Latest App Update – Improved Navigation

We did a series of small updates over the last few days…

  1. Now, when you first bring up the App on your iPhone or Android, you’ll see icons for each of our Parks or Regions, as well as links to our wiki and home page. And, of course, “Report from Anywhere!”.
  2. The Report form has an image upload box, just above the map. I mentioned this in the previous post, but there are improvements:
    1. It only accepts jpg, png, and gif files, so you won’t accidentally upload a huge movie file and wait forever.
    2. You can cancel and delete images if you grabbed the wrong one.
    3. On Android and desktop browsers, it can recognize the location where the photo was taken, and zoom the map (Apple seems to block this as a security measure).
  3. On the Report Map, the “Locate Me” button should now timeout if it takes too long, and put up a warning message. I plan improvements on this, but it’s a bit better than waiting forever. This can occur if you’re not getting a GPS signal, or your GPS is off, or there’s any problem with your mobile provider’s network.
  4. If you use a web browser to access a ParkWatchReport client site, like plymouth.parkwatchreport.com or eldorado.parkwatchreport.com, and your web browser is narrower than 768 pixels, it will guess you’re using your mobile device, and suggest downloading the App. Optionally, you can switch to the mobile view if you just want to get something done, like file a report, quickly (but you’ll lose the menu to switch Parks, which we’ll fix soon). But if you’re going to use a phone or tablet, I do recommend downloading the App.
Posted in Features

New Image Upload Feature

Screen Shot of New Upload BoxToday we rolled out an improved image upload on the “Report” feature of our apps. Instead of adding images to the editor, which was dependent on the editor’s limited abilities, now there is a drag’n’drop or click-to-upload feature that works on all devices more reliably.

This new field on the Report form is just above the map… so if you upload a photo with EXIF data, we can extract the Latitude and Longitude and automatically position the map. Unfortunately, iPhones & iPads are blocked from using this feature by Apple, in the interest of security.

You can upload multiple photos, and the data used for the map will come from the last photo containing EXIF data.

For Administrators, the completed report now has thumbnails of each photo, with a “click-to-enlarge” feature (commonly called a “lightbox” among web developers). This appears just above the map in the “Location” area of the report.

In this release we made another of other small improvements which makes things a little nicer, quicker, and easier. We continue to release new features as we complete them to make ParkWatchReport better as quickly as possible. Feel free to give us feedback!

 

Posted in Features

Town of Plymouth has ‘PCN Park Watch’ TV Program about ParkWatchReport

The Town of Plymouth public access television will air “PCN Park Watch” on Thursday May 21st at 8pm on Comcast 13/Verizon 43. The show will repeat Fridays at 1pm, Saturdays at 10:00am and Tuesdays at 12:30pm.

You can also see it on the web at www.pactv.org or watch it on YouTube after 8:30pm.

From here it’s only a small step to Good Morning America and then our own syndicated TV series! Right?

Posted in Client Adoption

ParkWatchReport now on Android & iOS

Check out our new apps on Google Play and iTunes!

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We’ve been working away in the ParkWatchReport labs to get our Apps ready for your mobile devices. Now you no longer have to fire up a browser to make a report or browse maps, the app makes it easy. Use the menu to switch between different areas, or just use the “Report from Anywhere” feature.

Try them out, and let us know what you think! If you have questions, bug reports, improvement suggestions, or anything about our Apps, use this form to contact us.

Be sure to stay tuned for updates as we make them better and better.

Posted in Mobile Apps

New ParkWatchReport Parks!

Things are really taking off around here… Since we added El Dorado County in December, we’ve been working hard to launch more.

New Parks:

Plymouth, MA is our first on the East Coast, and they’re ramping up now! All the parks and trails are in there, with more details being added soon.

Auburn State Recreation Area (ASRA), east of Auburn, CA in the American River Canyon, and home to parts of the Western States Trail among many others.

Folsom Lake State Recreation (FLSRA) Area just downstream from ASRA (above) and sharing some of the same trails, as well as several camping and picnicking areas around Folsom Lake.

