Hiiker: Long-Distance Hiking Trails - Interview with the developer of a fantastic app

Did you have any prior development or coding experience?

Yes, I developed another Hiking App called Waymarked Trails before Hiiker. I have since been involved in many other web and app projects in the hiking space.

What was the most challenging aspect of developing mobile app?

The biggest challenge is the self-discipline to keep your code beautiful and structured in a way to can grow and change over time. From the very start, I was focused on structuring the code of the app in a way that allowed me to easily make changes going forward.

Ultimately it is our users and their experience on hiking trails that drives our development as a platform, but by laying a foundation of good structure and discipline, we give ourselves the flexibility to adapt quickly and listen to our users.

Hiiker was established to help people explore the best long-distance hiking adventures around the world. Since I was young, I have been fascinated by people's ability to cover long distances on foot. Perhaps it was the fact that I was too young to drive or was allowed only to go so far, but the thought that you could just go anywhere with nothing but your own two feet was freeing. As I got older and got a car, it was great, you could go anywhere, and you could get there fast, but it was missing something. It was missing the journey. As they say, life is a journey, not a destination, and I truly believe that about travel and adventure. It’s the in-between that is the best part, and strangely, the harder the journey is to get to where you are going, the more rewarding it is when you arrive. Every summer when heading to the West Coast of Ireland, where my mother was from, I would look forward to hiking. At the slightest sight of a mountain, I would be off running and ready to explore. As I got older, hiking became a great way to escape from college /work and find some real relaxation. The funny thing for me was, I could never find relaxation from the resort hotel beside the beach, or lazing by a pool…. I found it on the trail. The chance to see amazing sights, hear beautiful sounds, and taste the fresh crisp air, that was real relaxation from me. Despite the physical challenge, I would come back refreshed and ready to get at it. One difficulty I found was balancing everything else in life while trying to planning a hiking trip. I simply wanted to be able to see the trails, see the accommodation/campsites/wild camping locations near the trail, know the places where I could get food and supplies, build up my plan, and ultimately take it with me on the trail offline. I built an app to help me do that, and I got really positive feedback from friends, family, and the extraordinary people I would meet on trails like the Tour du Mont Blanc, Dingle Way, Kerry Way, South Downs Way. I kept on doing my thing, but, eventually, I decided to try and build something that more closely resembled what I was looking for. I knew for the app to be of any use to people, it needed to have a lot of trails around the world. Hiiker was the result of that. It is my sincere hope that people can use the information the Hiiker team and I have gathered to find something new, perhaps a trail that goes by their door, or, instead of seeing a country through a car window, they might consider taking it by foot. In the meantime we will continue on our simple mission: Help people explore the best long-distance hiking trails around the world.

Name a few of your favorite apps and reason you love them.

Revolut for its simplicity, elegance, and enjoyable use of animations and iconography, and it’s a minimalist approach to allowing users to achieve their goals.

Facebook. A company with many flaws for sure, and It’s an app that everyone is often ready to bash but to think about the amount of functionality they fit into their app while still keeping it useable, it’s amazing. Their commenting, tagging and replying functionality is incredibly simple, but very engaging and helps users to create a more natural flow to a conversation. It also opens up many more opportunities for dialogue. If they could just build a commenting/replying/liking SDK that would be great!

How long have you been working on this app?

About 18 months on Hiiker, while also working on some other projects at the same time.

What need of the user did you have in mind when developing this app?

We want to help users get out and explore the world. It’s a core belief at Hiiker that getting out and exploring nature can help people to calm their minds, and build a greater connection to the world we live in. I want to help users find enjoyment in the simple nature of walking/hiking. When you are on a hiking trail you only have one job, keep putting one foot in front of the other, beautiful simplicity. If we can help give anyone a tiny nudge out the door, or a little bit of inspiration, we have achieved our goal.

In what way do you think your app is better than similar apps on the market? Please describe in detail what innovation you think you bring and what you are proud of in your app.

I don’t think our app is better than the others. There are great hiking apps out there like Guthook, AllTrails, or Viewranger. We are doing what feels right for us. There is an amazing worldwide community of hikers out there. It’s a community that we are part of, and it’s a community that we love to serve. There is no innovation here, we aren’t building rocket ships. We are just helping to let people know what’s out there and give them a little help along the way.

