Peak bagging (and hills and passes) – an initial upgrade

One of the most popular features of Social Hiking is the automatic peak bagging. The idea is simple (and one I am indebted to Steven Horner for) – the location of peaks is fixed, and as you share your location with Social Hiking (whether live or by uploading a gpx file), the site can identify when you ‘bag’ a peak (giving you a different icon on your map, and adding it to a list of peaks you have bagged).

The data source for the UK is the excellent Database of British Hills, which contains the details of all the notable hills. We later added peaks, this time from the Geonames database, for other parts of Europe (France, Germany and the alpine regions) however, whereas the UK had a nice mix of hills across the country, the Geonames data was primarily bigger (and in a lot of cases inaccessible) peaks.

Peak Bagging in Yorkshire

Peak Bagging in Yorkshire by @InSearchOfCloud

Adventure is a relative term – for some an adventure is the kind of trip Jilly Sherlock is on – cycling across the globe, but for more of us, it is simple just climbing a hill or getting outdoors (a micro adventure – a term I first heard from Alastair Humphreys). I want to encourage and reward anyone who heads outdoors to share their adventures! As such, I have begun the process of expanding what Social Hiking classes as a ‘peak’ – this means including anything Geonames classes as a hill, a peak or a mountain. We have rolled this out for Germany (now 21449 peaks), France (now 3481 peaks), Italy, Norway, Austria and Switzerland – and gradually across the rest of Europe and the World. Also, as Andy Bryant pointed out, there is another issue – for some areas, particularly in the Alps, the peaks are inaccessible to non mountaineers – what is more relevant is pass bagging, so such we have also included anything Geonames classes as a pass!

Pass bagging in Alps by WildTraveller

Pass bagging in Alps by WildTraveller

As each country is rolled out, this new data is checked against all existing maps and your bagged peaks list has been updated accordingly. For now, peaks, hills and passes are treated identically, but this will change in the future (and for the purists among you, there are some more features in development that you are going to like). If you want a particular country prioritised – just let me know!

As part of this new feature, we have added a long missing and requested feature – the ability to browse the peaks (and hills) on a map. On the site, there is now a ‘peaks’ menu option. When this first loads (and depending on your browser and device), the page will request your location and show the peaks where you are. There is also a search option – type a location, and the map will attempt to zoom you to that location (it is a worldwide search, so it is worth specifying the country!). The map, which automatically updates as you zoom or pan the map, will display the 1000 highest peaks, hills, mountains and passes visible on the map (there is also a list on the right hand side of the peaks being displayed).

Browse Social Hiking's peaks, hills, mountains and passes on a map

Browse Social Hiking’s peaks, hills, mountains and passes on a map

This is an initial upgrade – there were a lot of new things behind the scenes required to get this far, which also open up the site for a lot of new features, both related to peak bagging and some other new ideas, so watch this space.

If you have any feedback or suggestions, both related to peak bagging or other features on the site, please just let me know 🙂 

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2 Comments on "Peak bagging (and hills and passes) – an initial upgrade"

  1. Thanks for the mention and more importantly for adding the feature in the first place. I have been a bit out of the loop recently but I should be back to normal and hassling you like Phil Turner always did to add new features. I must apologise for not becoming a supporter and donating financially, that will rectified shortly.

    While I mentioned new features, the feature that has always been sadly missing since you added the Peak bagging is a way to count how many Wainwrights, Munros, Marilyns, etc. I have done, list them and show how many are remaining in the category to complete, that’s true peak bagging. Not a complicated feature technically to add but would improve things massively and encourage me to add all my previous walks.

    Another idea is to add latitude as a source, I didn’t think this was possible but for the last couple of weeks I added Latify (Android app) which lets me control how often my position is updated to Latitude. The app has access to the latitude data, I was asked to confirm authorize the app using my Google login (webpage). So the access is available to third party apps and services. This would be the best source by far, no third party app to start its logged constantly. This would bring up an issue though, There would need to be a control used for setting up a predefined Trip on Social Hiking and it would only log the data during that period. Otherwise my location would be shown 24/7 to everyone and personally I don’t want that. I’m excited about the possibility of this now available as a Social hiking source??

    The last one (for now) downloading of GPX files for a route shown, maybe this could be a selectable feature for a route by the person logging it, but sometimes you see a route someone has done and think I would like to do that, a quick download and I would have the route.

    I’m sure there is a suggestions section which I will find and add these to it (or did I imagine that). Keep up the good work and if you need anymore information or ideas let me know.

    Off to find the donation page and then back to finish migrating my site and updating it, all the best.

  2. daylightgambler says:

    Welcome back Steven – I look forward to being hassled! I know we have covered a few of your points elsewhere, but I thought I would do a formal reply anyway.

    Absolutely lists are missing from the auto peak bagging feature, as well as the ability to manual ‘bag’ a peak (for trips where you do not have a GPX or the peak is not picked up on by Social Hiking). I have in mind a big upgrade for peaks, including those features, for a while now, but I am only now able to implement it. It is a priority for the next major update.

    Likewise adding Latitude as a location source – I have been keeping a vague eye on the additional services that make latitude into something usable as a decent tracking tool. You also touch on another feature that should be included as standard – the ability for maps to not automatically be generated (this is becoming more of an issue as more media has geotags supported). Again the plan is to include both in the next major update.

    As I think you have now spotted – there is now GPX and KML downloads. They are still quite basic (i.e. no media), but I hope to improve on that in the future. There are also a few interesting extras relating to downloads – but I cannot implement them until another major change planned for the next release.

    There is indeed a suggestions area – there is a ‘get satisfaction’ link in the top bar of the site, where you can log ideas as well as ask for help if you get stuck.

    All the best.


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