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How can I fill in a trip report when I have to look so many things up? #9 Back to List   Review Date:2014.08.18

A typical email I get says: "It is too hard to put trip reports into Bivouac, especially when you have to look up Mountain Ids, Road ids and so on. Why can't it be simpler?

Answer: I guess it could be simpler if there were less things you had to fill in, or if someone could write and maintain sophisticated dialogs to guess Ids from mountain names, etc.

I agree it takes a lot of work looking up various Ids. But indexing your report is the very thing that helps people find it, so I don't immediately see any that can just be eliminated. Given that, why can't some of it be automated? I've looked at suggested schemes to do auto lookups. But when it's all built into the input form, too much can go wrong and the mechanism becomes too complex. So rather than trying to build everything into a single input screen, I rely on a strategy of doing lookups in separate windows. For example, if you need a mountain Id for a trip report, you open up a second window, and search for the mountain by name, and then copy the id. That way you have full control, and duplicate names don't cause problems. In the separate window, you have the full power of the system to do whatever checking you want to make sure you get the right Id.

Bivouac input forms are all designed so they can run in relatively narrow windows, in order that you still have screen space for adjacent windows. I always run Bivouac in a little window only taking part of my screen. I hope this is something that works for you. I often have 3 or 4 windows open at once.

For example, to get good waypoints, it is really handy to have a GMap display in an adjacent window. It is far better to have it in it's own window than to try and build it into the input window.