What are your future plans and expected features of the coming new versions of this app?

In the short term we have a new trail planner that will allow people to make informed decisions when they are planning a hike. When I was on the Tour du Mont Blanc in 2018 (before Hiiker), I found it really difficult to plan the hike and to know what I would be able to accomplish every day. Getting an understanding of what the distances were and how long that might take me to hike was a major challenge. Our new trail planner will let users pick out the places they want to reach every day, and know exactly the challenge they have ahead. I hope it will help people avoid what I did, of trying to do too much in one day.

Assuming new users of your app are reading this page. What do you want to ask them to do (contact you about X, Share the app, etc.)?

Don’t share our app, but share the trails that are on it with others. Help others to find a nearby trail they can challenge themselves to. If they/you need help at all, we are here.

Hiiker: Long-Distance Hiking Trails

About App:

Discover a whole world of long-distance hiking adventures with the Hiiker app. Download offline maps, know the right route to follow, and, find places to stay along the trail, all with the confidence that you can see everything when you are offline.

Gain the confidence to plan your big hiking trip by using our detailed maps. Don't unintentionally plan a longer hike than you expected, find all of the places you are staying on our maps, and know exactly how long your hike will be for every day on the trail. Explore through our huge list of multi-day hikes to find the trail that is perfectly suited to you, whether it's a nice and easy stroll along Englands’ coastal paths or an epic adventure across the Alps on the Tour du Mont Blanc we can help you plan the perfect hiking adventure. Search through our trails to find that spark of inspiration for the hiking trip of a lifetime.

Over 290 multi-day hiking trails in 31 countries around the world
● The Largest collection of multi-day hiking trails on the planet
● 6 different top-quality map-layers
● Filter through our huge list of trails to find the hiking trip that is perfectly suited for you.
● Discover nearby trails that you might never have heard of.
● Filter trails that have the right conditions you want, whether it's a trip of discovery along the Rheinsteig trail in Germany, or to brave the Highlands of Scotland on the West Highland Way, or a peaceful pilgrimage on one of the many Camino routes available in the app.

Plan your hike so you are safe in the knowledge of what's ahead
● Read reviews and see pictures from other hikers so you know if it's suited to you.
● Wander with the confidence that you have an extensive list and contact details of medical facilities and pharmacies/drug stores that are near the trail and always available offline.
● Know exactly where the trail starts so you can plan how to get to the trailhead.
● Save your favourite trails to create that bucket list of must-do trails.
● Favourite all of the places you are staying in along the trail so you know exactly how far you'll hike every day.

Become an Unlimited Hiiker
● Unlimited Access to all of our trails
● Download high-quality offline maps for over 290 trails with lots of new trails added every week.
● Use 6 different map layers.
● Break from the main trail following one of our many alternative routes along the trail.
● Contact details for 100s of amenities and accommodation along every trail.
● Full 24-hour responsive app support.
● Help us on our mission to document every long-distance hiking trail on the planet.
● Recommend a trail. Is there a trail you want to see covered on the app? Unlimited Hiikers can "Recommend a Trail" and where possible we will get it covered.
● Unlimited access is available for just $15.99 per year or $35.99 for 3 years.


Current Trails in the app
We currently have over 295 long-distance hiking trails in the app. There are 100s more coming this year and over 500 coming in February of 2020.

We have 6 Camino routes including:
● Camino de Santiago Francés
● Camino del Norte
● Camino Portugues.

We have some of the most popular trails in the Alps including:
● Tour du Mont Blanc
● The Haute Route - Chamonix to Zermatt
● Dreampath - Traumpfad Munich to Venice
● Alta Via 1 and 2

Across the UK we have over 75 trails including:
● West Highland Way
● Pennine Way
● South West Coast Path
● Hadrians Wall Path

In Ireland, we have over 30 trails including:
● Wicklow Way
● Causeway Coast Way
● Kerry Way
● Dingle Way

We now have over 70 routes in Australia and New Zealand, including:
● Overland Track
● The Great Ocean Walk
● Milford Track
● Harper Pass
● Abel Tasman Coastal Track

Categories: Travel & Local

Date: June 20, 2020

Developer: Paul Finlay

About developer: Hiiker was established to help people explore the best long-distance hiking ... Read more

Website: https://hiiker.app/

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App URL in Google Play

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