It’s a very unfortunate truth, but hiking in Cape Town is fraught with danger.
Not that you need reminding, but stories like this serve as a reminder that we need to be vigilant when enjoying some of the city’s most popular trails.
Capetonians aren’t going to be cooped up indoors, though, so it’s probably worth downloading a new app that aims to make all of the Cape’s hiking trails both easier to navigate and safer to explore.
TimesLIVE spoke with the team behind Forge:
Forge is designed by hikers, outlining the various routes in terms of difficulty, elevation, terrain type and accessibility. Co-creator Alex Weiss says the app, free for download on the app store, is going to change the way people explore the breathtaking region.
“Reading paper maps isn’t everyone’s forte,” he said. “Also, what we found is that there wasn’t a single portal where people could get accurate info about the trails. This information is accurate and thorough.”
The app uses GIS (geographic information system) technology, and is the brainchild of the start-up group Forge New Frontiers from Cape Town.
“What’s unique about it is that all our trails are attributed with info we think will be useful to people – what kind of terrain there is, can you walk your dog, can you take your bike… we want it to be as simple as possible,” he said.
“The digital map shows you where you are so you can take the right path.”
Given that there are around 1 300 kilometres of hiking trails, it’s a sizeable project to undertake.
Via the Forge YouTube channel, here’s a short video:
As briefly mentioned above, there is also a safety aspect to the app:
The app will also be adding emergency contact features as well as demonstrating a hiker’s position at all times, in an effort to make the routes safer for locals and tourists alike.
“We recognise that there are a lot of tourists coming off the mountain and, especially on Table Mountain, lots of mountain bikers,” he said. “There are a lot of incidents on the mountain so improving safety is something were thinking about,”
“We want to keep people on the path. We’ll be trying to incorporate emergency contacts and will be making improvements as we go along.”
An app that could instantly send information to rescue teams showing a hiker’s exact location would be a massive safety improvement.
Whilst you will find details on all of the most popular hikes (think Devil’s Peak, Skeleton Gorge, and India Venster, for example), Weiss and the other creators hope that the app will encourage further exploration:
…as avid hikers themselves, the team behind Forge believe that this will really improve your experience.
“We’ve been hiking all our lives,” he said. “We hope people will start to discover new routes and not just take the popular routes.”
That’s made far easier when you consider that each hiking trail will have an overview that includes the difficulty, distance, elevation, and the average time needed (as well as more), taking the guesswork out of trying something different.
Now all that’s left is to stop putting off that hike that you and your friends have been cancelling on for a few months.
Originally published on 2oceansvibe – http://bit.ly/2MOCuHM