This year when Tina and Kevin hit the trail they'll be using an iPhone app that I've spent the last three months developing in collaboration with Halfmile (aka Lon Cooper) a primary source for PCT maps, GPS data, trail information and news.
The app is called Halfmile's PCT and it's out now in its second version with a third already submitted to Apple for review. It's getting rave reviews from hikers and has already proven to be very popular with this year's batch of thru hikers even though it was relatively late getting out to them. Here are a couple PCT News release blurbs about it.
I was inspired to write the app, which integrates and fuses data from Halfmile, by difficulties Tina and I experienced last year and what we also saw other hikers going through.
To do that this app took a new approach -- and it's a first, I think. The app actually understands the trail for what it is and not just a line on a map. It figures out your exact position on the PCT and on over 80 side trails connecting into it. That means it can tell you how much walking is required to reach any destination in that network, how exactly to walk there, what you'll pass on the way and, in the version coming out next week, how much climbing and descending you'll do on the way.
If I have time in the future, I plan to extend this approach to other long national and regional trails -- both hiking and biking trails. In the meanwhile, I've got massive amounts of work ahead just on this edition. Next up is a (hopefully!) awesome 3D trail exploration mode that kicks in when you turn the phone on its side -- but the requested feature list seems to stretch into infinity. Fun fun. :)