AllTrails, a website and mobile app (iOS and Android) that offers members access to information on more than 50,000 hiking trails across the U.S. announced a new feature designed to help keep outdoor enthusiasts safer in the backcountry. The company unveiled a service for its Pro members that makes it easier than ever to share information about planned hikes, mountain bike rides, trail runs, and other outings. The service even offers services that make it easy to track progress or alert search and rescue services should an emergency situation arise.
Dubbed Lifeline, the service officially launched on the AllTrails website and mobile apps a few weeks ago. The new feature gives users the ability to choose up to five contacts who they want to share their outdoor plans with, giving them access to vital information about the outing. Those individuals are then sent a specially generated URL that allows them to view the user’s intended route on highly detailed maps, where they plan to begin and end their journey, and their estimated start and stop times. Armed with that information, it will be much easier to know whether or not a hiker is overdue and where to begin searching for them should they become lost or stranded.
But Lifeline also offers the ability to provide live GPS tracking, providing the user’s phone has a data connection. If one of the contacts clicks on the provided link while the hike is in progress, they will be able to see the user’s last known GPS location plotted on a map relative to the route they have chosen. This makes it easy to see how well they are progressing, whether or not they are still on the move, and how close they are to reaching the end of the trail.
Other features of Lifeline include the ability to send short, preset text messages to the contacts providing them with updates on progress or alerting them to an emergency situation. The system will also automatically let the user’s friends know when he or she is overdue, which is triggered when they haven’t completed the route by the time that was designated. That alert even includes the last known GPS coordinates for the hiker.
“The addition of Lifeline to our mobile platform is a huge step in ensuring AllTrails users feel connected and confident while exploring in the outdoors,” AllTrails CEO Jade Van Doren said in a statement. “Made for people heading out on their own, and for those exploring in more remote areas, we felt it was important to provide the peace of mind and security that comes from your loved ones knowing your plan, where you are, and getting automatic alerts if something goes wrong.”
Lifeline is included in the AllTrails Pro membership, which costs $30 per year or $100 for a lifetime subscription. For a limited time, however, users can get a 50 percent discount on an annual membership by using “lifeline” at checkout.