Pinkbike's Trailforks.com just killed EvergreenMTB's Trail Guide- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Pinkbike's Trailforks.com just killed EvergreenMTB's Trail Guide

    Let me say upfront, I'm not trying to be a jerk with this post. Let me also say that I'm a big fan of the new Evergreen Trail Guide. It was very well done, a big improvement over the wiki, and obviously took a ton of work. I use it often, and give major kudos to the developers for their work on it.

    Having said all that, Pinkbike's new Trailforks.com trail guide is a game changer. It's so much better: feature rich, very user friendly, soon to have mobile apps, provides one consistent master source for all the areas I could ever want to ride, AND the whole thing is paid for by somebody else who has deep enough resources to keep investing in it to make it even better down the road.

    And so it begs the obvious question: Even though our nice new Trail Guide is brand new, having now been outflanked by a better product, is it really worth continuing to invest in and maintain it, or is it better to just merge the content into the better Trailforks.com guide and call it quits on our own efforts in this area?

    Could always maintain two sites, I guess, but why - especially with Evergreen's more limited resources? Users will naturally migrate anyway to the best product and the old one will die from lack of new content. Pinkbike seems to be pretty magnanimous about this whole thing: charging nothing to local trail groups, encouraging Trail Karma gifts to the local org without taking a cut, etc, not to mention paying for all the hosting costs and staff to manage a really well designed trail website. So, with very sincere apologies to the team that developed our Trail Guide and will probably be hurt by this, I think it would be best to shut it down, migrate the content over to Trailforks, link it to Evergreenmtb.org, and call it good.

    Everyone wins in the end: we as users have a great trail guide that meets all our needs, somebody else pays for it, and all we have to do is upload content, and Evergreen can redirect staff and volunteer attention and scarce $$ toward other priority uses like advocacy and building new trails. Just MHO as a user, rider, volunteer & donor.

  2. #2
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    +1. I've been posting a bunch of gpx data to trailforks. Was thinking of using some of the evergreen trail descriptions, but did not want to hijack their data.

  3. #3
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    I didn't think the pinkbike site was very good. A bunch of incomplete gps tracks is not what I'm looking for when I research a new trail.
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  4. #4
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    It could be a great tool. Especially for riding areas where there is no local infrastructure to create a site. I've been watching it for the past 2 days and it's growing fast! I've run into a few bugs, but it generally works very well.

    My concern is that they'll create a great resource by putting thousands of people to work uploading tracks and data and then some day they'll start charging for it. Or, like other GPS and mapping sites I've contributed to in the past, it just vanishes. I've got to dig into the Ts&Cs a bit more.

    I think we still need to make our trail guide the place to go for up-to-date local trail info. Personally I don't care if that data gets copied to TrailForks or MTBProject. If there is something about those sites that is way better or easier for posting or getting local trail info, let us know!

  5. #5
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    Hmmmm let me see; we have our trail guide, Singletracks, ViewRanger, Every Trail, MTB Projects, and now Pinkbike's Trailforks. That is just to name the few that I am familiar with and you folks who have been around a lot longer I am sure know a lot more. And let's not forget all the other groups like SDMB that have sites also. I will always turn to the local sites of local riders to get my info. GPS is nice but nothing beats a local. And that is what Evergreen is. A local. I will download my tracks from where ever I can get them but if I am heading some where I am going to check with a local first. Evergreen Rocks!!!!!
    "Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race" H.G. Wells

  6. #6
    FM
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    There's a billion ways to show a GPS track on a website. The UI and navigation are secondary to the content. I looked for a few of my favorite rides on Trailforks and none of them were loaded. I did notice PVCA is listed as 20+ individual trails rather than one cohesive network; that kind of thing bugs me (in books as well). Give me a map that shows all the trails in relation to each other.

    I could see Trailforks as a starting point for traveling out of state, but for local stuff the new evergreen trailguide has a lot more quality content.

  7. #7
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    Pinkbike's Trailforks.com just killed EvergreenMTB's Trail Guide

    There's a big difference between content and the tool it lives in. The content is local and up to us to post and maintain it the way we see fit. I'm just recognizing the opportunity to make use of a better tool to more efficiently post and maintain our local content about our local trails for our local use.

