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Thread: PB Trailforks

  1. #1
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    PB Trailforks


  2. #2
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    Looked at their system. They don't appear to have much of a QC system in place. It appears that they have stolen data from elsewhere to upload for some popular locations. For example, Brown County State Park in Indiana was uploaded by a guy in British Columbia with absolutely no description. He clearly has not been there. It looks like he downloaded data that he pulled from MTBProject (that I uploaded there). Pity on the fool who uses Trailforks and drives in the entrance closest to the TH with a roof rack, and rips his bikes off the roof on the covered bridge because PB didn't include that very important information.

  3. #3
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    What's most relevant to me is that all the Skidmap data went to Trailforks, and Skidmap will cease to have their own site in the near future.

    I think it's a good step. There will always be issues, data gaps, and inconsistencies from place to place, but that's to be expected. All of our local fit-for-the-public trail data is up there and looks good. It was added by a local custodian, though.

  4. #4
    since 4/10/2009
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    If you have locals submitting good information, then that's a definite plus. I am submitting to MTBProject already and do not intend to submit to every new kid on the block. If others want to submit there, that's their prerogative. When I have all the local trails on MTBProject, I plan to submit to OSM and do some work to compile an online GIS database of trails for the club website.

  5. #5
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    I don't find MTB Project to be all that relevant for me. I'd rather have a map than a guidebook. This was reinforced in a recent Moab advice request thread, when the OP posted something along the lines of "That was the only intermediate ride I saw on MTB Project."

    Anyway, as I mentioned earlier, I use the Skidmap a lot when I travel. Since this is where that data went, I'll be using it. I understand your position on not serving every new arrival, but TrailForks is poised to become a major player in internet MTB resources. I haven't played around with it enough to form a real opinion, but I'm impressed with the scope of what they're aiming for.

  6. #6
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    Everyone will have their preferred method of method of learning about a trail or area. Myself, and I think many others, prefer a really nice map, photos & video over long written content.

    Trailforks supports the written content and for many trails people have added nice descriptions or we've partnered with local guide books to use theirs. But I much prefer to see the trail on a map, and view photos & video. Trailforks & Pinkbike excel at photos & videos. With millions of photos & video already on Pinkbike, new trails added are automatically cross referenced wit any existing photos and adding new photos at bulk is easy. The photo viewing experience on PB is 2nd to none, super fast page loading. Videos are best in class, with a higher quality than Youtube or Vimeo. We encode at a higher bitrate which is really nice for the fast moving helmet cam type footage.

    Trailforks may be officially launching now, but this is actually the 2nd version of the site, the original was around before mtbproject. Since Pinkbike acquired it we closed the site for almost 2 years and re-developed it from the ground-up. On the 2nd official day, Trailforks already has more content & trails than mtbproject.

    I've been in casual contact with the creator of Skidmap for years and this summer Skidmap joined Trailforks and its been an awesome fit! We've already migrated all the skidmap content and some of the unique features it has. More to come!

    Its always best for a local to add their local trails, but its a collaborative process on Trailforks, we don't have strict content guidelines requiring a certain length description or a certain amount of photos or even a gps track. These can all be added over time by multiple contributors. I see it all the time over the summer, people will add a trail with minimal details and a gps track, someone else will come along the next day and fill in more details. There are hundreds of trail revisions submitted today alone.

    There is nothing wrong with submitting your content to multiple sites, but we make it a lot easier and faster. We have a bulk import method and ability to import and crop from Strava rides. Many of trail networks and bike parks have added all their trails in one go using the bulk trail tool.

    You mention OpenStreetMap, you can bulk import a OSM file but also export a region to a OSM file. So if you added all your trails to Trailforks, you could then export them all as a OSM file if you wanted to then submit to OSM. We may even start doing that ourselfs down the road once the database is pretty comprehensive out in a year or so.

    You mention use on a club website, Trailforks also makes it possbile to get data out of our system if you want. With the aforementioned exports as well as a wide array of customizable widgets & a JSON API. We can also create custom widgets for clubs if one of the existing ones doesn't serve them.

