This content is in the form of a "blog", following the development path of the concept.
To continue the story above ("About Multi-Apps"), I made two of these experimental apps in preparation for my UK Trip in 2015 which was 2 weeks on the Tranquil Rose Hotelboat and 3 weeks (solo) on the Riverdance from Cotswold Boat Hire at Lechlade. You can see these at top left above and they explain the "addonapp" concept of being standalone but also they were featured (as add-ons) at the websites for the use of other people. An additional type of add-on app concept is now demonstrated by the "Trail Card" (see later).
The main feature was Fly-Over Videos made in Google Earth and these are still featured in new apps but now using Google Earth Pro with the MS MovieMaker Tool which gives a far better result than the "screen record" method in Google Earth (as it was).
The next idea was sparked by The Anchor Pub at Pyrford on the River Wey where the owners Hall & Woodhouse had devised a series of "Pub Walks" for their Pubs all over England. The idea was to enhance the PDF maps at the website as a "Pub Walk Fly-Over" that the user simply followed on their smart phone.
So I did a mock-up app for all the Pubs as seen at top right on the Map ("Time for a Pint" Pub Walk App) which included The Anchor Pub Walk Trail Card. This one featured a Fly-Over with Beethoven as well as an easy to access (image) of their PDF map.
This also marked the change (or maybe just diversion?) from trips on water to trips on land (mainly Walks) albeit an early version of The Thames Path had also been attempted in The Thames 'n All Composite App (centre right on the map above).
I then decided to try The Cotswold Way and submitted a mock-up of part of the 15 Sections to the "Cotswold People" looking for any expression of interest. They saw the Fly-Overs as possibly "mutually exclusive" to their plan along with Google of doing a Trekker exercise for The Cotswold Way, and showed me an example of The North Downs Way where Google had already published the results in Google Maps after the National Trails Wardens had paced out the whole 150 miles with the backpack Trekker "Cyborg".
I saw the exact opposite to any mutual exclusivity but rather a huge opportunity to FEATURE the Trekker (and in some cases Streetview) 360 deg Panoramas in my own product, which is exactly what Google INVITES us to do by way of Embedding into a website/App (or social media/email), whereas the National Trails People (except those in Wales - see below) seem to think that it is suffient to expect prospective Walkers etc to FIND these Panoramas in Google Maps.
The problem is that the Blue Lines for Trekker (once the exercise has been carried out on the ground by the Wardens with backpacks and in Google Maps by Google) are the same as all the Streetview Blue Lines so even if a prospective Walker manages to find a certain (single) location through which the Cotswold Way passes, it is a "needle in a haystack" matter of finding these glorious Panoramas just for that location, and the 100 miles of Cotswold Way means it is a monster haystack.
This was the Article they sent to me which sets out the "action plan" for Trekker/National Trails involvement and this extract is provided.
"Walk Unlimited, a social enterprise, took over promotion of the national trails in 2012 when government spending policy changed. “The promotion of the trails might have got lost, buried away on the gov.uk site,” said Clark. “This project just would not have happened if the promotion of the trails had stayed in government hands. We spoke to somebody from Google and it was a relatively straightforward process.”
“Part of the Google mapping programme is to make the world accessible to everybody,” said a Google spokesman. “We’re taking the Trekker gear to a whole bunch of beautiful places.”
I therefore decided, while waiting for Trekker to be done for The Cotwold Way, to make cotswolds-in-the-car.com (centre left in map above) using Streetview Panoramas.
While still waiting I completed an app for the North Downs Way (lower right in the map above), one of the few National Trails to have been "Trekkered" in the "promise" announced in the above Article. As seen, the app features these Panoramas every 500 yards or so along the Walks, both on the Maps and in the Fly-Overs.
Now although Walk Unlimited have to be commended for their initiative with Trekker, in my view they have stopped short on the PROMOTION step. As of Dec 2017 only The North Downs Way and Cleveland Way have any Promotion content at the National Trails site and these are not only NOT "mobile friendly" (by the Google Test) but it crashes Safari in my iphone when I try to view these "stacked iframes".
But there was good news in Wales where the Pembrokshire Coast Path had not only been Trekkered but it seems they share the same thoughts as myself about the National Paths site Promotion and have Promoted the Panoramas at their own site using the Google "drag the little man" method on an embedded Google Map. So I did a mock-up (centre left in map above) for a comparison of methods.
More good news is that the people in Wales made the maximum use of their Trekkers borrowed from Google and filmed some 14 other Areas of Natural Beauty, so I also did a mock-up of "Wales Natural Resources App" above to show the possibilities, especially with "Digital Trail Cards" to augment their own printable ones.
Once the Trekker blue lines appeared in Google Maps for the entire Cotswold Way I set about completing the exercise started earlier of an app with 270 Trekker "Entry Points", Fly-Overs (co-ordinated with the Trekker Entry Points) and even some SatNav innovations, called cotswolds-on-the-foot.com.
It includes 12 Circular Walks but they still await possible Trekker coverage by the Cotswolds folk, and the app dovetails into cotswolds-in-the-car.com.
The bad news with the apparent slowdown in the Trekker roll-out is that the latest version of the Thames Path is still awaiting Trekker input, but normal Streetview Panoramas (where available) are being used as a temporary measure. Also in Central London where both Streetview and Google Trike have been used over several years I have made a specific app with just 6 of the total of 51 Walks featured.