    Would be pretty easy to migrate our great local EvergreenMTB content over to Trailforks, and we'd get better use out of it in comparison I think- especially with a mobile app soon.

    Nuff said, I'll sign off on this topic. Not a hater of the EMBA Trail Guide in any way.

  8. #8
    Justin Vander Pol
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    FM is right, content is king. I'm confident that Evergreen's Trail Guide will have better content since there's a dedicated core of people making sure the content is solid and up to date.

    There's a bigger picture here with all these trail sites, and that is getting new people to know about and visit Evergreen's site. I'm on the Evergreen Board of directors, and we've had conversations about these websites (not Pinkbike specifically).

    We need people to know about Evergreen, come to our work parties, attend our events, and support the cause. Why? So you can have more awesome trails to ride! The Trail Guide is one key way that new people find Evergreen. We need that flow of new people to keep building you awesome new trails. So I'm going to dedicate my energy to making sure the Evergreen Trail Guide has the best, most up to date, content.

    For example, our crew has been out doing work at Tokul E. We'll post up to Evergreen's Trail Guide, such as my recent update about brushing out Flowtron. You won't find that up to date info anywhere else.

  9. #9
    Justin Vander Pol
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    I do appreciate that Pinbike is at least trying to support the local efforts. I still really think it's important to have people go directly to Evergreen's site so we can maintain visibility in the market and keep our incredible trail projects and lobbying efforts going strong.

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    Y'all are missing the point. Just embed Trailforks into EMBA's website as the new, better Trail Guide. Use it to add all our trails the right way and post updates, ride reports, etc.

    People can and still will go to Evergreen website to find out about Evergreen just like always, but now we've given them something even better by also making use of what looks to now be the best trail guide tool out there by far. Further benefit being Trailforks, as part of a larger unified whole, will probably help drive even more traffic to Evergreen than our site ever could by itself. Everbody wins.

    Seems pretty simple. When something better comes along, just incorporate it into what we do and make it serve our needs, to make what we do even better.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nsteele View Post
    Y'all are missing the point. Just embed Trailforks into EMBA's website as the new, better Trail Guide.
    Not taking sides here. This is definitely a viable option to consider. But it's not the same as having our own trail guide integrated into our own website. It also doesn't address the concern of losing control of the data to another company or org at some point... or losing the data entirely.

  12. #12
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    Content is definitely #1, but UI is huge and vital (and I'm not just saying that because Julie is User Researcher ). Vital for users seeking trail info, and for the community posting tracks, maps, reports, directions, etc to it.

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    Don't wanna start sounding like a shill for Pinkbike (cuz I'm not, and I'm also not so naive that I don't realize they are obviously doing this to drive more eyeballs to their site too), but take a look at their Association Page: Associations | Trailforks

    Seems pretty magnanimous to me. We own the data, they will let us do whatever we want with it, they promise access will always be free. They will give us the APIs and Widgets to do whatever we want, including building our own Trail Guide or Apps using their API (& hosting it ourself?) We can export content in anyway we want at any time and do whatever. What more could one want? To quote from the Association Page:

    "Share Data
    Trailforks is a growing crowd-sourced database, if your riding association can provide any trail data like desciptions, gps tracks or photos, it is much appreciated! In return any of this data is available to riding associations for free via the website, rss feeds, widgets or the API.

    We have an open data policy, we don't think the trail data is something proprietary we need to protect. So you and others are free to take data out of our system for your own needs. If you want to develop your own app, go for it, use our API or get a KML data dump. However the same hidden trail settings apply to all data, unless you have the permission to view it.

    Trailforks is fast, powered by the Pinkbike data-center and created using the performance-focused Pinkbike framework that can handle millions of users. Unlike other trail websites, Trailforks is not cluttered and slowed down by advertisements!
    FREE! We will never charge for access to the trail data & maps on the website."

    I gotta sign off on this on cuz I don't want to turn it into an argument. Just seems backwards to me to not use a much better tool for the benefit of our members when there seems to be almost no downside. If I were you guys, I'd be talking to them.