  7. #7
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    The trails at our local site were added almost in their entirety over the last week. The ability to comment on trail conditions, etc is nice, and should help with maintenance.
    Also a good excuse for me to go take some trail photos that I've been wanting to get.

    Edit: Only comment I would make is that most edited biking videos include more than one trail. It would be nice to say that a portions of a video show a specific trail, rather than a 1:1 trail:video match.
    Edit2: There are also a few video matches that are incorrect (video name is the same as trail name, but shows completely different location). I imagine that there is a way to sort this out already though.
    Edit3: Found out how to flag videos as incorrect (under map on video page).
    Last edited by cerebroside; 10-18-2014 at 03:23 PM.

  8. #8
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    Trail reports are one of the main features of the site and one with a lot of features. It can also be used to log trail work done.

    You can display a regions reports with the widget on your site. We also have a super simple trail report app.

    We've also recently added the ability to bulk add trail reports, which is really useful to close all the trails in a bike part for example. Or with winter coming, set the condition of all the trails above a certain elevation all in one go!

    PB Trailforks-iy7kn3u.jpg

    If you use the Ridelog system, after going on a ride an email will be sent prompting you to optionally enter a quick trail report for all the trails you rode (this email can be disabled). There is also a link when viewing one of your own ridelogs to add reports for the trails you rode.

    PB Trailforks-khh0ljq.jpg

    Another cool feature is viewing all the trails in a region, with their current status and most recent trail report. North Vancouver Trail Conditions & Status | Trailforks

    There are a tone more report related features, its a very important part of the site and something that once a critical mass is obtained will become a super useful tool for riders and builders!

  9. #9
    WillWorkForTrail
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    Lots of people seem to think this sort of thing, site wise, is a good idea. MTB project was admittedly the first completely free site of it's type I saw, but I can't even figure out how to submit a trail there. On the other hand, I've been using singletracks.com for free now for years, and the free premium membership for content submitters (point based) last year really sealed the deal for me. Singletracks may not have the bling factor some of these sites do, but it has a lot of good trail information. Is it complete? No. But neither is anyone else's as far as I can tell.

  10. #10
    since 4/10/2009
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    Being a "power user" at MTBProject has its perks. They interviewed me not long ago and one of my big complaints with their site is that the unnecessary complication of adding trails to their site keeps potential submitters away. It's not hard once you figure it out, but the figuring out process sucks and drives people away. I am a GIS professional and the learning curve sucked because their system is just different enough.

    I DO appreciate the level of QC that they take to make sure that the trails are legal and make sure that submissions are good quality. If the text is not your thing, that's no big deal. I frequently pull my phone out on the trail to show visitors where they are on the trail system. Just the maps. If I am visiting an area, I want as much info as I can get. I honestly care less about videos of a trail. I know lots of people look that stuff up, but I do not. I want an idea of the general character of a trail so I can choose a bike and the gear I bring with me, but I like the challenge of addressing the trail as I encounter it when I ride it for the first time. But that's fine...watching vids is something I can control and nobody has a monopoly on ride vids.

    My club has an internal trail conditions system so we have no interest in one elsewhere. Locals already know our system. We have a reporting system where anyone can submit a report. But only a trusted trail steward is able to actually change the conditions light on the page. It's not quite as thorough as the Trailforks one, but we have locals keeping track of things and moderating the process. One major condition we have to deal with that Trailforks doesn't address (why not? it's based out west...why would anyone out there have any clue about midwestern trail conditions?). Our winters are dominated by freeze/thaw cycles. For large chunks of the wintertime, riding might be fine during certain times of day when the trail is frozen, but terrible at other times of day. Our indicator lights go to "freeze/thaw" for most of the winter and we work hard to educate riders that even if the temps are still below freezing, sunshine will thaw the trails by 10am so get your ride in during the early morning or at night.

    The TF indicators related to snow or packed snow generally don't relate to where I live. The snow on our trails doesn't really "pack" and become a solid surface because of all the freeze/thaw cycles. It becomes icy. I don't like a centralized trail conditions system like this for this reason. It takes a cookie-cutter approach to trail conditions that can miss local variations.

