Setting up Social Hiking for the TGO Challenge

Several users have asked me for a guide to help them setup Social Hiking for use on TGO Challenge – this post covers how to register, setup your location sources, link media accounts and create your map ready for your challenge. Although specifically for TGO Challengers, other users may find some of the sections useful.

What is the TGO Challenge?

The TGO Challenge is an annual self-supported walking event across the Highlands of Scotland, west coast to east coast. The Challenge is held every May and is sponsored by TGO, the walkers’ magazine, in partnership with Rab, the outdoor equipment specialist. You can find out more on the TGO Challenge website and the TGO website.

(Please note Social Hiking is not endorsed or certified by the organisers of the TGO Challenge nor their partners or sponsors. We are providing unofficial support at the request of our users.)

How Social Hiking can help you share your adventure?

Social Hiking let’s you:

a) create a live updating map of your journey including tweets, photos, videos and audio uploaded live

b) create a record of your trip (or update your live map) by uploading gpx tracks, photos taken using your camera and recorded videos and audio when you have a wifi signal (or when you get home)

c) include your map on a group map, so visitors can view all the maps challengers are sharing on Social Hiking live on a single map (last year’s group map can be viewed at

Getting Setup

The following is a quick guide to getting setup on Social Hiking – if you need any further help, please do not hesitate to email, post a comment on this post, or get in touch on Twitter, Facebook or Google+.

Login & Register

If you are not already registered on Social Hiking, visit and click the ‘Sign in with Twitter’ button on the top right (currently a Twitter account is required to register, but is not otherwise a requirement to use the site).

Complete the registration form – only your username (which defaults to your Twitter screen name, your name and your email address are required fields, the rest can be left as the default values although we would recommend you choose to follow SocialHiking on Twitter and sign up to our occasional newsletter).

Location Sources

If you wish to have a live updating map, you need to add a location source. The following options can be accessed from the ‘Location Sources’ tab on Social Hiking:

  • SPOT – to add a SPOT device you first need to create a public shared page on the SPOT portal and take a note of the web address of this page. In Social Hiking, select the ‘SPOT’ tab and then click ‘Setup SPOT’. Enter the web address of your SPOT public shared page. If you have a SPOT tracker, you can choose to ‘use only the track beacons (so your check in messages are not shared) to create your map (if you are manually sending beacons, please do not select this option).
  • ViewRanger (available on Symbian, Android and iPhone) – Social Hiking supports ViewRanger’s BuddyBeacon feature. Once you have setup BuddyBeacon (for help visit,  return to Social Hiking, select the ‘ViewRanger BuddyBeacon’ tab and click ‘Setup ViewRanger BuddyBeacon’ button. Enter your ViewRanger BuddyBeacon username (this can also be an email address) and pin. As mobile signal is likely to be intermittent, you are recommended to ensure ‘Send Old Positions’ is switched on in your ViewRanger phone settings, and ‘Record Multiple Locations’ is enabled on ViewRanger’s portal – this allows beacons to be stored when you are out of signal (although please note that these are lost if the app closes or crashes).
  • InstaMapper (available on most mobile phones) – For more information on InstaMapper please visit Once you have installed the app, you need to create an account on the InstaMapper website, connect your device to your account and then enable API access – this will give you an API key. In Social Hiking, select the ‘InstaMapper’ tab and then click ‘Setup InstaMapper’. Enter your API key from the InstaMapper website.
  • Media – You can also use Twitter to create points on your map (please see ‘Linked Accounts’ below)

Linked Accounts

Linking media accounts allows you to add easily add tweets, photos, video, audio and other media to your maps.

  • Twitter –  to link a Twitter account (and related accounts), select ‘Twitter’ from the drop down menu and select ‘Link a new account’.  Enter your Twitter username. If you wish you can choose a hashtag (for example #sh) to limit the tweets that appear on your map. If you wish you can also choose to use Twitter to create points on your map by selecting Use Geotags? Finally you can choose to also link other accounts related to your Twitter account including Twitter photos, Twitpics and (if it is your own Twitter account) your Twitter mentions (to create threaded conversations).
  • Camera Photos – if you want to include photos from your camera, then you need to link either a Flickr or Picasa account. When you upload your photos to either of these services, Social Hiking will link them to the correct location of your map based on the time taken (so you need to make sure your camera has the correct time).
  • Other Media – to make a multi-media map you can also include other services like Instagram (photos), Audioboo (for small podcasts) and Bambuser (for videos).

Go for a test

With everything setup, you have done the hard part! Now head outdoors to do a test. With everything setup correctly, you just need to switch on your chosen location source and begin sharing media – Social Hiking will automatically create a map using the data collected.

Final TGO Setup and Joining the Group Map

Assuming your test worked (if not just get in touch so we can check everything for you) – the final setup needed is to create your map ready for your challenge.

  • Login to Social Hiking and click ‘Your Maps’, then select ‘Setup Track’
  • Enter a title, and choose a start and end date for your map (this can be approximate, you can always change it when you get back)
  • If you wish enter a description
  • If you would like others to view your map, to embed your map in your website, or to join the group map, you need to choose ‘Public’ as the privacy setting
  • Save the map
  • To add your map to the TGO 2012 (unofficial) group map, visit, and in the ‘Maps’ tab select ‘Add a map’ and choose your TGO Challenge map you created above (and a colour).

That’s it – you are all setup and ready to share your adventure!

Other Stuff

Here are a few advanced features you might want to take a look at:

  • Embed your map in your website or blog
  • Use @advbot to add context to your tweets during the challenge
  • Add your full route as a layer to your live map
  • Add comments to your map
  • Link media accounts for your hiking companions

Whether you are sharing your challenge on Social Hiking or not, I would like to wish you the best of luck!

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