    But I'll leave it up to the EMBA team to sort out what's best course of action, and will always be a supporter regardless. It's just a trail guide afterall, and a pretty small part of what you do overall - I just thought it was really cool, and wanted you guys to think about the possibilities.

  14. #14
    Justin Vander Pol
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    Nsteele, that's good food for thought. Definitely a changing landscape out there right now.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by juice View Post
    FM is right, content is king. I'm confident that Evergreen's Trail Guide will have better content since there's a dedicated core of people making sure the content is solid and up to date.

    There's a bigger picture here with all these trail sites, and that is getting new people to know about and visit Evergreen's site. I'm on the Evergreen Board of directors, and we've had conversations about these websites (not Pinkbike specifically).

    We need people to know about Evergreen, come to our work parties, attend our events, and support the cause. Why? So you can have more awesome trails to ride! The Trail Guide is one key way that new people find Evergreen. We need that flow of new people to keep building you awesome new trails. So I'm going to dedicate my energy to making sure the Evergreen Trail Guide has the best, most up to date, content.

    For example, our crew has been out doing work at Tokul E. We'll post up to Evergreen's Trail Guide, such as my recent update about brushing out Flowtron. You won't find that up to date info anywhere else.
    Every new mountain bike rolling out a shop's doors should come with an EMBA postcard highlighting the organizations benefits. Part of that would be listing the EMBA trail guide as well.

    The UI of the trail guide is better than Trailforks for me. Trailforks has some nice bells and whistles, but I have to side with the local organization having a site of its own to keep the content current and moreover remain relevant. Yes, Pinkbike offers to promote the local organizations, but there's really no substitute for having your own active site to remain viable. I can see linking Trailforks off the Evergreen trail guide, if for no other reason that it may offer an alternate channel for getting your information; wait we had this discussion earlier.

  16. #16
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    Re: Pinkbike's Trailforks.com just killed EvergreenMTB's Trail Guide

    I hadn't checked it out until today.

    For Bellingham, it's not very complete. It shows a lot of Galbraith, none of Padden, and a couple trails on Blanchard Mountain but nothing in the Chuckanuts.

    I feel like crowd-sourcing trail maps is an odd approach. Where's the incentive for me to fill in some web site? I buy the WMBC map when it comes out. Incidentally, there's a new one, dated Fall 2014.

    Strava is doing something interesting lately. They've been aggregating all their data for ages. They've now made general heat maps available. It's really interesting to see where people are logging rides. Duthie is incandescent, of course. The new trails on Tiger are just starting to show up.

    Maybe I'll upload one of the missing trails on Trailforks to see how it is. But it seems like having people upload GPS files to map something is really hard. At the more braided riding spots, that would be a ton of work. And, what if i took a wrong turn somewhere or did an alternate version. Or, don't really know where on the GPS track specific trails begin and end.

    But, a lot of that data is already out there in aggregate. It would be really cool to see someone work with one of the existing fitness recording services to develop these maps. Then, it's just a matter of filling in names. Though, I think such a system would even be somewhat robust about people leaving out names they don't know.

    As it is, I think a strength of the Evergreen trail guide is that it's flexible. If there's a map, great. If the person who wrote the entry doesn't have it or it's copyrighted, the entries sometimes say where to get them. Etc.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by mwestra2 View Post
    My concern is that they'll create a great resource by putting thousands of people to work uploading tracks and data and then some day they'll start charging for it. Or, like other GPS and mapping sites I've contributed to in the past, it just vanishes.
    As Nsteele already quoted, Pinkbike will never make trailforks a paid access site, like some others out there that you need to pay for a membership to see the full trail details/gps.

    Many users don't know how to download a GPX file or how to edit/crop one offline with some desktop app. So on Trailforks one can upload an entire ride and crop out a trail, or import one of your past Strava rides and crop out a trail from it, similar to how the Strava segment creation works, but on TF you see the other trails around it in the background!

    Trailforks has a "Ridelog" feature where users add their rides gps, or import Strava ones (soon more fitness sites will also be supported). So using this aggregate data to help auto generate missing trails is defiantly something we can look at doing in the future.

