Feedback & Contributions


Mountain Meanders is a shared resource, generated and maintained by mountain users  

Feedback, comments and contributions welcome

It is a mountain-wiki!


Feedback on any aspect is  welcome. Google Sites supports multiple editors/contributors, so direct contributions are possible and welcome. But if you prefer, simply send an email to mountain.meanders@gmail.com

The  contributions sought, but not limited to, include: 
  • Adding current information about the route (condition, flora, etc) or to record who last climbed it. Note: you need to be authorized as a Collaborator to add comments yourself. If you would like to be authorized, contact the Webmaster 
  • Correct or add to any route (or any other page).  Editing an existing route is very easy - as easy as writing an email or editing a Word document.  However, you do need editing rights to do this. If you would like to have them, contact the Webmaster.  Google Sites automatically keeps track of who changes a page and, in addition, keeps a record of all versions, so it is a safe process.  This is the essence of a Wiki - a tradition which is not yet very strong in South Africa but growing.  
  • Additional photos are also always welcome.  Either email to Mountain.Meanders@gmail.com or upload to your preferred photo sharing site and send the link to Mountain.Meanders@gmail.com  These can either be a complete set, or individual photos of speacial features, flora, etc.
  • Contributing a GPS track if this does not exist or if the existing track has errors.  
  • And of course, new routes, or old routes that are not yet included, are highly sought! See below for how to do this. 

Acknowledgments

All contributions will be acknowledged and attributed where possible. Thanks to the following for their contributions:

  • Tony Heher (MCSA and U3A) - Initial design and currently the (reluctant!) webmaster.
  • Chris Clarke of the Cape Computer Club who provided the support to set up the website and is the "technical consultant"
  • Martyn Trainor (MCSA and U3A) who contributed many of the photos used in the slide shows.
  • Mike Scott (MCSA and Cape Computer Club) who contributed to the site design and an invaluable knowledge of the Cape Mountains and who has contributed many routes. 
  • Ernst Lotz of MCSA Stellenbosch section for his book "Jonkershoek en sy Berge" (as translated by Tony Heher) which formed the basis for much of the Jonkershoek text.
  • Prof Johan Koeslag for the detailed GPS tracks of Table Mountain and Silvermine
  • The Cape GPS and Maps user group for many contributions of GPS tracks and for help and advice on testing and using GPSs in the mountains.
  • Tim Attwell who trolled the MCSA archives to generate a historical list of all routes climbed on mid-week meets in the past 10 years.
  • Andrew Rens - advice on the Creative Commons licence
  • Alistair Potts - advice on alternative hosting options and Content Management Systems
  • ... and many others who have made suggestions and contributions.

Disclaimer

This site is the work of many individuals and is not an official part of any club or organisation. The use of any of the resources on this website, or any resources referenced, is entirely at the user’s risk. No contributors accept any liability whatsoever for the use of any of the information that is provided.  Given that this is open resource with contributions from many people, the accuracy of any description or map or GPS track cannot be guaranteed and may contain errors.  See also the Safety page.


A primer on adding new routes 

 The remainder of these notes are an aid to adding a new route. The procedure looks a bit intimidating, but is actually quite easy. But don't let the procedure put you off!  The hard work is collecting the information - the photos and description.  If you have that in any form, send to mountain.meanders@gmail.com and assistance will be provided to do the web bit.  The best way to learn is to actually do it with someone who knows Google Sites. I'm happy to show anyone who is interested as there are a few tricks I have learned. 

 

Maintenance and help files: 

(for easy access to some sections, pages and files needed for editing and updating.)

  • Route Description Word template  
  • Style sheet for route descriptions - for copying into a new route
  • Mountain Meanders Google Slides Album  This is the album with sets of photos of routes. It does not have to be used - any Google Slides (also called Google Presentations) can be used.
  • U3A and MCSA Picasa Web Albums  These albums contain more personal records of meets and are sometimes used.  Included mainly to illustrate the concept of having multiple albums. If using these, they need to be converted to Google Slides.
  • GPS use and map generation
  • Photographs - preparation and generation (for use in Mountain Meanders) 

Collection

Make notes on the route for later write up (post climb recollections can be very misleading!)  Collect photographs and a GPS track if available (not essential). When photographing a route, it is better to have more than one photographer. For example, one at the front and one at the back taking photos showing the route with people on it (what has become called the PDL - people dotted line).  This is more interesting and also gives a sense of perspective, besides (in some cases) saving time and effort in having to add a dotted line afterwards. 

