[Cdt-l] The need for a data book

lwgear at juno.com lwgear at juno.com
Sun Mar 16 15:05:50 CDT 2008

10 Reasons Why Data Books are a Good Idea:

1--Lightweight:  Being stripped of all non-essentials like photos, diagrams, illustrations and the like, it's "just the facts, ma'am." Even a cover is optional.
2--Cheap:  Less time required to design the book means cheaper production costs.
3--Print-on-demand: This trend in publishing allows a book to be printed only when someone actually purchases it, so no huge cash outlay upfront is needed.
4--Timely: Because of POD above, changes can literally be made at the last minute and constantly to keep up with the inevitable changes.
5--Digestible: For somewhat dyslexic minds (like mine, it seems), reading a single line isolated from other lines of information is more comprehensible than trying to read a book in a paragraph format.
6--Reversible: Northbound or southbound, it just doesn't matter anymore. 
7--Encouraging: Seeing the trail (whether official or not, temporary or alternative) laid out in data entry style will encourage more people to hike the trail, as it won't seem so daunting, overwhelming or confusing as the current situation appears.
8--Standard: The other major N-S trails have data books, so it's time the CDT rise to what seems to be the standard operating procedure.
9--Planning: With a glance, one can see the water sources for the day, or whatever other important planning that's required when one starts out.
10--Creative: A data book, by using symbols or different fonts, can creatively pack information onto its pages leading to a safe and enjoyable trip.

Now I understand that the trail's generally being unmarked and unsigned, there often being no visible treadway makes a CDT data book challenging to say the least. So it's not fair to make a compare an AT or PCT data book to this trail. But given that at least two people in the past year have tried to compile the slippery information into a data book format, I'd at least like to examine their efforts and see if it works or not. 
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