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!)

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