A Publications Field Checker plays an important role in the production of our maps and books, helping to ensure our popular publications are as accurate and up-to-date as possible. A Field Checker helps review and verify maps, trail descriptions, and information about a park as part of a map or book project, visiting the trails and reporting on what they find. The region and parks to be checked are dependent on the specific project. The Field Checker works with a volunteer Project Manager and the Publications Committee.
As of spring 2022, there is an immediate need for Field Checkers for a revised edition of the Hiking Long Island book and a new in-progress book for Morris County, Afoot in Morris.
- Review Existing Map/Book: For a map project, study the existing map before visiting to know what to expect. For a book project, study the existing trail or park description before visiting to know what to expect.
- Hike and Record Notes: Visit the trails and carefully note all corrections that should be made to the map or description, including noting errors and suggesting modifications and additions.
- Collect GPS Data: If possible, the Field Checker should also record a GPS track of the trails they visit to assist with any mapping components.
- Reporting: Notes and GPS data are submitted to the Project Manager.
Support and Training
If you feel you might not have the necessary skills but are interested in learning, we can help you develop the skills! The Field Checker will be supported by a volunteer Project Manager, who will be managing different components of the map or book project on behalf of the Publications Committee. The volunteers on the Publications Committee have decades-worth of field-checking and overall publications experience, and they can share best practices for this position. This committee welcomes volunteers who are interested in contributing to our efforts to produce and market authoritative trail resources for our region!
- Attention to detail is very important, and field checking can be an art that notices what is missing as much as what is right or wrong.
- The time commitment generally depends on the scope of the map or book project.
- Field checking is largely performed individually, so it would be up to the Field Checker to schedule their own trips.
- Depending on the project, a Field Checker may be asked to verify details such as the following:
- Blazes (color, shape, special style)
- Viewpoints (location, view direction, what can be seen)
- Turns (left/right directions)
- Major features and points of interest (such as rocks, special vegetation, or structures)
- Driving directions and parking lots
- Public transportation access
- Park information (name, contact information)
- Permitted uses
- Overall condition of the trails
- Correct appearance of the trail on a map