    The bulk import functions are really what bother me about Trailforks, though. There's no quality control. How could there be if you're getting that many submissions daily? I see you're trying to convince me to submit my data to Trailforks. Sorry, it won't happen. I have my OWN standards, and MTBProject aligns with those standards pretty well. Trailforks does not. Singletracks comes far closer than TF, for that matter, and I just don't have the time to submit there, in addition to all the other work I am doing.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    ...
    The bulk import functions are really what bother me about Trailforks, though. There's no quality control. How could there be if you're getting that many submissions daily? I see you're trying to convince me to submit my data to Trailforks. Sorry, it won't happen. I have my OWN standards, and MTBProject aligns with those standards pretty well. Trailforks does not. Singletracks comes far closer than TF, for that matter, and I just don't have the time to submit there, in addition to all the other work I am doing.
    Wikipedia gets a lot of submissions daily, and they seem to do just fine in the technical areas I have expertise in. With Trailforks it seems that when anything (?) is submitted about a riding area you favorited (i.e. are subscibed to) it gives a notification, and you can vote to confirm or reject. You can also submit an edit to a trail, which I imagine is approved in a similar way? In addition to that, the people managing the riding area can get admin powers over that area (which I imagine we will have to sort out at some point, since we just elected a new site directer).

  12. #12
    since 4/10/2009
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    So someone could theoretically subscribe to a riding area and reject all edits, regardless of the validity?

    Say the land manager closes an eroded mess of a trail, and someone submits said edit, and then someone angry about the closure continuously rejects said edit. How does this get prevented?

    Who can get admin powers to manage a riding area? Anyone?

    See why I see problems with the QC (or lack thereof) system on TF?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    So someone could theoretically subscribe to a riding area and reject all edits, regardless of the validity?

    Say the land manager closes an eroded mess of a trail, and someone submits said edit, and then someone angry about the closure continuously rejects said edit. How does this get prevented?

    Who can get admin powers to manage a riding area? Anyone?

    See why I see problems with the QC (or lack thereof) system on TF?
    I don't have any affiliation with Trailforks, but from my (so far) brief experience with it:

    1. There is a trust score system which goes up if content you submit is approved, and down if content you submit is rejected. I believe you you need a certain trust score to accept or reject edits, and I think it is more of a vote, with high trust score users having more say.

    2. Edits have to be confirmed before they appear on the site. As above I assume this would be by vote from trusted users, or directly by the land manager/s (who would have admin access).

    3. From the Pinkbike article: "How does an association take control and become an admin for a region? Associations can apply to become an admin of any region on Trailforks. Our staff will then contact applicants and verify their affiliation with the appropriate trail association."

    Hopefully canadaka can correct me or expand on this. The reason I compared the site to Wikipedia, is that all these complaints could have been (and probably were) made of it too, and yet they seem to have found a way to make it work and give accurate information.

  14. #14
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    Confirming content requires +5 votes, rejecting requires -5 votes. Yes users build up a trust score over time if they contribute content that is approved. So there voting power slowly increases to more than the base 1.0

    Some features of the site, like bulk trail reports require a user to have a certain trust level, this is mostly to avoid new users spammers.

    Regional admins have +5/-5 voting power on content in their area, so they can approve content themselves.

    A single normal user can't reject content on their own, like you hypothesis. There is also a record of all past edits. you can provide a reason you reject something to assist an admin in making a decision.

    I will add your freeze/thaw cycle condition tonight We are a fast dedicated team, when we get suggestions like this, we implement fast. Users have been asking for a Simple metric conversion feature on mtbproject for a year and it still hasn't been added! We had some TF users in France ask about adding a France specific GIS map layer that is popular over there, it was added within 24 hours.

    The bulk import tool is a time saving device, you can add just as much detail, there are the basic fields when adding by bulk, then you can go in and add more details to individual trails after, this is what users have been doing. I've been adding more tags to the bulk tool as well, so one can include more data automatically from your OSM or KML export. If you prefer having to add trails one by one, then that's fine.

    mtbproject has some much more basic trail report/condition features as well, so I guess you don't use that either. Lots of local club sites do trail conditions, that's cool, many don't and I think we can do it better and make it a widespread practice.
    With TF you can also use both, if you have someone that knows web dev, you can use the Trailforks API to pull reports from TF, or use a club site as the primary source and just have them Posted to TF automatically via the API.

