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Thread: Mountain Hub

  1. #1
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    Mountain Hub

    I did a little testing of the Mountain Hub app, yesterday; and I was impressed. It is easy to use and share area specific and recent outdoors conditions with anyone else using the app.

    http://mountainhub.com/

    If posting conditions, all you do is open the app on your phone - it automatically picks up your location with the phone's GPS. From there, you can simply click on a series of icons describing what is going on where you are (weather, avalanche, snow conditions, trail conditions, snowpack test, etc.) and then save. The reports can be simple reports, or you can embellish with text and photos - this is all with the free version of the app. I think this app is so easy to use, that you could hand it to a 7-year-old child, and they could produce useful reports for the outdoors community to use.

    To read conditions, I recommend using the website on a tablet, or laptop to see what is going on in a broad region. If you know exactly where you are going and can zoom close in on a specific area, then the phone app can be used. Regardless of the device used, as you zoom in, the conditions in the left column are automatically filtered down to only what is going on in the area filtered to and sorted with the most recent reports at top. It's that simple to use.

    Sure, there could and might be something better; but I think this is the best thing on the table that is functioning right now. I don't think something like this should replace professional reports, like an avalanche center, but their forecasters can't be everywhere all the time - and Mountain Hub is intended for 4-season activities, not just winter activities. It's only useful if people are contributing reports to it on a regular basis, so tell your friends about it. Download it, take it out to play, test it, let me know what you think.

    Note: I'm not a marketing executive for Mountain Hub, Avanet, or Avatech. I have no professional, or financial relationship with the company that makes this app.
    Last edited by danomike; 12-28-2016 at 01:11 PM.
    Tell me where you are skiing and what the conditions are: http://mountainhub.com/
    Ski with me: https://www.meetup.com/Sierra-Club-Hiking-Reno/
    Stalk me: https://www.facebook.com/danomike

  2. #2
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    I use it too (disclaimer: I am a "community advocate" and receive a paid account for free). It used to be avanet (avanet.avatech.com) and there are still some features I believe that you have to use on the avanet site.

    The route planning is pretty cool, giving you elevation details, max slope angle, distance, and estimating time based on munter rate. I used it quite a bit last year. With the caveat that it's still under development, it's quite nice. Routes can be created on your desktop and viewed on the avanet app (though my understanding is that all of this will be ported to the mountainhub app as well) so you can follow them better in the field. The topos are very detailed, worth the price of the paid subscription imo.

    Example screenshot:

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    With slope angle shading:

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    Shading by aspect (and including the elevation profile at the bottom which I cropped out by accident)

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    In conjunction with the real-time obs, it's a pretty cool platform. They've invested a lot of time into building out the software, and it's improved greatly since the initial release. At this time there is still some benefit to using the avanet.avatech.com platform, but the plan (I believe anyway) is to move everything over to the app.mountainhub.com site before long.

    Screenshots are from the Wasatch where there's more than enough information to make these decisions, but I've found this quite useful for planning in other ranges (La Sals, Tushars, etc) as you can get detailed topo information for basically anywhere in the US. They're also pretty receptive to feedback, especially in terms of bug reports.

    I'm a happy user.

  3. #3
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    I think this app would be better if it could somehow work in conjunction with local avalanche centers. Cross posting, for example, instead of the need to duplicate.

  4. #4
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    ^ agreed... at minimum, it should be possible for the mountainhub platform to pick up observations posted on the various local avalanche center sites. tricky to imagine it posting to those sites, as that would require some non-trivial development on each of these (generally underfunded non-profit) sites.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbillie1 View Post
    I use it too (disclaimer: I am a "community advocate" and receive a paid account for free).
    Good to see Mountain Hub is serious about promoting this. It's a great idea and would be a shame to see it die.
    Tell me where you are skiing and what the conditions are: http://mountainhub.com/
    Ski with me: https://www.meetup.com/Sierra-Club-Hiking-Reno/
    Stalk me: https://www.facebook.com/danomike

  6. #6
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    This weekend I took an AIARE 1 hut trip -- and our guide (pretty accomplished) recommended this.

    It sounded great -- but now that I've spent a night/morning fiddling with it I have to say I don't get it and wish I hadn't bought the subscription.

    Here's why -- (note: I'd love to hear I'm just and idiot / be proven wrong)

    1. The screenshots that @mbillie1 posted above are from the old site (https://avanet.avatech.com/) not the new MountainHub (app.mountainhub.com) site which you can't yet create routes on.
    2. Routes created on the old site (avanet) don't show up in my MountainHub app.
    3. The avanet app isn't available in the iTunes store (only Avanet SP Sync) -- so I can't get my routes on my smartphone.
    4. Using avanet.avatech.com there is no (obvious) way to mark a route as private or public. Nor can I share my route with my backcountry partners easily.
    5. Slope angle shading from CalTopo seems superior at picking up small pitches of steepness that may make a real difference in avy terrain. While I can use a custom layer to somewhat achieve this in avanet/mh, it only allows a single color vs gradations (and you can't stack multiple layers.)

