Road Reporting: The Task Ahead & Why We Need Your Help...

Thursday, Jul 05, 2012 at 15:41


A little background...

The role of ExplorOz in reporting road conditions has a number of different aims:

1. to provide a single point of entry for accessing road condition reports for the country
2. to provide supporting information on access conditions (that may vary greatly throughout the year) for tracks listed in our trek notes
2. to chart historical information to help you see which times of year a road/track is typically closed to assist with future trip planning

In doing so, our reporting system is unique because:

1. this is the only online road conditions report where the public can add LIVE comments - this is particuarly important in bridging the gap between the release of "official" updates and actual conditions - it also provides a benchmark for interpreting the conditions based on the perspective of the ExplorOz audience
2. this is the only online report where the public can view historical trends on track closures - this helps you determine the best time of year to plan your visit
3. this is the only "national" road closure status map available online

However, we also have our limitations because:

1. updates to the status of roads listed in the report are done manually and we do not have first-hand access to this information. Someone has to keep a check on the "official" road reports issued by the various agencies (main roads, shire councils, national parks etc). We rely on volunteers to sign-up for roads admin access and then their commitment to periodically perform the updates. This means that whilst we have a great system, it relies on human input so there will be times when our report will not reflect the most recent available information. To overcome this problem, our information sources (links and phone numbers) are available on each report to enable you to access the most uptodate information on any area should you need it urgently.
2. the "national" road conditions map can only show roads that have been georeferenced into our system. I am happy to explain how it works, but this really needs another blog... ask me if you wish. This is the largest part of the new system upgrade and is an enormous task for Michelle to manage on her own however there are a few SIMPLE ways that you can help....

How you can help

Really its pretty simple. There's two key parts of the task...

If a track shows this icon it still requires georeferencing to get it on the map. This is the job for all of you that record your plot files. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE LOOK THROUGH THE REPORT FOR ROADS WITH THIS ICON - if you have a plot file that covers this road, please upload it to User Treks. Michelle will do the rest!

Secondly - it's volunteers we need. Can you volunteer to do the status checks/updates? Simply let us know and we'll send you the instructions and modify your profile to enable roads admin access. Please don't offer to help unless you can commit. It's your choice how many roads you want to check so just nominate which area you want to manage and we'll log it to avoid any duplication of effort but this also means no one else knows to check it when you don't so keep us informed if you need to take a break so we can let someone else take over during your break.

I'm happy to provide more info, post here to discuss the project in more detail or send me an email for a private chat.

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