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Website User's Guide - Essential Functions
    Date first written: 2000.01.01     Last Review: 2017.02.27

Preface: I wrote this document because a surprising number of experienced users were not aware of some really basic functions of the website such as the Help Link, the Index, GMap, Gpx download, Text Search, and Radius search. So this document starts at the beginning and tells you what features exist. Once you know what exists, you can use the Help system to find out the details of how to do it.

First, you have to create a member record, either a free one, or a paid one. Go to the front page and click "Login/Subscribe", then "New Member". This allows you to insert a free member record. Paid members will see a "Author Menu" link on the main page. This allows paid members to insert trip reports and photos. Just push the little brown "Insert" links. You'll also see little brown "Insert" links at various other places in the encyclopedia. These allow you to insert articles 'IN PLACE' where they should normally appear to a reader of the encyclopedia. For example, on any mountain page, you'll see an "Insert" link beside the "Trip Reports" heading.

Be sure and use the Trouble Ticket System any time you find a problem. They send a high priority email message and are always the first thing fixed. You can find the trouble ticket system using the "Index" link on the front page. The Index contains many other functions that are not directly accessible from other screens.

There is a search box on the front page that searches various types of database records. Here are the main types of record:

Infrastructure: (managed by editors)
  Mountain Records (one record for each mountain, 28,000
  Road/Trail Records
  Area Records (Parks and Mountain ranges)
  Features Records (passes, huts, etc)

Articles: (managed by specific authors)
  Trip Reports
  Feature Photos (formerly called Photo Essays)
  Road Bulletins

The basic search just uses the text you entered. But a more powerful search uses the lat-long information. For example, when searching for trip reports, go to a nearby mountain page and look at the list of trip reports at the bottom. That method doesn't rely on text, it shows all trips whose waypoints fall within a given distance of the mountain. You can also use the "Radius Search" to search wider areas. Or look up a given mountain range and see all the trips.

To search for roads or trails, it is best to USE THE MAPS. Just go to a nearby mountain and click on one of the map links: GMap, JavaMap, Zoom Map.

Topo Maps (GMap)
The mountain, road and trip report pages have links to an interactive topo map system called GMap. If you are logged in as a paid member, the roads, trails and peaks in the bivouac database are superimposed onto these maps. You can scroll around the map, zoom in and out, switch to satellite view, and click on the items to get information.

[h2]The Road System[//h2]
 Each road (or trail) is described by two types of record: One "roadx" record and then a number of road bulletins. The road record contains the static information such as the waypoints. Each "road bulletins" typically just has one paragraph describing the road on a particular date. Any paid member can insert a road bulletin. They are the simplest way to get started on inserting data in to the system. Road bulletins can contain photos. Road bulletins are one of the most useful things in the system.

Inserting Trip Reports and Photos
The main place to insert or update trip reports and photos is the "Author's Menu". You must be a paid member to see the Authors Menu. To see a link to it, click on your email Just log in, then click on Other postings are inserted right on the page that describes a given item. For example, to insert information about a road named "Elaho Main", you would go to the road page for that road, and then click the "Insert Bulletin" link. In addition to inserting trip reports from the Authors Menu, you can also insert them "in place" from the mountain page. For example, go to the page for Mount Garibaldi. At the bottom of the mountain page, notice the brown "Insert" link beside the "Trip Reports" heading. This will automatically insert a trip report and fill in a single waypoint for the mountain peak. You should then add additional waypoints for your starting point, etc.

In general, all insert and update links are shown in brown. They usually follow the title of the section. When you click the link, an edit form will be displayed. Fill out the form and then push the "Update" button at the top of the form. You should immediately see your new article. Now go back into the form. Notice that the label of every field is itself a help link. For example, click on the "Waypoints" field. Make a point of reading these at least once.

The simplest type of record to insert is the "Road Bulletin". To do this you must first of all find the correct road. Do this using the Java map or proximity, or name search. Once you've got the road record, then click on the "insert" link beside the "Bulletins" title. Then fill in the form and click Insert. Your bulletin should now appear.

Alpine Rambling Areas

 If you are looking for possible multiday summer meadow trips with easy access, you should investigate these areas. It displays a map of BC with the top 30 alpine rambling areas on the map. You can then click on any one, and investigate the road and trail information using GMap.

Gpx file download
The Bivouac site allows you to download gpx files for any trip report. The link is on each trip report page. In addition, every mountain page offers a variety of gpx links which allow you to download an entire set of roads, trails, mountains, cabins for an area.

There are many important parts of the Bivouac website that are only accessible via the index. For example, the link to insert a trouble ticket is only visible in the index. Or the map of Alpine Rambling Areas. All users should glance through the index and briefly investigate each link.

Online Guidebooks
The system has various built in "guidebooks" which you generally access from area oriented pages such as the "Region" page. For example, you can look up a region like Tantalus. You can also put these "guidebooks" onto your e-reader.

OK, I've told you how to use the encyclopedia as a guidebook, and the basic method to make postings. We spend a lot of time discussing the "search model", and I'd be happy to hear from you as to anything you think we've missed. As you know, we're always overhauling the system, and any perspective you can provide would certainly be useful.

Now that you know what is possible, the thing to do when you want to know how to do any given thing is to use the Help - How To Instructions.