    Also as Nsteele already quoted, you can use Trailforks to input your data, but still display it on your local website using one of our several customization widgets, or can make your own interface reading the data from the Trailforks API.

    Or you may want to keep the trail focus on the Everygreen site but want wide exposure so add the basic trail info & gps tracks to trailforks, with a link to the Everygreen site for more info. Could also use the Trailforks API in reverse, have it so when a ride report is added to Everygreen, it cross posts it to Trailforks.

    here is an example of an area that has added some TF widgets: Trail Info from TrailForks.com
    We can also create some custom widgets if one of the existing one doesn't fit.

    But like Nsteele said so well, its all a matter of your resources, for many associations not having to devote time & money to creating their own systems will be a plus.

    "juice" mentioned posting news or trail events to your local website. Well I bet a lot of people in your region rarely check your site, but they do check Pinkbike daily for their mtn bike news. Many people might not realize this, but Pinkbike has geo targeted news. There are a lot more news items that what you see, there are articles being posted in Quebec, or China that you never see. We have plans to integrate this feature with Trailforks to make it easier for local associations to post local news & events, that will hit the Pinkbike homepage, so all viewers in your geo region will see it.

    We also have "routes" system coming on Trailforks, once we have a good base of trails, then people can start adding recommended routes/rides. There is also a PB/TF events system coming next year, which will work with the routes for race events. Events like trail days will be promoted on the Pinkbike homepage using the geo targeted news.

    I also notice the new evergreen trails site is built with Joomla CMS. I have been thinking about making some Trailforks modules/plugins for a few of the most popular CMS systems (Drupal, Wordpress, Joomla) that would retrieve data from the TF API. If Everygreen is interested, we could use you as a test case.

  18. #18
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    I wanted to throw my thoughts in here. I personally prefer the emba trail guide. At places like Tokul or Cap Forest, I feel like I get a zone presentation rather than a trail presentation like what I see on Trail Forks. Tokul is a pretty clear example. TF presents all these individual trails and no real clear connection between them all.

    Maybe all that will fill itself in over time on Trail Forks though. For now, I still depend on emba to figure out a day at a zone.

  19. #19
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    The site is new, it will take time for people to contribute trails. Galbraith has most the trails added, so you can see the entire zone
    Galbraith Mountain Biking | Trailforks

    We have a routes system coming, where people can create recommended routes/rides in an area, that linkup trails. We just want to get a solid base of trails in the system first.

  20. #20
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    Thanks, canadaka. I'd say a bunch of us here are pretty regular users/contributors to PB so we know what you guys are about and trust the brand. From what I've seen of trailforks so far, it's pretty rad!

    That being said, it would be a really good idea to make a concerted effort to directly engage orgs like EMBA and WMBC rather than just thinking that the volunteer contributor approach will build a solid base of data. These groups are largely responsible for building, maintaining and protecting access to the trails around here.

    I am especially concerned that publishing lots of info about gray and otherwise unsanctioned trails brings undue attention and potential for shutdown. I know you guys understand what I'm talking about because you've built the mechanisms for regional administration and curation into the system -- which is already a huge win over strava, etc.

    What is the plan for involving the local trail groups? Who gets to decide which trails become part of each org's bailiwick?

  21. #21
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    We have a dedicated person for community manager, he has been in contact with trail groups around the world, but since the site is global, we can't directly engage every Org. Especially since so many are slow to respond. We tried too get associations to engage and add content for over the past year, prior to the site being public we would give them early access, we had a closed beta. But most associations just didn't have the time or resources. Soon as we started opening it up to users in open beta, keener local users added the majority of content.

    We have already had contact with 'Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition' about a trail being removed. Each local trail association can decide how much grey are trails are public. They can contact [email protected] or fillout a region admin application, we already have over 100 region admins setup.