    Having regional admins verify reports before they change the status of a trail is something we've considered and may still add once there is a solid network of regional admins and the volume increases, so far it hasn't been an issue.

    But one thing a lot of associations and clubs will ask themselves, do they want to devote their very limited time and resources into developing and maintaining their own trail report systems and public web-based trail databases in general. Or use those resources for other priority like advocacy and building new trails.

    But i'm not trying to convince you personally to upload your data with your time, just debating. I'm sure the trails and info in your area will get added over time regardless. We are only just getting started and will grow fast. We have a lot of stuff planned to hopefully help out trail funding and associations.

  15. #15
    since 4/10/2009
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    I doubt large amounts of trail in my area will be added anytime soon unless I do it. I can barely get a single body to help me collect good gps data for trails.

  16. #16
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    NateHawk: Thanks for your input RE MTB Project.

    Everyone else, thanks for productive conversation. Our "local" SORBA chapter has a trail conditions website similar to what Nate described, but "local" (yes, I'm a dues paying member) seems to focus on Metro Nashville "and the surrounding area" but doesn't include the two counties I spend the most time in riding and building. As a result the closest thing we have to trail status for anything in those two counties is what gets posted to facebook. Likewise, anything that gets submitted to a web site like MTB Project or TF (or singletracks) is going to be done by me. I would like to make the information available to as many people as possible, but then I'm "responsible" for setting trail status on 3 web sites? It's still sounding like a pain to me.

    I fire up my ride tracking software, ride somewhere, and it's linked with singletracks, so when the ride uploads, singletracks looks at it, figures out what trail it was based on GPS info, and sends me an email that lets me click a link to set trail conditions. Any plans that anyone knows of with MTB Project or TF to do something similar?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cotharyus View Post
    I fire up my ride tracking software, ride somewhere, and it's linked with singletracks, so when the ride uploads, singletracks looks at it, figures out what trail it was based on GPS info, and sends me an email that lets me click a link to set trail conditions. Any plans that anyone knows of with MTB Project or TF to do something similar?
    I already mentioned in a previous post that Trailforks does this, and makes it easier!
    Trailforks has a whole ridelog system, you can have your Strava rides automatically imported. The import happens within <1hr of it being posted on Strava. Trailforks not only identifys the trails you rode but displays a super handy map of your ride on the trail map. There is a link on the ridelog to add reports for all the trails you rode, but the site will also send you an email (which can be disabled) with a link to add reports for this recent ride.

    PB Trailforks-felsozk.jpg

    The actually bulk form for adding reports for all the trails you rode is more informative than ST. It shows you the current stat & condtion and a preview of other recent reports, which can help in adding an update.

    PB Trailforks-932110d1413606418-pb-trailforks-khh0ljq.jpg

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    I doubt large amounts of trail in my area will be added anytime soon unless I do it. I can barely get a single body to help me collect good gps data for trails.
    I would help, but I don't own a GPS unit. I surely move slow enough to get good tracking.

  19. #19
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    I missed this in the explanations on PB: how does one become a regional admin or trail association? Are those different?

    For example: my club builds/maintains 20-odd parks and riding areas, it sounds like the trailforks system is designed so that someone from the club would have pretty much complete veto power on content related to the trails we "own", right? So how does our club's rep establish that?

    Seems like debating "good or bad" wrt this is kind of pointless, it's here and not going anywhere. It seems to me like there is at least some sort of QC process, and they are willing to listen to suggestions (as opposed to strava and map my ride, which have no QC whatsoever), plus it has more financial backing than mtb project or singletracks is ever going to (I wouldn't even bet that either of those will still be around 5 years from now).

  20. #20
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    A trail association can have members who we setup to be regional admins, but its not always someone from an association, sometimes its from a local bike club like you, or just a trusted local user.

    You can contact us to get added, but we like to have people Apply, so we have a record of it. At the bottom of a 'region' page there is a small "Apply" link
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    To promote your club/association on region & trail pages, make sure its been added to the Pinkbike Places directory: Trail Associations | Pinkbike

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