In the past few weeks, the Destination4x4.com website was overhauled to better comport itself to a higher standard. At its core, Destination4x4.com is a list of places that I have been, researched and / or places I want to go. These places are places that interest me, for whatever reason. I have found many of them from family, browsing the web or searching google earth.
The website is going over an overhaul at the moment and work is happening in the following ways.
Recently, I was on a fellow explorers website researching a site and he / she was lamenting that they were tired of people copying from their website. They made the statement something along the lines of quit “copying my content” and “do what I did and google it”.
At first I felt rather guilty. I was on another website and learning about a site with the intention of writing my own article. Then, I became annoyed as I was simply doing what they did and I found their website. This person is complaining about something that he/she never did. Give Credit where Credit is due.
In an effort to be as honest and informative as I can, I then and there decided that I was going to “do it better”. I am currently in process of adding resource links back to the source material for every page I publish were it is referenced. For example, the definitive research tome in Nevada for ghost towns is “Nevada Ghost Towns and Mining Camps” by Stanley W. Paher. Much of his work serves as the backbone to Wikipedia and all of those who ghost town in Nevada owe him a lot.
Overtime I will add more book reviews, resources, useful websites, research,etc… to the website from my library. It will take a while.
Trail and Area Maps
When I first considered Destination4x4 as a website, it was based around the concept of interactive trail maps. At the time, Google offered their mapping API essentially for free for smaller websites. At first, this allowed me to build maps with Google Earth and then save a KML file which I could then use to produce an online map.
About two years ago, Google decided to charge for this service and started watermarking my maps with “For developer use only”. To date, Destination4x4 is a loss and does not make any money, so it is difficult to justify spending anything on Google.
Over the past two years, I have search for various plugins for WordPress which allowed for free mapping. They all would do somethings well, but not others. I finally stumpled upon WordPress OpenStreetMap Plugin. This is a free open source wordpress plugin which allows me to publish KML file maps. Thank you!
Additionally, I have done some polishing and clean up my lists on the website. Prior to this update, a list of locations would just contain a title and link to the page. Now, the lists will contain a featured image thumbnail, the title and a description. Essentially this is a little tweak which makes the site look and feel nicer.
Destination4x4 runs on a Dell poweredge server installed next to my desk. It runs on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Linux and features an 8 core processes, 32 GB of RAM and 3.2 Terabytes of Storage on a RAID 5 drive.
WordPress was complaining about running on an older version of PHP 5 and really wanted to run on PHP 7. So about two weeks ago, I made that happen and supposedly the site is supposed to be faster.
Additionally, the server is minifying and caching better, so hopefully the web server and web site are faster for all.