktop.
  • Once you have uploaded you may not be able to get the full size photos back.

Any other ideas? Please comment.

Creative Commons License
This article by Bush Walker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Tackling an Ageing and Falling Club Membership Part 3

Using Some Web 2.0 Technologies to Improve and Retain Club Members (Part 3)

Blogs (online diaries like this)

Do you want your Association/Club’s web page to be easily found in a Google search by potential new members?

 One of the best ways is to have new content appearing on your website regularly and what could be easier for your webmaster than having a member’s blog. Even better, good content will encourage others to link to your blog, positioning your website even higher in web searches. The more “followers” your blog has the better so offer the opportunity for people to choose to get automatic updates when you add to your blog.

Do you want greater ownership and participation from your members?

A blog encourages interaction between members and it is this interaction that is more important than the content itself in retaining members. Younger members are familiar with and welcome this high level of interaction that is missing from most conventional club websites. Your club leaders should take the opportunity to browse you club blog and to interact with new members

It is possible have contributions and comments automatically ranked and use this as a guide to what is popular and to respond and provide more of the same.

Why have a boring website that no one reads?

Sharing Photos and Videos.

Improve Club spirit by encouraging members to add photos and videos to your gallery. Organise an annual club photo and/or video competition using free web 2.0 photo sharing sites such as Flickr,  Picassa and YouTube. Don’t just upload members photos to your gallery, but ask them to comment and rate the photos posted. Offer prizes for the best in a variety of categories, using online voting.

Improve Participation by Improving Communication

Do you struggle to get “new blood” on your Committee? Have you thought about running Committee meetings online for those who can’t make it due to other commitments? How can members be reminded of Club events in a way that can’t easily be ignored?

 There are many programs around which allow you to chat with others and  to share good quality video and audio free of charge.

SMS is universal – nearly everyone has a mobile phone; it’s instant – messages are normally delivered in 10 seconds or less; and it’s reacted to by most people, more so than letters, emails or phone calls.

Why not try some of the ideas above? 

Don’t expect  to see a rapid uptake as it takes time for inhibitions to be overcome and for web 2.0 technologies to be accepted by those who are only familiar with the old paper copy or fax. Many people are happy to read a blog but feel embarrassed about commenting.

“Seed” your blog  by asking Committee members to regularly contribute until momentum takes hold.

Other posts in this series can be found by clicking on the membership tag on the right of this page
Post Options
Tackling an Ageing and Falling Club Membership Part 2
Tackling an Ageing and Falling Club Membership Part 1
Creative Commons License
This article by Bush Walker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Tackling an Ageing and Falling Club Membership Part 1

The problem

Most Clubs and Associations have in common an aging and falling membership. It is often difficult to fill leadership positions. Surveys of members will often show that they consider this to be the most important issue that their club leadership should tackle.

How do we tackle this problem? Can we use  web 2.0 technologies to help us? What could work?

An common goal of all clubs and associations is to recruit more, and preferably younger, members and then to retain them. Try to share the load better so that a few dedicated members don’t do all the work and burn out.

Older members might be tempted to send out an email or even a letter to existing members and ask them to approach prospective members. These can be expensive and ineffective with poor response rates.

Web 2.0 technologies involve interaction and are very familiar to  young people, with well known examples being FaceBook, YouTube, Flickr, Twitter. They offer the opportunity to interact with potential members who have never thought of joining a walking club and by the nature of the marketing technique, represent the target audience we need most.

All clubs need to spend some time marketing themselves using web 2.0 technologies.

Other articles in the series:

Creative Commons License
This article by Bush Walker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.