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Treks: How to Submit a Trek Note
Friday, May 16, 2008 at 15:11
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Trek Notes form the core content of the ExplorOz website. The Treks button in the menu provides easy access to them - and they are free for all site users to view. The trek notes published on ExplorOz are categorised for suitability to a wide range of vehicle types and terrain and include functionality to allow users to select treks most suitable to them - such as suitability for towing vans, or restricted to 4WD. We are keen to receive input from the public to increase the number of Trek Notes published - these can be 2WD/bitumen routes, National Parks, trips close to capital cities, or long-distance remote 4WD tours, so long as they provide an interesting tourism and camping experience. The key to a good trek note is the accuracy and relevance of the information and keeping it up to date.
Creating a Trek Note
Trek notes should only be created and submitted to ExplorOz by experienced travellers or by people with detailed knowledge of the area. Unfortunately, we cannot provide any training on the subject and we do not accept all trek notes submitted to us. If you are a freelance travel writer and have carefully followed our guidelines, there is a good chance that your trek note will be published on ExplorOz and if that’s the case - we'll remunerate your efforts. Another important note to mention is plagarism. The trek note must be 100% your own work including all the wording and we will not accept any trek note or sections of a trek note that’s been deliberately copied from other sources.
Recording the Trek Route
Using a digital GPS navigation system is required to record the data to be submitted to us as a trek note. The digital format is required because we use the plot file (.plt) to "build" the trek note in the ExplorOz system. This file can only be created with a digital GPS setup such as using a GPS unit or GPS receiver connected to a laptop running navigation software such as
or TrackRanger. If you are using a GPS handheld unit, then it needs to be able to connect to a computer so the plot file can be transferred and thus sent to us via email. Click for
Some other advantages for using a digital GPS navigation system include planning the route beforehand and the transfer of GPS files. Typically, there’s common ground between plot and waypoint files. Meaning – if you can create them, then they should be easily transferred between devices and shared between people. Our PlotSwap system is just for that – for people to share plot and waypoint files. Redeeming PointPlace Credits enables the download and then the files can be loaded onto computers running
. The trek can then be studied against a selected raster map backdrop and if a laptop or PDA is used, the trek can even be followed in the field.
Laptop in a 4WD running OziExplorer
Getting into the digital side of navigation may take some time for the newbie to learn as it’s a fairly complicated subject. This is mainly due to the mixed and various GPS units, software and file formats. Also, like all things digital these days, products are loaded with features to the brim and learning it all, let alone knowing what to do with it can be hard. If you haven’t already, please read the navigation articles that are listed below to learn more about digital navigation.
Using Digital Maps & Mapping Software
GPS for Laptops and PDAs
Download ExplorOz Trek Plot files for FREE!!!
ExplorOz currently has 164 trek notes (as of April 2010) covering some well known (and lesser known) regions all over
. Trek notes listed on ExplorOz can only be downloaded by ExplorOz Members who are logged in to ExplorOz.com
Currently we provide two types of file formats for download and they are:
(plot .plt and waypoint .wpt file types), which is a popular PC-based GPS navigation software also used in the HEMA Navigator 5 series, and GPX (.gpx), which is a popular format for Google Earth users. Note: The latest ‘Pro 7’ version of the GPS navigation software called
can now convert
Plot files (.plt) to TrackTrace files for use in TrackRanger.
ExplorOz Members who login can click into a trek note such as
the Canning Stock Route
and click the Download Trek link in the right hand pane of the mapping window. If you use
, unselect the GPX radio button and select
; download the zip file, unzip the contents and load the plot (.plt) and waypoint (.wpt) files into Ozi. Of course you would need to load some digital base maps into the program first. ExplorOz has a great range of digital maps, including the HEMA GDT map collection, the
Topo series, and the ever-so-popular Natmap Raster Topo 250K maps.
users can still download the GPX (.gpx) file format and then import the file into
. Although doing so, the route will be broken up into individual route sections between the waypoints. In other words, if you were to download
the Canning Stock Route
, you will get all the mini route sections between all the wells. This can make it a little difficult to save and import into your GPS device such as a Hema Navigator. It is therefore best to choose the
file format since the plot route is kept as one section and thus one file.
ExplorOz Trek Note Template
There is a trek note template in a Word document format that basically outlines the information that we use to create a trek note from scratch. After opening the document, you will notice a table where data elements need to be filled in. Each one is briefly explained below:
Overview – This is a brief overview of the trek and the surrounding area. This should be no more than a couple of sentences.
Start Point – Trek starting point that can be a town name, a place name or even an intersection.
Finish Point – Trek Finishing point that can be a town name, a place name or even an intersection.
Min. Days – This is the minimum amount of days it had taken to complete the entire trek. You can also break up the trek into multiple sections, which may include overnight camping stays and any small trips that deviate from the track toward interesting spots.