    We also will setup individuals with region admin, if we determine they are a trusted source of local knowledge. Kyle one of the founders of Transition bikes has been adding most the Galbraith trails and is setup as a region admin there.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by canadaka View Post
    We have a dedicated person for community manager, he has been in contact with trail groups around the world, but since the site is global, we can't directly engage every Org. Especially since so many are slow to respond. We tried too get associations to engage and add content for over the past year, prior to the site being public we would give them early access, we had a closed beta. But most associations just didn't have the time or resources. Soon as we started opening it up to users in open beta, keener local users added the majority of content.
    Understood. Again, total Monday-morning quarterbacking here, but it's too bad that the opportunity was missed with EMBA and WMBC -- WA is one of the bigger MTB communities in the US. It would've been great to hear about the trailforks release with stoke-inducing endorsements from peeps like Glenn and EB...

    Quote Originally Posted by canadaka View Post
    We have already had contact with 'Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition' about a trail being removed. Each local trail association can decide how much grey are trails are public. They can contact [email protected] or fillout a region admin application, we already have over 100 region admins setup.
    And that's great! Again, one of the reasons that I like your approach rather than the, "well...the Internet will fix itself" standard PR-line bullsh1t3 we get from sites like Strava.

    Quote Originally Posted by canadaka View Post
    We also will setup individuals with region admin, if we determine they are a trusted source of local knowledge. Kyle one of the founders of Transition bikes has been adding most the Galbraith trails and is setup as a region admin there.
    I definitely trust Kyle. Except when there's only one beer left in the cooler.

  23. #23
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    The politics of gray trails are not clear cut, and picking one admin for a region is still a crapshoot and likely to shut down gray trail areas without a local organizations like Evergreen having a say. What is the vetting process for a trail admin, since PB is in Canada, so far removed (geographically, not to mention local knowledge) from the vast majority of trail systems they want to represent?

    Also, businesses like PB can change hands, then leadership, then policies in the blink of an eye, no matter the "good intentions" or "promises" of the current leadership. I fully support that Evergreen maintains control of their own content. If they are nice enough to let OTHER people (not evergreen employees) re-do all of the data input into another site, then so be it.

  24. #24
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    Pinkbike has been around since the 90's and has never changed control or leadership

    Regions can have multiple admins, or groups. We often setup the trail association as a group and assign the group permissions over the region, then add members of the association to the group. This also presents a little icon label beside there username throughout the site like "NSMBA" so others know they represent a group.

    Evergreen is fairly unique, its not the norm for an association to have their own decent trail database. So I can see not wanting to use resources to re-enter data somewhere. So It probably will be other users who do so, its usually the case anyway. Evergreen should at least get setup on TF so they can monitor or control content that is inevitability contributed. A simple fast first step is subscribing to a region to get email notifications if a new trail is added.
    Subscribing to a Region | Trailforks

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    Success tends to lead to changing hands- I'd say PB is doing pretty well these days.

    Not sure local orgs, let alone local builders, want to be directly associated with gray trails online.

    I appreciate that you guys have thought this through, but I think you are playing with fire. the fact that you trust your multi-admin process to protect a lot of people's hard work towards the local riding scene seems pretty irresponsible.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by thedudeman View Post
    Not sure local orgs, let alone local builders, want to be directly associated with gray trails online.
    This is up to each region, different builders & associations have different policy and views on this matter. If they don't want to associate or have them online, they can choose not to add them. And with TF they have some tools to monitor if others come along trying to add some unsanctioned trail.

  27. #27
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    Hey Guys,

    So we* just launched the new Trail Guide after a year's hard work and resources, and now we have our hands full working on getting the rest of the site updated (membership, calendar, blog, advocacy, news & events, etc). We have hard dates we need to meet, and we're continuing to do this with entirely volunteer labor. So we're not going to press the reset button on anything right now.

    That said, we're already talking about TF integration/adoption. Although we've just begun to check out what TF is doing, we're impressed so far. We think there's a definite opportunity here to leverage each other's strengths and come up with something rad where everybody wins. The right few people need to connect, which isn't going to happen by posting on this thread alone. I'll kick that off with a PM, and we can sort of go from there. In the mean time, go get some rides in or dig while the dirt's good - the Internet will still be here tomorrow!

