Red River Gorge, climbing iPhone app
Wolverine Publishing is due to launch the first comprehensive iPhone app for Red River Gorge in Kentucky, USA. Planetmountain took a brief look at this new digital content.
American based Wolverine Publishing is all set to release its third edition of the Red River Gorge Rock Climbs guidebook. In addition to the traditional print version, the guidebook will also be supplemented with interactive mobile content - also known as an App - for the iPhone and iPod touch.
The digital format packs over 400 pages and all 1800 routes into just the touch of a button, and apart from the usual information (route name, grade, description and photos) it promises exciting new features, unique to a digital format. These include a logbook, ticklist and GPS real time navigation, as well as the possibility of searching routes by name, grade or other criteria (sport, trad, beauty, etc).
After using the free Lite version briefly Planetmountain has come to the conclusion that although the app won't replace the traditional guidebook print format, it is extremely simple to use and does open up a whole wealth of new opportunities such as interaction, videos, translations into different languages etc. Dave Pegg, the owner of Wolverine Publishing, took time out and answered the following questions.
Compared to print, digital has the advantage of being updatable, with new routes, changing access info etc. Presumably this is one of the Apps main plus points?
Yes, and every 6 months we'll push a free new version with updates. When you sync your iPhone with iTunes you'll get a message saying a free update is available. It's as easy as downloading a software update for your computer.
When you record your ascent, it's much like adding a note into your paper guidebook. Surely it would be interesting to render ascents and comments public?
Right now the logged routes are for personal use only. You can email your climbing log to yourself. Setting the phone to work with an existing website or new website so that users could share data is something we would like to incorporate into a future version.
Might comments also include photos and videos?
Again not at the moment, but it's something we would like to add. One of the great things about the app is it can hold an almost unlimited number of action photos.
How much will this cost?
The app will cost $29.95 USD and comes with 2 years of updates. The 3rd Edition Print Guidebook (the paper version of the app) will be out in July and will cost $37.50. If you purchase the full app, you can get a coupon to purchase the print version of the new book when it comes out for $19.95. Instructions on how to do this are in the app.
Any there other apps in the making?
If the Red River Gorge app is as successful as we hope, we'll put all of our books on this platform in the next few months. I’m excited about the prospect of making a bouldering guidebook with this technology. Image how great it would be to navigate a complex boulder field in real-time with the boulders GPS-ed
Final question: how do you see the future of climbing guidebooks evolving? Is the app simply an supplement to paper guidebooks or something more?
We're really excited about the app technology. The app already does a lot of things the print guidebook can't, which you've already mentioned, and the future potential for linking apps to websites and sharing data make it even more exciting. That said we will still be producing print guidebooks. There are some things print does better than the app. Your print guidebook will never run out of battery power. You can lend it to a friend. Most important, a print guidebook gives you have a lot of flexibility in design and presentation. I see apps becoming more of an information resource and a social tool, and the print guidebooks serving more of a coffee-table / celebration-and-history-of-climbing function of a particular climbing area. Hopefully people will buy both!
Red River Gorge Rock Climbs app