The ultimate goal of Natural Atlas is the build the most complete atlas of nature that pairs a comprehensive topo map with detailed pages about everything that is on the map. There are many ways you can help out.
Edit Place Page Wikis
Every place shown on the map has page (called a place page) that is editable by anyone on naturalatlas.com. Place pages are encyclopedia-like and should describe what makes that place unique with text (third person) and several pictures. If you want to write a guide or trip report instead, see the Writing Your Own Posts section below.
You can start contributing your knowledge and photos to places by searching for a place on the website and pressing the edit button. Here are some good example of good place pages: Porcupine Falls, Hole in the Wall, Chittenden Locks Viewpoint, Mineral Ridge Trailhead.
Write Your Own Posts
If you are wanting to write a post that is more opinionated where you are the only author, posts are for you. You can create a post by accessing your posts dashboard from your user menu. Posts can be about anything but there are several standard types of posts you can choose from:
Guide: A post that shares the information / pictures needed to make some journey (Examples: Wading the Zion Narrows, Hiking the [x] trail, Floating the [x] River)
Trip Report: A detailed write-up of a journey you had that can reference a trip you recorded
Overview: An overview of a particular region or type of thing (Examples: Top Hot Springs of Yellowstone, Best Places to See Wildlife in [x], etc)
Article: An uncategorized post about anything else
Record Notes & Trips
Whenever you record a note or trip using the app it automatically gets associated to relevant places when it is synced to the website (if you don’t mark it as private). For example, if you record a picture of the fish you caught on a particular reservoir, the note will show up in the community section on the place page for that reservoir. This gives viewers an idea of what is happening at that place.
Suggest Map Updates
To build the most detailed topographic map available, the staff at Natural Atlas imports data from numerous government agencies and spends an immense amount of time cleaning it up, filling in the gaps, and adding new points of interest and trails.
There are several ways you can help out with making the map more complete:
Recording Notes: If you record a public note that is classified as something we show on the topo map (like campgrounds, waterfalls, trailheads) it automatically gets put in a queue for us to review and add to the map if we decide it is important to show and fits our criteria (we don’t show sensitive petroglyphs, private campgrounds, obscure campsites, etc).
Recording Trips: If you record a trip it helps us improve the accuracy of existing trails on the topo map, and add missing trails. (We only add legal, developed trails and add them by hand after a review process)
Suggesting Map Changes From the Website: Coming Soon
Accurate roads are critical to any good topo map and maintaining a high-quality road dataset is too big of an undertaking for us to embark on alone, so we use OpenStreetMap for road data. With that said, the quality of roads in some areas (particularly forested / rural areas) could use a lot of work.
We have spent hundreds of hours trying to cleanup the OSM’s road network around recreational areas, and we encourage brave Natural Atlas users to do the same.
See http://geojournalism.org/2013/08/openstreetmap-editing-using-id/ for information about how to sign up and get mapping.