    * I was basically the PM for the Trail Guide launch, while serving on the board along with Juice. I elected not to renew my term on the board as of this October, so I'm no longer speaking in an official capacity on behalf of Evergreen.
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  28. #28
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    Pinkbike's Trailforks.com just killed EvergreenMTB's Trail Guide

    R1de:

    I do need to use this public forum to apologize to you and everyone involved in the EMBA Trail Guide for probably making this topic more inflammatory than it needed to be. Big, big props to you guys as the Trail Guide was a HUGE improvement, and I can only imagine the long volunteer hours put in to get it up and running. It is very user friendly and has been tremendously helpful to me as I've sought out new riding areas this Summer and Fall.

    Glad to see when the time is right you guys will figure out how to integrate w TF and continue to get even better.

    We are indeed very lucky around here to have such a strong and dedicated MTB organization like EMBA! Thanks for your personal service to the cause.

  29. #29
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    I too appreciate all the hard work that EMBA does. Being a new rider, 15 months, Evergreen has been essential to my journey. The Trail Wiki and now the Trail Guide has been indispensable to finding places to ride and developing as a rider. So I will continue to use, abuse, and post to the trail guide when I think things need to be said.

    NSteele, if we can't talk about things that are important to us without getting our panties in a bunch well, then I guess we should keep our heads in the sand. Thank you for bringing to my attention another great resource in this wonderful obsession.

    Suggestion for Trail Forks: links on your site to every possible organization that wants to be involved with trail listings. It is still my opinion that the latest info about any given trail will be with the locals.
    To Evergreen: Posters in every bike shop in Washington telling everyone that walks in who we are and what we do.
    To all you long riding locals: Us joeys, newbies, rookies, etc really need you. It really helps when you post to the Trail Guide and to this forum.

    Thanks Borneo and Verslowrider for my birthday ride
    And always to Nathan.
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  30. #30
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    Well, if Nsteele hadn't been unnecessarily inflammatory, I probably wouldn't have read much (any?) of the topic, let alone tried Trailforks. You can't buy publicity like that.

    I like that Trailforks can link to Strava. My watch records .FIT files, which the direct upload feature doesn't support.

    I felt like uploading more than one trail from the same GPS track was kind of clunky. I had to start from zero each time. I think that will matter less and less over time, but since the site is currently pretty barren, I suspect that there's going to be a fair amount of multiple uploading going on for a while, if people care. I also wonder what happens with trails that have variations, or people entering and exiting at different places.

    Having to wait for confirmation is sort of clunky. I guess if Trailforks is trying to be more curated, it makes sense. There are definitely some review sites that have so much random crap on them they're useless.

    I notice that Bellingham now has both "Chuckanut Mountains" and "Chuckanut Ridge." Huh? I guess one can argue for Blanchard Mountain as a separate riding area, since there's a huge gorge in between. But it's the one listed as "Chuckanut Mountains" and "Chuckanut Ridge" is shown floating over downtown. They both look like people spent some time on them. One has some written descriptions and one has a good geographic overlay thing. To me, it seems like they could be merged, but it doesn't look like there's a way to do that. (I guess I'm suggesting it now.)

    I guess the bottom line, really, is to see if this grows into a more comprehensive resource. I think if someone is smart enough not to announce gray trails all over the place without Trailforks, he'll be smart enough not to record them with it. And, if a land manager is smart enough to find Trailforks, he was probably already smart enough to use Strava. So I think the real possibility for something different here is just whether or not it gets traction.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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    Another observation - there are a lot of trails, and even more so access roads, that I won't ride the full length of before connecting to something else. Since I have my morning off and I'm screwing around with the Internet, I'm uploading stuff from my last visit to Galbraith, when I checked out the newly reopened section of Lost Giants. Someone else has already entered a piece of Lost Giants. I don't want to say their piece isn't Lost Giants, it is. And I don't want to say my piece isn't Lost Giants, it also is.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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    One argument here is using a regional database versus a national/intl database. Obviously lots of pros and cons, and I won't wade into them.

    My point is that IF one is going to consider integration with a larger/centralized database, why wouldn't MTBProject be the more attractive candidate? Given the relationship of Evergreen to IMBA, and of MTBProject to IMBA, isn't that a more logical direction?

    Taking the argument one step further, IMBA could be adding significant value to their many regional chapters by providing them with a clean online trail database tool? (ie, proactively solicit regional groups for input to make MTBProject better, and proactively solicit the chapters to integrate).

