National Geographic and partner on map website

National Geographic Maps and have announced that they are joining forces to create a new online resource for adventure travelers and outdoor enthusiasts alike. The new venture will provide a wealth of information on hiking trails from across the United States, while mixing in elements of social networking and member generated content. already sports an impressive database of more than 40,000 trails and a membership that tops more than 200,000 users. Those members rate the trails on a scale of one to five stars, while also sharing their personal experiences and tips from their favorite routes as well. The site includes detailed information on the hikes, such as overall length of the trail, change in elevation, allowed activities (hiking, mountain biking, etc.) and a measure of how potentially crowded it could be. In short, it’s a one-stop shop for anyone looking for new hikes in their area or for suggestions for other places to trek throughout the country.

Visitors to are encouraged to create a member profile, or simply sign-in using their Facebook account, and contribute to the growing community of hikers, backpackers, and other outdoor enthusiasts there. The site automatically recommends trails close to home, and allows users to save routes to your “favorites” lists, while also making it incredibly easy to share those same hikes with others. The site also includes a reputation system that allows members to follow other users whose interests match theirs, while also building a following of their own.

In the weeks ahead, AllTrails will expand their site and introduce a new premium service that will offer exclusive online access to National Geographic‘s iconic line of maps, including their Trails Illustrated and Topo! Series. These maps are incredibly detailed and are a fantastic resource for hikers and backpackers everywhere. Perhaps best of all however, is the fact that this deal extends to the AllTrails mobile app, granting access to those Nat Geo maps while on the go as well.

There is no word yet on how much the new premium service will cost, or when it will officially launch, but it is likely to be a popular one with outdoor enthusiasts. Nat Geo’s topographic data is second to none, and having access to it in a digital format will certainly be a major feather in the cap for the AllTrails website.

Nat Geo brings national parks maps to iPhone and iPad

National Geographic has launched a new iPhone and iPad app that is sure to please travelers visiting America’s national parks. The app offers detailed maps of 15 parks, providing information on places to camp, trails to hike, locations of shops and visitors center, and other points of interests.

The program is apply named National Park Maps HD and it comes preloaded with digital versions of Nat Geo’s excellent Trails Illustrated Maps. The parks that are included are amongst the most popular and beautiful in the entire national park system, attracting millions of visitors on a yearly basis.

Upon launching the app you’ll be presented with a map of the U.S. with a photo representing each of the parks. Simply tap on the park you would like to explore and a detaied map will appear with an overview of the region. Double tapping the screen will allow you to zoom in even closer, showing you all the roads, campsites, and various other points of interest. And if the default maps don’t have the detail you need, HD versions of each of the maps are also available to download inside the app, bringing the zoom levels up even further.

National Parks Maps HD also offers the ability to use your device’s built in assisted GPS to triangulate your location and there is even an in-app compass to help you find your way. You’ll also find an option to place virtual pins on the map to mark your own favorite places and the built in search function allows you to locate anything you’re looking for in the park. The amount of information at your fingertips is fantastic and a real benefit for travelers.

The list of parks included in the app are Acadia, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Glacier/Waterton, Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Great Smoky Mountains, Mount Rainier, Olympic, Rocky Mountain, Sequoia/Kings Canyon, Shenandoah, Yellowstone, Yosemite and Zion. If you were to buy each of those maps in paper form, it would cost over $300.

The National Park Maps HD app is available now for $4.99. The universal app is a one time download that will work on both your iPhone and iPad. If you’re planning a trip to one of the above parks in the near future, this would make an excellent travel companion for sure.

National Geographic maps available on new GPS device

Earlier this week National Geographic announced that it was joining forces with Satmap to release a handheld GPS device that offers support for a range of maps from their library. The collaboration of the two organizations means that backpackers, hikers, and adventure travelers will have an electronic version of Nat Geo’s award winning Topo!, Trails Illustrated, and AdventureMaps in the palm of their hands for the first time.

The Active 10 TREK is a fully featured GPS device that has been on sale in Europe for some time, but makes its way stateside thanks to this partnership. It comes fully loaded with U.S. and World base maps, which offer a solid level of detail for the average user looking to navigate between landmarks. But the device also supports expansion through the use of SD cards, and that is where the National Geographic maps come into play.

Nat Geo has already made 14 of their Topo! map guides, which contain USGS topographic map data, available for use on the Active 10. Those maps cover Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, the Mid-Atlantic region, Montana, Nevada, New England, New Mexico, North and South Carolina, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. The rest of the states and other regions of the U.S. will be made available in the first quarter of 2011. Additionally, three of the Trails Illustrated maps are available as well covering California’s Sierra Nevada, the Southern Appalachians and America’s “Greatest National Parks.” Entries into the AdventureMaps category, which includes international destinations, will be added in the future as well. Topographic map packs are also available for most Western European countries too.

The actual GPS device clocks in at an MSRP of $369.99 and each of the National Geographic Maps SD cards run $99.99 each. The complete line of products launched this week and is already available online. Click here for more information on the Active 10 Trek and here for a look at the various maps packs that are currently available.

This combination of the Active 10 and the Nat Geo map packs should be a great tool for adventure travelers. The National Geographic maps are packed with information and preset points of interests, which make them perfect for navigation in a variety of remote locations around the world. The device has plenty of nice options as well, including a long battery life, a bright, color screen, ruggedized construction, and a fast processor, all of which help to ease the navigation process. I know I’d certainly enjoy finding one of these under my tree this holiday season.