Taking trip data in the field

Volunteers and especially trip organizers should take with them trip details such as meeting times and locations, contact info for other volunteers, and emergency contact information for local officials as well as the trip's designated in-town safety contact. The trip organizer must also have the list of youth participants and their hard-copy, signed permission slips. 

While most of the trip data is on the trip's webpage, viewing the webpage online in the field on a smartphone browser will be in the best case, cumbersome, and more often, impossible.

We recommend that you save the data as plain text in a note-taking app that is accessible on a desktop web browser as well as offline on your smartphone. In addition, it is not a bad idea to print a hard copy. Printing a hard copy directly from your browser or via pdf results in a lengthy document that wastes paper (someday we may have a printer-friendly version of these webpages. In the meantime, read on.).

Here is a quick way to get all of the trip data in a handy, portable format:

1. Go to the trip webpage and Log-in to the website to make sure that you can see all of the trip data.

2. In another window, open a note-taking app and start a new note.

Google Keep works really well if you have an Android phone and use Gmail and other Google stuff. The synching is seamless and almost instananeous provided your devices are online. What's more, it will recognize phone numbers and email addresses; you simply need to click to initiate a call or email.

Notes should work for iPhone/iCloud users (though I haven't tested Notes).

There are scores of other products out there such as Evernote, etc.

Some Apps like Pocket offer one-click offline saving of web pages, however, two problems with Pocket are (1) It doesn't save the data that you see when logged in to this website, and (2) The webpage is shown with all of the pictures and formatting; you really just want the text.

3. Go to the trip's webpage. Highlight the text that you want to copy. You probably won't get it all in one go. Use your browser's copy feature or keyboard short cut to copy the text to the clipboard.

4. In your note-taking app, paste the text into your new note.

5. Repeat steps 3 and 4. You'll probably copy in three chunks: (a) The main, left-hand column of the trip webpage that contains the trip description, dates, essential safety and itinerary information, and other details. (b) The right-hand column that list the names and contact information of volunteers; (c) The Kid Roster towards the bottom of the page.

6. Make sure you save your note. Many apps will do this automatically.

Steps 1-6 are fastest on a desktop or laptop, but can be done on a smartphone, too.

7. Verify that the note is accessible through the app on your smartphone even in offline mode (try closing the app, switching the phone to airplane mode, and opening the note in the app).

Now you'll have a convenient place with all of the trip details. You may easily add other pertinent information that you learn about the trip, or even use the note as a journal to jot things down during the outing.

If you want to print (or do not have a smartphone):

There are many ways to print the data. A simple way is to copy (or "share via email" on your phone) the text in an email to yourself (or to other volunteers on the trip you want to share with), and print the email. You can also print from a desktop text editor, or from Google Drive. Either of these options will produce less bulky output than printing to pdf from your browser.