    Basically there are a LOT of duplicitous sites and info out there. What would really benefit the riders of the world is if ONE site had the most rides, the best UI, and the most up to date local status info. And ideally that site wouldn't be a for-profit like Strava that charges you monthly subscriptions if you want a GPX file, or even a Pinkbike owned site that may currently have relatively friendly terms of use (I don't trust them to stay so good natured if they eventually become the dominant repository of trail info).

    I think I've talked myself into sending an email to IMBA . . .

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by InertiaMan View Post
    One argument here is using a regional database versus a national/intl database. Obviously lots of pros and cons, and I won't wade into them.

    My point is that IF one is going to consider integration with a larger/centralized database, why wouldn't MTBProject be the more attractive candidate? Given the relationship of Evergreen to IMBA, and of MTBProject to IMBA, isn't that a more logical direction?
    Ummm, dude, you just answered your own question. And probably not the way you think.

    Frankly, I trust PB's motives way more than I trust IMBA's...

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeePhroh View Post
    Ummm, dude, you just answered your own question. And probably not the way you think.

    Frankly, I trust PB's motives way more than I trust IMBA's...
    100% agree. Of all the sites out there, MTBProject is the one I trust the least, due to IMBA's involvement.

    Not sure why people keep mentioning Strava in this thread though. Strava is far from a trail database and has shown no indication of becoming one. They obviously have a huge amount of gps data, as does garminconnect, everytrail, alltrails, mapmyride, ridewithgps and countless other sites. I think Evergreen will have a tough time gaining traction with competing interests such as Trailforks, MTBProject and Singletracks.

  35. #35
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    As a map geek, I am loving this new tool and I can see how once all the content gets added and edited that it will have real value. I look at the Northshore area (I assume this was part of the beta as it is well put together) and can easily use the map view to print out a map to use for exploring. It does require that everything be filled in and that the access roads are indicated as well. And obviously Washington has a lot of work to do.

    So..my question for Canadaka (or whomever) is how does the crowd-sourcing/editing work? Specifically, I am looking at Tiger mountain. I have added a few trails (the Access Road climb, the road to Iverson, etc). Some have been approved. There are also segments/trails I didn’t add that are not quite right. For example, Silent Swamp should end where it ends at the road, and not go down the road to where Preston ends. The Preston GPS doesn’t seem quite in some areas. The PBR is kind of just floating there. I have made edits…but someone has to accept them… How does this work? Is there an owner of this area? Do people vote? This incomplete/inaccurate map is driving me nuts.

    Or perhaps I am overstepping my bounds and an area owner will fix everything….


    Edit...sorry, I meant for this post to go to the end of the thread...

  36. #36
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    Ease of use is everything. Fewest clicks wins....

  37. #37
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    Re: Pinkbike's Trailforks.com just killed EvergreenMTB's Trail Guide

    Floating PBR and too-long Silent Swamp are both me.

    Silent Swamp - I just forgot there's a little bit of road before heading up Preston. Good place to eat a bar or a gel, so you'd think I'd remember. I'll have to crop it further.

    PBR - in retrospect, I should have cropped it from that ride's track with some overlap with neighboring points at both ends. I wasn't able to crop very finely from the complete ride, but I could probably have done it better in two steps.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  38. #38
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    I took a look at trailforks and it's great, but EMBA's trail guide is very well-done, and done with volunteer work. I'm glad there was an apology in here.

    I think in the end a good, solid, standardized platform will help regional/local clubs add trails without as much thought to the website's infrastructure, so I definitely think an offering like trailforks will make work easier for the good folks at EMBA in the future.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by palzer View Post
    I have made edits…but someone has to accept them… How does this work? Is there an owner of this area? Do people vote? This incomplete/inaccurate map is driving me nuts.
    So new trails everyone can see them under the blue confirm tab that shows up when a region has pending new content. Users can help confirm or reject. There is also a global page showing all pending content.
    Confirm Content | Trailforks
    But edits or revisions to existing content is currently not setup to allow crowd-voting. Either one of us Trailforks admins or people that are setup as regional admins have to confirm or reject the edits.
    We've been a bit overwhelmed with the volume of content coming in so there is a bit of a backlog atm.

