The Ramblers Mobile App
The current version at the time of writing is version 3.0 and I have been following it development over the last year and a half and the feedback provided by the test groups and area has delivered us this current version. This is a vast improvement on the early version during the testing phase and one that I’m happy to use today. The app can be installed from the apple store for Apple devices or Google play for Android devices, for more information in setting up the app visit the Ramblers page – https://www.ramblers.org.uk/volunteer-zone/data-and-digital-transformation/ramblers-app.aspx).
When you have the app installed you can then login into it, you get the home screen, this screen displays the next five walks of the group you are affiliated to and featured news articles. By clicking on the walk, you get to see information about on when and where to meet and a description of the walk if provided. There is an option to take the walks register, this can be taken by the walk leader or anyone with the app with prior approval from the walk leader (no more wet signing in sheets). There are few ways in which the register can be taken, the quickest and simplest way is with your member card which should have or soon will have a QR Code, like the one below.
The person taking the register with their smart phone can scan your membership card QR code which then adds you to the walk. Alternatively, there is ‘Select from List’, this option is limited to members of the walking group the walk was initially put on for (i.e. Leeds group walk, the list will be of affiliated members of the Leeds Group). Finally, there is the manual option, this is for member of other groups and non-members. Once everyone is recorded on the walk the walk leader is selected and the record of attendees can be submitted.
Other features include ‘Membership’ tab, this contains the QR code and membership number of the mobile phone user and is an alternative to carrying your membership cards, this can be scanned to add you to the register if you are not taking it.
The ‘Walks’ tab list walks by all groups and search by location, you can type in your location or use the GPS location to find walks where you are, ideal if you want to walk in an area you don’t with other Ramblers groups. You can also filter by ‘My Group’ or ‘My Area’ (West Riding) and will list the up and coming walks for the next 2 months.
When you open up the listed walk you are interested in to find out more information on when and where to meet as well as the description (if available), you also get a map showing the start location, click on the map and it then opens Google maps (Andriod Devices) in which it gives you details on how to get to the walk (driving/public transport or walking) from your current location.
What else will the app do?
The ‘Routes’ button give you access to Ramblers routes that members have uploaded and checked. Open the route you are interested in and you can then follow it within the app, other options is to ‘View PDF’ of ‘Save’. The saved route can then be followed off line.
So, what happens with the data collected?
Your Group Walks Co-ordinator can get access to the ‘Insite Hub’ this will give all groups a lot of statistically information on the number of members/non-members on the walks, type of walks (easy, leisurely, moderate, etc), distances and more. You will be able to find out what combination of distance, difficulty, time, days of the week get the most people out walking, also which walk leader had the most walkers on their walks and the average numbers attending their walks.
So, what do the Central Ramblers Office get from this app?
One of the questions that is regularly asked by Central Office is how many members are actively out walks and what sort of distance and difficulty of walk they are doing. It allows the Central Office to understand the members so that they can deliver the services and support we need.
Take a Hike have started to use the app on most of their walks and its early days in getting meaningful information out of the Insite Hub. On some of the walks where I have taken the register with the app, I have given a quick demonstration of the features in which some non-members have ask can I get this app? I have said to them – yes, you can download the app but only Ramblers members are able to log in to get full access to the features.
I personally think this app is a great tool for members, walk leaders and Take a Hike Committee in collecting meaningful data and to help in recruiting new members.
I hope that members with smart phone download and use the app and start to see the benefits it will bring.
Stephen Noble – Walks Secretary.