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Backpacking trip planning chart

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Re: Backpacking trip planning chart

Postby maverick » Sat Jan 18, 2014 11:15 am

Dave wrote:
If someone wants to give me a Hasselblad or 645DF with an IQ280 back sure.


If you ever run into someone who is willing to do that please introduce us! :)
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

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Re: Backpacking trip planning chart

Postby Jimr » Sat Jan 18, 2014 3:50 pm

SSSdave wrote:Yeah Jim and there are no doubt a few others on the board too. However what I wondered is probably generally the situation.


Absolutely! Most users I come in contact with merely use it as a cubby hole to hold numbers, then ask me how to sum them up. What you have posted is well organized, color and symbols are very meaningful and many useful tools used. You are obviously very versed in its use. I especially like the way a peek at the spreadsheet behind the chart is used to give more meaning to the Y axis (no matter what Microsoft calls it. I never understood why they chose to call a graph a chart object).
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Re: Backpacking trip planning chart

Postby rlown » Sat Jan 18, 2014 4:16 pm

k.. that was nice. Do we really plan our trips at this level, and if so, why? It's a dynamic environment we walk into. how does the spreadsheet help?
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Re: Backpacking trip planning chart

Postby SSSdave » Sat Jan 18, 2014 5:00 pm

That specific type of chart, a planning visual charting hours of each day on my trip versus category of activity is not likely to be useful except for a narrow type of backcountry user. The chart could be adapted in various useful ways for a wider scope of users. In my situation, I'm one of the few that can actually predict where my time will be spent before a trip occurs usually with considerable accuracy. Not in an entirely rigid sense because my plans include variables of if, what if, and else carefully considering where options may come into play especially dependent on conditions found and weather. But as far as the kind of terrain I am going to be hunting for images and when I expect to do so, that is work I've already figured out from hours of topographic map analysis and in this era Google Earth, even for places I've never visited.

A fascinating visual might be someone using the same format after their trip to show where their time was spent. Thus filling data into a chart after a trip. Obviously there are many on this board that would mostly show all orange of being on the hike much of their day with little time in camp except early and late. Another bar element one could add might be for stopping at waypoints along a day's route where one is not simply resting but rather fishing, photographing, peak bagging, or whatever. As a group we would quickly note those who habitually slept in late, rarely breaking camp, and leaving before 9am versus those who rise early and are soon on a day's route. As a group here, few mention such things so there is little understanding of what others are likely to do though that probably comes out interestingly when people get together for group backpacks with those they've never done so with. For some fishing enthusiasts, they might have fish symbols with different colors, depending on how good the fishing was. The result might show they spent most time at places where fish symbols were RED not BLUE. And more of the same for other enthusiasts and those with different hiking styles. Another window on what we do beyond our Trip Reports.

I could easily explain how others might construct this format beyond just the data chart, however as noted reality is few here probably even use spreadsheets so the exercise at this point is merely for passing some idle time in this boringly dry pessimistic winter.
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Re: Backpacking trip planning chart

Postby rlown » Sat Jan 18, 2014 5:26 pm

I'd be more interested in seeing what someone thought the route was and their GPS tracks to route.

As an example. the pinkish stuff was the plan.. the green were the gps tracks.

Capture.JPG


As you can see, we don't always do what we think, and we change the route as we go.

Hence, Excel is great for the office (where it gets changed alot as well), but maybe not so much for the trail.
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Re: Backpacking trip planning chart

Postby oldhikerQ » Sat Jan 18, 2014 6:38 pm

Since my trips are always a group affair, I prepare a similar spreadsheet, using pages 1 and 2. Pulling data off of the topos, I show distance, elevation change and estimate hiking time for each segment. I also track the same data for the entire trip After selecting a trip from the year's choices, at least two other members of the group look at campsite choices. For example, couple of years ago I wanted to camp at Wanda Lake and take our layover day to visit the Ionian Basin. One of the group was adamant about not camping there, calling it desolate. We ended up changing the itinerary to avoid camping at Wanda. In any case, we combine their input to get a final itinerary. This way, all of the parties that desire can have input into the final trip. The advantage for me is that hiking times are spelled out so there are no surprises about long days. Checking the trip spreadsheet with GPS data post trip shows that I consistently estimate hiking time about 5 - 10% high. I Like the approach, since it satisfies my engineer side. We have used this approach for many years, and it works for us.
YMMV
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
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Re: Backpacking trip planning chart

Postby Jimr » Sat Jan 18, 2014 8:46 pm

As Dave and OldhikerQ both pointed out, it serves a personal interest. Whether it is to pass winter time being involved in analysis of next years fun or satisfying the technical aspects of our being, it is fun for those who play at this detail. Playing with spreadsheets is fun, even for me when I do it for a living, but I find more enjoyment from a business perspective. I love programming with VBA because it's fun to create, especially when it saves me much time and effort creating the data reports I need to produce and tracking historical data in perpetuity. It's not everybody's cup of tea, in fact, as Dave rightly points out, it's a tool that very few really know how to use and a technical level very few people enjoy.

In my early 20's, I used to graph elevation changes for hikes by hand. There was no Excel and Lotus 123 was in it's infancy along with the personal computer to run it. I did nothing with the information, but I had fun measuring distance and calculating elevation and it engaged me in the process. By the time the trip came up, I knew the map like the back of my hand. Obviously, there are many ways to become that familiar with the trip. This method does it for some.

I can easily see the value for a photographer. I haven't studied his data very seriously, but if it's not there, I'd find value in adding data from the Photographers ephemeris to indicate time and direction of sunrise/sunset,etc. Then research features I may want to photograph where I'm at during the best lighting situations.
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