Going Native

We’re nearly done moving Trail Data Manager™ into the WordPress admin experience. Soon you will be able to manage properties, trails and stewards and the relationships between them) entirely within WordPress for even easier, more integrated Conservation and Land Trust websites. Some reasons this is a very good thing: Improved search and SEO as all …

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WordPress 4.4 and Trail Data Manager™

Trail Data Manager and the assortment of plugins that we normally use for customer sites have been tested and work well with WordPress 4.4 “Clifford”. Managed Services customers have been upgraded and tested.

Using Google Earth to show change over time

Have you found yourself working on a grant application or preparing a public presentation trying to figure out how to show what has happened to a space over time? Maybe you want to show the effects of invasive species and what an area might look like if brought back to pre-invasion status.

Google Earth’s Historical Imagery feature can help if the area is larger and viewable from above.

Google Earth's Historical Imagery Feature
Google Earth’s Historical Imagery Feature

I recently worked with a fellow trustee of Littleton Conservation Trust to show the before and after views of 20 years of vegetation and development in an area. He was working on a grant application to try to secure some funds to restore this area to a true natural state, sans invasive species.

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Westford Conservation Trust

Image of Westford Conservation Trust Website
WCT’s New Website

Westford Conservation Trust’s website was built with a popular HTML and CSS development tool which enabled a navigation menu, sidebar and pages for many topics of interest to the trust, its members and the public. Very few people had the skill to manage the site’s content which resulted in sometimes long delays to get new content posted or old content updated, depending on the primary webmaster’s schedule  and workload. 

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Trail Mapper Demo

Image of Trail Mapper Demo page
Trail Mapper Demo
We’ve just released the first generation of our trail mapper demo page. This is a simple page where you drag and drop a GPS track file onto the map and it shows the track on the map. It also creates a Trail Data Manager™-ready string of points. You can copy and paste the string from the text box on the page into a Polyline field on a marker in Trail Data Manager™ to add a trail to the dynamic parking, trailheads and trails map for one of your properties.

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Don’t make it easy for attackers

WordPress is a great tool. So great that it powers about 1 out of every 4 sites on the internet by some estimates. With fame comes risk.


Wordpress is attacked more than other CMSes because of its popularity (kind of like Microsoft Windows being the target of so many viruses and malware for so long because there were so many targets). You don’t have to make it easy for the attackers.

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Content Management System or Site Builder?

Many simple web hosting plans come with a site builder type of tool that makes it fairly easy to build a nice looking website. So why, and when, do we avoid them and use a Content Management System (CMS) that is a little more complicate to initially setup?

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Owned v. Earned Media – Why you still need a website

Some trusts have wondered whether they really need a website at all anymore. Why not just make a facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ or other social media site page and call it good?

The answer has to do with earned and owned media. On other people’s social sites, they control the ads, the sponsored content and even what updates make it in front of users’ eyes. If your content is good enough, has broad enough appeal and, in some cases, you pay enough, some of your audience might find out you posted it. Most won’t.

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Dynamic Locator and Trail Maps

Building a nice looking Map is fairly easy these days thanks to tools like Google Maps. Google has a handy javascript API that makes it easy to add markers, icons and lines to maps you display. The hard part is actually collecting all the latitude and longitude coordinates. The other hard part is managing all this data over time.

For those that want to build their own maps with Google’s API, hop on over to Google’s guides to get started. If you’re interested in the maps Trail Data Manager enables:

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