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"Walk Scotland: Technology on the Trail - Developing a Comprehensive Mobile Travel Management Application for Scotland's Hiking Trails." J. Swope. K. Egan. Department of Computer and Information Sciences, University of Strathclyde. 2019. Download PDF (BibTeX) SD

In a digital world, technology is finding new ways to keep users connected – even while they are trying to disconnect. More and more hikers are turning to digital resources to plan their experience on the trail, from mobile navigation applications to digital trail guides. The aim of this work is to develop a comprehensive companion mobile application for hikers, while exploring how technology can provide solutions for relevant development challenges while providing functionality that supports and enhances the benefits of hiking.
A review of previous research and existing literature was conducted to identify the key motivations of hiking, as well as the challenges to developing an ‘off-the-grid’ system. A comparative market analysis was also conducted to review similar resources and tools on the market, as well as identify functionality that resonates with users and where systems are currently failing. Having identified initial requirements from this analysis, a mobile application was developed using Android Studio to provide users a comprehensive resource for planning, executing, and documenting a hiking trip on one of Scotland’s Rob Roy Way. The system was designed with the ability to scale to include all of Scotland’s long-distance trails in mind. Initial user research was conducted, and user feedback, usability testing, and heuristic evaluation as carried out on the final prototype.
Results of user research and testing identified additional requirements and solutions for usability issues. Functionality was mapped to hikers’ primary motivators and the technology utilized for development evaluated in consideration of how well they provided solutions to development challenges such as battery drain and off-line service. Future development looks to current trends and evolving technologies for consideration, and encourages continued research on the key motivations of hikers and how technology can adapt to support them.