All posts tagged peaks

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 🙂