TrailZilla is the online route planning and sharing site created and owned by Memory-Map® Europe. www.memory-map.co.uk We started the revolution to use digital maps for outdoor recreation way back in 2000 from a small office just outside Southampton and now we’ve over 250,000 customers across Europe and beyond. With TrailZilla we’ve taken that experience of writing software for PCs, GPS and, most recently, iPhones, and used it create a whole new web system that has maps for anywhere in the world!
This website is relatively new but it’s growing fast! It’s got the power of Memory-Map® Europe behind it and their know-how in writing software for mapping systems is probably second to none. So you would expect this website to be rather brilliant. Well I must say I quite like it. Not only that you will find walking routes in there but you will actually find anything and everything that has to do with outdoor activities. They have a video which explains how to find the trails you are looking for. From fishing to biking or ballooning to motor-cycling, you name it, it’s there! Well as long as someone has added a relevant trail to the website. Yes, because YOU can add your own trails. It’s actually rather easy to do. All you need to do is register and then you will be able to create your own trail. They have a handy video that will explain how you can create your own trail. One of the great features is that you can upload a trail from a GPX or TCX file. As well as creating the trail it will also create some profile graphs such as Heart Rate or Altitude when the data is available from uploaded GPS tracklogs. You can keep the trail for yourself or share it for anyone to see it, you can add a general description and add the full directions by editing each waymark point, you can decide how difficult the trail is and you can let everyone know what type of features they are likely to find on the trail (i.e pub/bar/café, canal, forest, campsite, Hotel/B&B, dog friendly, pushchair friendly, etc.) Surprisingly you can’t add any pictures to the trail, however you can upload documents, audio files and even video files! The website is meant to be a community website really so each trail you create and make available for anyone to see will be seen under your username and other users can rate your trails. They can leave comments, print the trail complete with its description, directions and map, download a GPS file of it, make it a favourite or share it with others by using Facebook, Twitter or emails. The developers are even working on member to member messaging at the moment.
So what’s the catch then? Well although the registration is free and all the features described above are available for free, you are actually limited in what you can do. For example the maps available for free are Google Map based ones. And you get 50 credits with your first registration. You can either use them to create a trail or download a GPS file. The amount of trails you have left to create or download will be shown each time you login. You can get Ordnance Survey (O.S.) maps and enhance the power of the website with a subscription starting as little as £3. That’s to access all the 1/50k O.S. maps for 90 days and create or download as many trails as you want during that period. The subscription fee goes up to £25 to access all the 1/25k and 1/50k O.S. maps for 365 days and create or download as many trails as you want anywhere in the world during that period. As they point out, that’s only 50p per week and I think it’s a cracking deal especially if you use GPS handheld devices or smartphones. There are also some special products available on top on the topo deals which will unlock some of the trails published by the AA Walks, Country Walking Magazine, Cycling Weekly or Trail Magazine and more to come.
To Sum Up:
|Ease of use / appearance||Search facilities||Walk descriptions||Grading system||Route Mapping|
|Good navigation and easy to find your way around. Can be a bit slow to display all the data. Limited number of adverts.||Use of UK postcodes and a lot of filters are available||It’s up to the trail creator to add a description and the directions (so not available on every route). Every trail include a GPS file available to download.||It’s up to the trail creator to rate its route from “easy” to “expert”. So someone’s experience of the trail might not be the same to someone else’s.||The basic mapping system uses Google Maps. However 1/25k and 1/50k O.S Maps are available for a fee.|
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