New App to help people explore hiking on the North Island

“Hiking trails come up as the number one activity to do on the island.”

Trails on the North Island could be a little bit easier to navigate this summer, thanks to a new app called the North Island Trail Guide App.

Jolie White, Tourism Coordinator for the North Island, had been talking previously about the idea of a trail app with the Tourism Advisory Committee and the Regional District of Mount Waddington for quite a few years.

“Hiking trails come up as the number one activity to do on the island,” said White. “We wanted to create something that provided functionality so, say if you were familiar with Google Maps you could find all the trail details you needed.”

The Regional District of Mount Waddington had a backlog of GPS data that had been collected from previous projects which they were able to repurpose for the app project.

White and the Tourism Advisory Committee contacted the company Strategic Natural Resources in Port McNeill to develop the app once the technology became available to allow them to create a user-friendly and intuitive app.

The app and corresponding website were officially launched this year at the end of March.

White hopes both will function as a planning tool for tourists and local hikers alike.

“We wanted to make sure it’s available out of cell range,” said White, adding the app pulls tracking and location information from the GPS functionality on smartphones so users are able to see their location on the map, even when they are out of cell range.

The app also lists trails by difficulty and includes trail details and estimated length.

“When you don’t know an area very well it’s going to be very helpful for people to navigate the region,” said White, adding they hope “it’s something people might look at, see the number of trails in the area, and decide to extend their stays.”

White said their goal is to continually enhance the app and they hope to expand the data and list of trails available in the app.

“We have a whole list of enhancements that we plan to make in the app. We want to launch a new version of it with enhanced features, but functionality wise we have heard really good feedback from the people who have been using it.”

White said users of the North Island Trail App are welcome to email their feedback to info@vancouverislandnorth.ca. The app is free to download in the app store and Google Play.

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