    Until I can get routes from online to my phone w/ offline topos, and I can share these routes with friends/partners to easily view/modify, I can't say that I recommend this app.

    CalTopo has superior trip planning features, more flexible sharing, and better imagery layers (including Google Maps aerial which is far superior to MapBox or ArcGIS aerials for picking out specific lines.)

  7. #7
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    ^ that sucks, and I will send this thread in for them to check out. I have the old avanet app on my phone, which is how I view routes in the field. I wasn't aware they had removed it from the app store.

    Ideally, if all of the avanet features were implemented on mountainhub, it would be a nice software swiss army knife for the backcountry. But not getting routes on your phone is a dealbreaker. Hopefully they move fast to address that stuff.

    For me, 1 2 and 3 are addressed by using the old app and the old site for everything except obs. I haven't tried to share routes but that sounds like a cool feature. As far as I'm aware there are no public/private routes, but that's not something I would tend to use it for either so I haven't really dug in.

  8. #8
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    Thanks for escalating feedback.

    I'm not sure anywhere route sharing is explicitly stated as a feature. Probably should've played more before drunkenly subscribing. I can send you login details if they are interested.

    But not having routes on my phone (can't make them w/ either MH online or app) makes it pretty useless. Nor can I explicitly download particular topo-areas to my phone so I could at least use it as GPS with the available app.

  9. #9
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    I was not paid for this endorsement - however, I did waste time trying to figure out how to make app worthwhile...

    I heard about avanet in 2015 at a Breck SP sponsored Avy seminar...seemed cool. Saw they rebranded and updated - assumed it would be BETTER. caveat emptor...

    Similar to above, the "app" leaves much to be desired. I get needing funding for development, but not worth using yet.

    How about a crowd fund campaign to develop an app worth using??

    Maybe I need to spend more time learning what options are available?

  10. #10
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    fwiw a MountainHub rep has said he will be posting in this thread to address some concerns re: feature parity between Avanet + MountainHub platforms

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbillie1 View Post
    fwiw a MountainHub rep has said he will be posting in this thread to address some concerns re: feature parity between Avanet + MountainHub platforms
    That's good. Because I'm out a year-long subscription for a pretty worthless set of applications right now. (Admittedly, I bought it while I was drunk assuming it was my drunkeness that made the app not working how I expected.)

  12. #12
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    There are times when I can be such a Luddite. I checked out Hillmap and Cal Topo years ago and still haven't spent more than an hour or two with them, and not because it doesn't look good. My whole life is technology, and sometimes it gets to be too much.

    So this app supports their smart probes & ski poles? I can see it now ... multiple, evolving/conflicting standards. It never ends. This ought to chew up a lot of time on tech-talk.

    Now you're supposed to power up your smart phone? Except when you're not (beacon search interference)? What am I not getting? I can be such a party poop.

    ... Thom
    Last edited by galibier_numero_un; 01-27-2017 at 11:42 PM.
    Galibier Design
    crafting technology in service of music

  13. #13
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    For Mountain Hub rep:

    The app updated recently for android users and now the snow condition observations you can leave can be very detailed...however, I didn't see a confirmation when I submitted my info, so I wasn't sure if it sent to the server. In addition, I wasn't sure if I had to provide all pieces of information, or just the pieces that I had.
    Tell me where you are skiing and what the conditions are: http://mountainhub.com/
    Ski with me: https://www.meetup.com/Sierra-Club-Hiking-Reno/
    Stalk me: https://www.facebook.com/danomike

  14. #14
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    I am a hobby developer with a day job, but I was frustrated that there were no iPhone apps designed specifically for touring, so I am working on an app that has avy forecasts, summit weather point forecasts, SNOTEL data and caltopo style slope maps. It also has a feed for sharing routes and snowpack observations, although not as well developed as avanet. If anyone would like to try it out and give some feedback I would be happy to give a free pro upgrade. Just shoot me a message-
    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/back...957813284?mt=8

  15. #15
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    Good to see a dedicated thread for this. I also meant to pick up on that post.


    Apparently, the USB-C hub is not able to deliver the full Gen. 1 speeds. That is really disappointing since it's only USB 3.0 speeds after all.


    It's probably best to use a dedicated USB hub for faster USB-based external storage, especially for video related tasks.


    I intent to use the integrated hub on one screen for my normal/slower USB peripherals (additional USB 3.0 hub, 8TB external HDD, 2 Time Machine HDDs, MM1 speakers and other small devices). It should still be quick enough for that.
    The other screen's hub would be for faster stuff like USB-C to Ethernet (still ok with these speeds), card readers and also fast (Gen. 1) external SSDs for Lightroom and Bootcamp.
    And that might not be the best idea. I'll have to try it. I rarely have sustained read/write speeds for photo/Lightroom work except when copying but hopefully it's still fast enough. And since each RAW photo is around 85MB it shouldn't slow things down that much. Still, not ideal. I really expected normal USB 3.0 speeds. Due to the longer cables, a small decrease in performance is acceptable but not this much!

  16. #16
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    ^ A+ lol

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