Monday, October 05, 2009

Back and blogging!

Photo: New Zealand Land Search & Rescue

Did you miss me?

I promise there will be lots of photos and stories about my trip to Africa coming soon. First I have over 750 photos to sort through! (Ah, I love the age of digital photography...)

In the mean time, I found an interesting follow-up story about how New Zealand is trying to replace their current, and somewhat ineffective, backcountry intentions forms. I first blogged about it here.

Currently, people going into the backcountry are encouraged to fill out a paper form outlining their intended route and return date and time, and include contact info. Upon their return, they are meant to confirm that they have safely completed their trip. Unfortunately, a lot of people forget to do that part (in their excitement over the proximity of a shower and a cheeseburger) which makes for a lot of unnecessary and expensive follow up work for the Department of Conservation and Land Search & Rescue.

DoC is now looking at an online/mobile system to replace the paper forms. This article outlines one of the proposed options. It sounds pretty good to me. Getting tourists to use it may be a challenge though, since they may not have internet access prior to their backcountry excursions.


Outdoor Culture said...

I'd forgotten that you get this system in NZ. In the UK, we leave our route details and expected return times with loved ones rather than the authorities.

It's easy to call your partner or parent when you're back off the hill, and there's no burden for public servants unless an alarm is raised when you don't call in.

Why wouldn't it work in NZ?

Mike said...

Hello. That's more or less what happens for most people here and it generally works.

I think the registration system mentioned is aimed at transient tourists (there are lots) who travel all over NZ on impulse, go tramping in between, and don't have reliable local contacts to keep a close eye on their safe return from the back-country.

People doing this often phase in and out of being contactable. If they never notified that they'd returned safely from tramping, it can be a pain trying to track them down and determine if they're actually in trouble.