Preparation:

  • Edit the photos into a coherent set. See more detailed notes on photo preparation for some tips on this.
  • Upload the photos to either the Mountain Meanders album or the album of your choice.  The easiest way to do the upload is to use Google Slides. 
  • Select the one or two or three photos that will be used in the on-line description and in the route description (Word or pdf version) and name these appropriately.
  • Make up a suitable map using Mapsource or Google Maps or Google Earth or other mapping package. A hand drawn sketch is also OK - can be very useful in fact.  Just scan it.
  • Write up a route description - in any format - Word or text or simply in the body of an email. 
  • Naming: The name of a route and associated files and photographs is important.  If consistent and clear names are not used, maintaining the site and adding links can become difficult.  Note that this advice was not always followed in the early stages of setting up this site so it is a case of "do as I say" and not as I did! (Old miss-naming will be fixed slowly as time permits...)  
  • Photographs: Appropriate preparation of any photos that will be used on any page is important.  It is strongly advised that all these photos be resized to about 800 pixels wide or less (the occasional panorama can be wider..)  Then upload the photos to the Files section To use a photo in a page, select the photo in Files, right-click and select copy link, or save URL (varies depending on the browser in use) and then paste this link into the Image by URL field.  (This is tricky - best demonstrated!) 

Web version:

One can start with the web version and generate the Word/pdf version from this, or vice versa. There is no major difference but the style sheet and template assume the web version first, so it is described that way.

  • Create a new page using the Route Style template and name it appropriately e.g. Spring Buttress, Swartboskam, etc. Link the page to its appropriate parent such as Table Mountain West, Jonkershoek, etc.   The Route Style will give you a pro-forma layout, which can of course be changed.  It does not have to be followed exactly and in fact may vary considerably if describing areas like Cape Point or Silvermine or the Back Table. 
  • Add an overview picture at the top showing location of the route.  Use Insert/Image and then browse to photos you have prepared and upload. When the upload is complete (may take a while), the photo will appear. Select an appropriate size (small, medium, large or original size).  Note that any photo can always be viewed in its original size by clicking on it.
  • Complete the rest of the description (Location, Overview, key stats, etc) making references to the photos by number if necessary.
  • Add a more detailed picture if needed showing more about the route. This will typically have a dotted line on it showing the route. See notes on photo preparation for how to do this.

Word/pdf version: (Optional - not essential to have this....)

The instructions below are based on using Word but any word processing package that can produce a pdf output can be used. The Infix PDF Editor from Inceni Technology is recommended for this. (A pdf version is not a requirement but is recommended as it is usually more compact and can be read more widely.  Word has too many varients...)

  • Get the MM RD Template and open it
  • Go to the web version created in the step above, select the whole page, copy, switch to the Word document and paste.
  • If the pictures were copied in this step, it may be better to delete them and insert from the originals. (Pictures copied off the web can have poor resolution).
  • Insert the map into an appropriate page (a landscape page is provided in the template - change to portrait if necessary.)
  • Add your name and date in the footer of all sections (there is more than one...)
  • Add the page name in the header of all sections (there is more than one...)
  • Save with an appropriate name - the suggested title is the same as the web version but with RD & Map appended.
  • Convert to pdf. There are many ways to do this. The full Adobe Acrobat package is good if you to have it, but expensive. The Infix PDF Editor from Inceni Technology is recommended as an alternative, or send the Word document to mountain.meanders@gmail.com for conversion.

Adding files and links:

  • Upload the Route Description & Map pdf file, the gps file and any other resources using Attachments at the foot of the page. 
  • Go to the web route description and add these files and any other resources you feel are relevant
  • It is useful (but not essential) to include the links in the Word/pdf version so that if anyone is using it on line they have direct access to the current versions of the files. If you do this, then you need to convert to pdf and upload again.

Simple?  Not quite, but only takes 15-20 minutes once one has the information at hand - and have done it a few times.

 

Tony Heher

Sept 2008

tony.heher@gmail.com

Tel: 021 794 5730 or 082 654 5582


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Note on making pages readable on Mobile devices


Google Sites works well on smartphones. 
http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/2081456/google-unveils-mobile-rendering-web-sites

Also looked up various sites which gave advice on how to write pages and how they are used.  The main difference on mobile browsers is that users are looking up information rather than browsing per se. This helps because its the introductory area overview pages that are the hardest to 'convert' whereas the RDs are easier.  On these, the main requirement is to use plenty of white space and to avoid complex wrapping of tables and pictures. 

Few adjustments to the route layout are needed. Laying out images and text side by side on a wide screen unwraps well on a small screen and they display one below each other. The key with white space control is to use only % as margins and no px measurements.  e.g a 5% margin on a 1200 px screen is 60px, on a 300px mobile, it's 15px. It looks and feels very natural.  As Sites gives no support for this, all has to be done at HTML level.  A bit of a pain setting up, but once done works for all new pages - as long as one enters text in the 'invisible' designated areas of the route template!  


The good news is that it is possible to display the web album full screen on a mobile device.  This is a good way to get a route overview as the slideshows capture visually most of what is in the written description. There are of course still many pages using the old template.  A tedious process changing them all, but will tackle slowly over a period of time.  A quick fix has been added to make the pages usable in the meantime.. See this page for some more background.

Tony

October 2016


Creative Commons License

Mountain Meanders is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 South Africa License.

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