Take-a-Hike: Experiential hiking app empowering environmental stewardship
Together with Boulder Watershed Collective, InspiringApps created a hiking app that empowers the environment. Preserve and support the wetlands, forests, and mountains while enjoying the beauty of Colorado’s outdoors.
Boulder Watershed Collective has a vital cause: as populations grow, climate changes, and forests shift, it’s crucial to respond with adaptive strategies to preserve the watershed. In addition to on-the-ground mitigation and restoration projects, this nonprofit organization offers education and engagement programs that empower environmental stewardship and inspire action. With a history steeped in the Boulder foothills, InspiringApps is honored to partner with this organization to develop an informative and experiential app that supports sustainability.
The free Take-a-Hike app provides an audio-guided hiking experience for selected trails throughout Colorado. Available for both iOS and Android, the app guides hikers to visual points of interest along trails in real time. When users arrive at a stop at their own pace, they can play an associated audio narration to learn about trees, plants, and animals in the environment. The narration also educates users on the services and management decisions that aid the wetlands, forests, and mountains.
Development & Design
A few key features make this app development project unique. Firstly, it’s developed in Flutter as a cross-platform app, enabling it to run on both iOS and Android. Flutter is very versatile. There is one codebase that uses the same language and programming paradigm across platforms. The user interfaces are identical. Secondly, the app uses GPS and audio playback from the user’s device. When users start the app, they see the map layout of where they can begin their hike. They can turn on an audio narration that runs in the background, and when they get closer to stops, they get an audio narration for that specific stop. Users can control the audio from the notifications panel on their phones. As they go through the stops, the app will give them the distance to the next point. Thirdly, there is no internet connection at Mud Lake. We’re so used to having ubiquitous connectivity, it’s a gentle reminder that users need to download the app before they arrive at the trail. But once downloaded, the app works offline, and all of its data is stored locally.
InspiringApps created our IA Commits initiative to serve not-for-profit organizations with exceptionally designed apps. The evidence of our success is clear through our work with Boulder Watershed Collective and the Take-A-Hike app. Built in a way that makes adding additional hikes a nominal effort, the app has enabled Boulder Watershed Collective to exponentially grow its education and outreach. “Our client received project bids that were six figures, which the nonprofit could not afford. With some creative app architecture, we were able to deliver an app for a fraction of that cost, which they were able to fund with government grants,” shared Brad Weber, CEO of InspiringApps. That cost difference can become the difference between having an app and not having an app—as many nonprofits know too well. InspiringApps is driven by the opportunity to design technical solutions for causes that help our community. The challenge to deliver the innovation needed for the product’s success enabled our team’s creative solutions to come alive—and deliver the immersive experience at a cost that made the project possible.
“Thank you and the InspiringApps team for working with us on this and making the idea possible. I am not sure we would even have an app or an app of this quality without you and your team’s awesome work and collaboration.” —Boulder Watershed Collective