Wapp – App – More than Map
Outdoor enthusiast Einar Skúlason is the creator of an app for hikers in Iceland, one that promises to make your hike more enjoyable by providing rich background information about each area. It is called Wapp, short for Walking App.
“I had written two books about hiking trails, but that format didn’t seem practical enough for hikers. Therefore, as smart phone technology improved, I decided to take advantage of it to distribute that same information and simultaneously increase people’s safety, using location services,” Einar tells Iceland Monitor . “The material presently stored in the Wapp is the equivalent of the content of 17 books on hiking.”
The Wapp was first introduced in 2015, but since then, its content has vastly expanded.
“The majority of people who use the app are foreign tourists, while Icelanders comprise roughly 20 percent. The trails vary greatly, from urban ones to various trails in the countryside and in the mountains,” Einar explains. “The app itself is free, and then you can download each route to your phone for off-line use. Some of the routes are sponsored, while others can be downloaded for anywhere between one and four USD.”
“Most of the trails are for hiking, but there are also ones for biking, jogging and horseback riding. The goal is for the hiking options to number 400 this summer. The information provided about each trail is diverse, depending on what makes the area of each trail interesting. In some cases, geology plays central role, or information about the area’s flora and fauna. Other times, it’s mainly stories about people or folk tales. There may even be information about employment and farming in olden days and about how settlement developed,” Einar explains.
“All areas are beautiful, but it depends on your taste what exactly you find the most beautiful. To all of us, though, knowing something about an area is valuable, and sometimes, a few stories or interesting facts can transform a regular hike into an unforgettable experience,” he continues.
The app is a guidance app in English and Icelandic, available on App Store and Google Play Store. To increase the safety of travelers, the Wapp to some extent encompasses the 112 Emergency Line App. There is a connection to the smart phone’s GPS location services.
The Wapp allows you to search trails by length of trip, elevation, difficulty or territory. It provides practical information regarding seasonal access, parking and restrooms. Besides, it points out dangers to watch out for and what to avoid.
Einar has an ambitious plan for the Wapp. This year, the goal is to increase the number of paths described to 500. Within a year, the number of users is expected to have reached 50,000. More sponsors will be sought, as well as partners. Finally, plans are to add to the app information on weather and road conditions. You may even see the Wapp appear in the Faroe Islands and the southern part of Greenland within a few years.
For more information on the Wapp, go to wapp.is/en/ .