Fuel Supplies – List the names of any nearby towns or service stations where you can purchase fuel.
Best Time to Visit – This represents the best months of the year to visit and is usually based on the climate.
Permits – If you need any permits, permissions etc, please try to be specific with this by providing information on the: permit cost, the permit duration, the area the permit covers and the contact details of where the permit can be purchased.
Supplies/Facilities – List the names of any nearby
where you can purchase supplies such as food and even fuel.
Difficulty Rating – This is rated out of 10, with 10 being the toughest.
The next section of the document also needs to be filled in and needs to be a little more detailed. Each one is briefly explained below:
Description – This is the overall description of the trek and is the first major section that someone will read. It needs to captivating and interesting to help encourage another person to want to do the trek too. It should have a reasonable word count but not much more than 400 words. Please don’t include any references of driving notes as there is a dedicated section in the trek note for these. Also, do not use a diary approach in the writing style (i.e. using ‘I’ and ‘we’).
Preparation – Elaborate on all the items that you would need to consider taking before embarking on the trek such as: supplies, recovery gear, communications equipment, safety gear, etc. It is very important to be quite detailed and helpful as to assist those to be better prepared. To provide easier access to more information, we have provided a list of relevant ExplorOz articles.
Environment – This section discusses the types of environment such as: landscape, and terrain. Also include a brief list of the wildlife, flora and fauna that you may encounter on the trek or any environment issues that are topical and relevant for the area. Enter text here in your own words. Up to 300 words maximum.
History – This section discusses any historical significance of the area/region. List any European or Aboriginal history and even cultural significance such as: Aboriginal
sites, early pioneers and
, etc. Enter text here in your own words. Up to 300 words maximum.
Starting the Trek
The first thing to do is to write the Lat/Long position of the starting point, take one or more photos and write a short description of the place. Next, you journey the trek taking very brief notes of the major waypoints, intersections or major turns (track or road) and interesting features along the way. It would be handy to take some photos of each and document the photo number to the place title for organisational purposes. Every minor waypoint or place should have one photo and a very brief description. Only the major waypoints and
that have interesting appeal should have multiple photos and a longer description.
If you don’t have a laptop connected to a GPS to record the plots with say
, then it would be very tedious to take Lat/Long readings for every intersection, curve or turn so don’t worry about that. If you have a GPS handheld unit such as a Garmin or Magellan and you are using it to create the plot file and waypoint, see if you can import them into
and then export or save them as a .plt file for plots and a .wpt file for waypoints.
also supports GPX (.gpx) file import and export. The GPX file format is a form of XML file that combines both plot points and waypoints. After importing this file into
, you will notice that the plot route is broken up into many smaller plot routes (the pieces in-between the waypoints). Although this file type can be sent to us and used to build the trek note, we do prefer individual plot files and waypoint files.
Updating Existing ExplorOz Trek Notes
If you are considering using one of our trek notes as a guide or you would like to contribute to creating your own trek note and submitting it to ExplorOz, please read our
We always welcome brand new and high quality trek notes with open arms, but you may not be aware that we also appreciate updates or full re-writes to our older existing trek notes. If anyone feels like they would like to contribute to an old trek note – please don’t hesitate to
and express your interest.
In some cases the route in the trek note may not be fully accessible due to things like permit and private property restrictions. This is where we need new plot files and information to reflect any changes in the trek. We also encourage more photos (photos speak a thousand words) and good descriptions of waypoints. Tracks, especially in the regional and outback areas can change and some in time may even disappear, so this needs to be taken into account too. The best place to start would be to research the area and work out if there are any restrictions. You can use our
to discuss with others, if they could provide you with more information on the area.
ExplorOz now offers a much simpler and rewarding system for trek note payment. We provide a remuneration range between $75 and $150 in member money. When a trek note has been launched into our treks system, the ExplorOz team will look into every aspect of the trek and provide a quality grading that reflect this remuneration range.
Treks leaning toward the $150 range, include highly detailed treks such as
the Canning Stock Route
for example. This is a good bench mark example because it represents features like:
High quality, high resolution plot file
Interesting, well written, and detailed informative write-ups
High quality, high number of waypoints
High number of camping spots
Waypoints have quality descriptions and photos
Trek route is of a good length
Published trek note authors will also receive a new annual ExplorOz
. If the author is already an ExplorOz member, then an annual membership renewal will be awarded. All new and renewed membership cards will be sent to you in the post. We can even feature your name or membership screen name in the trek note author field.
For anyone interested in creating ExplorOz trek notes, please read all documentation which includes this article and the ExplorOz Trek Note Template Form. Both of these can be downloaded in multiple formats below. Please email ExplorOz on firstname.lastname@example.org if have a trek note that you would like to submit.
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