Hidden Falls Regional Park is west of Auburn, CA and has numerous trails, water features, and overlooks.

 

Posted in Uncategorized

What Makes ParkWatchReport Tick?

ParkWatchReport is a “web app”. It will soon, also, be a “mobile app”. But what does that mean?

We’ve written software which our users interact with using a web browser, like Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Internet Explorer. When a user visits our website, they can read the content, just like any website; but that just makes it a website.

What makes it an “app” is interaction. The public sees news, alerts, events, along with Park and Trail information, just like a normal website, but they also can create a report on issues, concerns, or incidents in recreational area. They can select their location on a map, and submit the report, and the report is then immediately available to the personnel responsible for these issues. That staff can create tasks related to the report, issue an alert if there is a safety issue, and track the progress of the solution.

Personnel can also periodically consolidate the reports to look for trends; are there trail conflicts in a certain area? Maintenance issues in another? How many injuries were reported, if any. This helps in planning, budgeting and targeting problem areas.

When the mobile app is ready, users will be be able to report incidents from their mobile devices without knowing a web address. The same maps, news, alerts and events will be in there, along with reporting.

These apps share the same data, in real time, through the magic of “the cloud”. The data is securely transmitted via the https protocol from web browser or mobile app. The data is stored on SSD virtual machines and a combination of PHP, MySQL, JavaScript and HTML5 makes it all tick. We use the Leaflet & MapBox APIs for our mapping with data from OpenStreetMap.org. Soon we will be integrating other map data sources, for more terrain detail. GIS data for park and regional boundaries and trail path data comes from a variety of sources including local, state and federal government libraries, often from our clients.

Our clients may be cities, counties, state, federal or private land managers who are making their work more efficient through modern technology and public-private partnership to bring the public and the lands they love closer to the people who manage them for a living (and love them every bit as much!)

Posted in Uncategorized

ParkWatchReport Receives First Reports: Exciting!

When you’ve spent months with code and visual design and presentations to decision-makers, media and the public, it is a really wonderful milestone to see the first interactions with your product.

El Dorado County, CA is officially launching at https://eldorado.parkwatchreport.com January 1st, but the “soft-launch” is underway, and on Sunday, December 22nd, we got our first report!

And, exactly as designed, a report was received, a work order was written, the problem reported was promptly repaired, and life continued on with a minimum of fuss. In other words, the outcome of our monumental effort – our hundreds of hours of programming – was barely a ripple in the day of El Dorado County Parks & Trails. And that’s how our app should be: completely ordinary with no muss and fuss. We’re the plumbing for information to flow from the public to the folks who fix things.

It seems almost appropriate: The problem that was reported was a continuously running toilet in Pioneer Park.

It’s all about good plumbing.

– Parker the ParkWatchReport Owl

Posted in Client Adoption

ParkWatchReport is Accepting Reports

El Dorado County, CA has a challenge: Keeping track of a large trail system and several parks with a very small staff.

So they adopted ParkWatchReport.com and began accepting reports November 1st, 2014.

Allowing the public to report any issues or incidents in the Parks & Trails system through ParkWatchReport means all the information is gathered at one location, easily accessible. If a report comes in by phone or email, it can be entered by staff. Tasks can be assigned and ongoing progress on issues can be tracked through a secure commenting system. At any point, the reports can be exported to Excel for sorting and statistical analysis.

The public can carry business-card size information cards with reminders of how to use the system. QR Codes will be added to signs along the trails, to be scanned by smartphones, quickly bringing up the website for reporting, where cell signals are available. Alternatively, users can use the the system before and after their visit on their laptop or desktop computers or tablets, such as the iPad. A mobile app is under development.

The website at eldorado.parkwatchreport.com has trail maps, park boundaries, and information on how to find and enjoy the park system. The interactive maps can be explored by panning and zooming in to view geographic details. In addition, news, events and alerts are listed on the site for each park, trail or trailhead on the maps. This information can be easily maintained and improved by Parks & Trails staff.

Posted in Uncategorized
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