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New Technology Enhances Experience

Article by Staci Hauk

Photography by Tate Studio and Steve Thompson

Originally published in Scottsdale Lifestyle

Craig Mitchell, creator of Desert Innovative Map Technology, knew the importance of understanding surroundings to optimize the hiking experience. A hiking enthusiast and tech-minded individual himself, his idea for this product came from a demand for a consistent way to obtain information while hiking. 

The Map is a 55-inch touchscreen pad which is intuitive and easy to use. Located in Mitchell's neighborhood at Desert Mountain, the program allows hikers to view everything about the trails they are about to navigate including difficulty, length and elevation.

"Some residents want to take visitors on hikes, and this interactive trail guide can be downloaded straight to their phones. The screen will let them know how high they will be going on trails as well as how long it will take. We examined each trail and broke it down by speed intervals such as 'casual with photos,' 'less casual' and 'rigorous workout speed.' People can get the greatest gauge for their day because they will know they aren't just hiking six miles; it is actually six miles and 900 feet in a loop which adds clarity," Craig says.

Craig and a group of volunteers used GPS to track all trails, elevations, gains per mile and timing before creating this innovative approach. The ruggedized equipment can last with weather conditions and even houses a calendar of events such as art exhibits, horseback rides, organized hikes and happy hours, so frequent visitors can plan ahead.

Craig's idea is quickly growing and expanding into new markets.

"Our trail builder was here and told me that while others want to do this, they haven't been able to implement it so seamlessly. When Outdoor Recreation Club Managers were here for training, one wanted to see about doing this with sailing, so new areas await us with this technology."

Interesting Fact:

-The Interactive Trail Guide can check weather, offer a species guide and recommend hikes. 

-Members of the Desert Mountain community and their guests are taking 12,000-plus hikes each year on Desert Mountain’s trails. The Desperados, members of the Desert Mountain community who raised the money to build the trails, are proud to offer this new technology.

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