How to start an expedition on Open Explorer

Open Explorer was designed to be a digital field journal that allows for collaborative storytelling – a multi-author blog where followers get email updates when you post. Expedition pages are for documenting amazing work that is happening all over the world, and were built so they could be a record that could be a reference for other scientists and explorers in the future. We also designed the expeditions page to help community members develop an audience for their work and share their stories with the world. Our ongoing mission is to create a space for science, conservation and exploration narratives, and build a platform that could be a place share updates on projects over the course of months or even years.

Open Explorer is for everyone. Follow along, comment, and share expeditions with others. If you’re a citizen scientist, researcher, student or explorer we’d love you to document your work with us!

Expeditions we love

Exploration comes in all shapes and sizes. We’ve had everything document on the site from citizen science to astronaut training. No matter the size of the project, we encourage you to write about your work so people can learn more about science, conservation and exploration.

Frequently Asked Questions

What qualifies as an expedition?

It's intentionally a broad term. We generally consider people going to a place with the intention of finding something or answering a question an expedition. The best expeditions have a strong geographical element and clear purpose. We don’t allow tourism, vacations, any kind of marketing or fiction.

What makes an expedition successful?

Every expedition, no matter how ambitious, should have a purpose or goal. Your purpose - finding a meteorite in your neighborhood, searching for amphibians, gathering plant samples for research - will be your north star as your document your expedition.

The most interesting Open Explorer expeditions use all of the tools and formats available - text, video and photo – and update with some regularity.

How do I start?

You've created a National Geographic account. You've started following other expeditions. Now you're ready to tell the story of your own expedition.

After creating an account with National Geographic and logging in, you can access your expeditions and the ones you are following in the “My Expeditions” tab in the upper right corner of the page.

From there, you can start a new expedition, which includes the following information to start:

  • Title: Good titles are essential to get people interested in your work. Avoid abbreviations, jargon and think about what would sound interesting and approachable to a non-expert. Some good examples are Ghosts of Ancient Forests, The Ghost of Baker Lake, and Unsettled Waters.
  • Start date: Be sure to backdate your expedition so you can include any past material that can contribute to the bigger narrative around your work. This is one of only two inputs that cannot be changed later, so choose wisely. One thing to keep in mind: preparation is one of the great untapped areas for content – you should consider posting how you’re planning, researching, packing and thinking about your expedition. There’s so much people can learn from you even before you goes into the field.
  • Type of expedition: Are you exploring the air, land sea, urban or backyard environment?
  • Summary: The best summaries are short, compelling abstracts that get audiences interested in your work. Broader context and goals should go in your background post, which is the next step for setting up your expedition. Some examples of excellent summaries are The Search for the World's Largest Freshwater Fish, Voyage to the Aleutians, and Living Fossils of the Mesophotic.
How often should I be posting to my expedition?

As needed, but the more the better! People want to know where you are on your journey - even if that's just that you're packing for the next plane ride. Best practice is to update at least weekly, and include visuals as often as possible.

How do I get more people to check out what I'm doing?

Share your Expedition with friends, family, and on social media and ask people to follow it! They'll get updates whenever you post.

How do I get featured on the homepage?

Expeditions that post often and have a lot of followers make their way to the front page. Invite people to follow you, update your expedition regularly, and there is a better chance you'll end up on the homepage!

How can I get featured by National Geographic?

We have editors and writers on staff who look through the expeditions for potential stories and reach out when they find something they're interested in.

I have questions, who do I talk to?

Email us at openexplorer@natgeo.com! We’re here for your questions, comments and feedback.