National Geographic has come up with a new and unique way to provide updates from the Everest Expedition that they are co-sponsoring with North Face. Yesterday a new electronic edition of the magazine became available for download and that issue includes daily updates straight from Base Camp and directly to your iPad or other electronic device.
As always, the May issue of National Geographic magazine contains a number of interesting stories including an article on Civil War re-enactors, the still beautiful – yet changing – landscapes of Iceland and efforts to rescue Koala bears in Australia. But will be of most interest to adventure seekers will be the new "Field Test" section which uses an Internet feed to provide updated blog postings, videos, photos and more directly of Everest. This interactive section, obviously available only in the electronic version of the magazine, already includes profiles of the climbers, a "climb tracker" for charting progress for the two teams along the normal South Col route and the West Ridge and a great comparison of the two routes.
But what really sets this digital edition of the magazine apart, and shows how the medium is changing forever, is the daily updates. Blog posts and videos are seamlessly pulled into the app and conveniently located in one central place. A real-time update of temperature and wind speed in Base Camp (currently -7.2ºC/19ºF and 4mph) gives us an idea of the conditions that the team is dealing with and a continuously updated photo gallery gives us some great photos from Nepal as well.
I've had a subscription to Nat Geo on my iPad from the first day that it was available. I love getting it in this format as I always have a couple of issues with me when I hit the road and the physical magazines aren't taking up space in a corner of my apartment. The digital edition has always delivered some nice features, such as embedded video, interactive maps and more. But this new Field Test section is very impressive and opens up the door to a new form of real-time journalism that hasn't been available to print magazines before. It is an exciting proposition to say the least and I'm looking forward to seeing how it is implemented in the future. I do know that it'll be a great source of Everest updates in the days ahead and a completely different way for following how this expedition unfolds.