    One thing you can do if you're a completionist, is compile/edit all the tracks for an area offline in a deskop app like Google Earth or JOSM. Then export all the trails as one file in KML or OSM format. Then we have a "Bulk Add Trails" tool to add them all in one go.


    Quote Originally Posted by InertiaMan View Post
    My point is that IF one is going to consider integration with a larger/centralized database, why wouldn't MTBProject be the more attractive candidate? Given the relationship of Evergreen to IMBA, and of MTBProject to IMBA, isn't that a more logical direction?

    Taking the argument one step further, IMBA could be adding significant value to their many regional chapters by providing them with a clean online trail database tool? (ie, proactively solicit regional groups for input to make MTBProject better, and proactively solicit the chapters to integrate).
    Just a note that there is nothing preventing IMBA from also promoting Trailforks. Mtbproject is not run by imba, just partnered with a private company. Its one of imba mission statements "We inspire more people to experience the outdoors on bicycles".

    But like @GeePhroh & @ACree expressed, not everyone is stoked on imba and a lot of regions and clubs aren't imba members. Imba is also very US focused and right now so is mtbproject. Trailforks is world-wide and so is Pinkbike.

    We strongly believe Trailforks is a much better product, with WAY more features, more value-add and a larger focus on providing tools for trail associations. You say a "clean database tool", I argue Trailforks is that, tool, its not cluttered with ads, we collect a lot more meta data about a trail, not just an open-ended description field. Our data is more open with ways to export that data for associations. I would argue as well that Pinkbike has a much larger reach that imba or mtbproject for soliciting riders/users, which is who the chapters represent. I think i mentioned in a previous post that Pinkbike already has a geo-targeted news system, that is used a bit today. So your homepage news on PB is different than mine, there are local news stories. We plan on integrating this with Trailforks and allow associations to post news about their events and such to PB news, which will reach a lot of people in their areas, and people that might not normally be engaged in the affairs of the association.

    We have a lot more planned and in development to help trail associations and trail advocacy, I can't discuss yet, but it could be huge.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by r1de View Post
    Hey Guys,

    So we* just launched the new Trail Guide after a year's hard work and resources, and now we have our hands full working on getting the rest of the site updated (membership, calendar, blog, advocacy, news & events, etc). So we're not going to press the reset button on anything right now.

    That said, we're already talking about TF integration/adoption. Although we've just begun to check out what TF is doing, we're impressed so far. We think there's a definite opportunity here to leverage each other's strengths and come up with something rad where everybody wins.
    The life cycle of Internet technology is something like 9 months. The biggest mistake that organizations make is to build a nice web site, then publish it with no plan or resources to maintain and upgrade it. These days, all social media technology is premised on constant, daily updates- new data is constantly added to keep people interested and informed so they continue to come back to the site for current information.

    As a result, Web sites and content start to degrade and become outdated soon as they are released. So web development needs to be a constant process of evolution.

    Also, It's always very hard to replace internal development work with a new external app. People put a lot of dedicated work into updating the Evergreen site. There is lots to be said for the regional trail maps and info being a great marketing tool for Evergreen. On the other hand, the TF web mapping presentation is a really well presented cloud technology that offers free functionality and advanced cartography that Evergreen will have a very hard time duplicating, or even keeping up with. For example, The TF ability to configure custom Mobil apps could put all the Evergreen trail map content onto your cell phone, configured how Evergreen would like it to be configured.

    The big issue moving forward for me as a user is: can the Evergreen project team devote the necessary time to upgrade the current trail map application, maintain content, AND introduce new web mapping technology to keep it relevant? This is a huge and expensive job in any web dev project, one which the Evergreen team already has said they can not do, as they are preparing to shift resources to upgrade other parts of the Evergreen web page.

    For me, the real question is not whether the newly updated Evergreen site should be replaced with Trailforks. Rather, the question is, what are you going to do with the Evergreen site in 9 months or a year, when the current release becomes outdated and Version 2.0 is needed??

    If you plan now to Integrate with Trailforks in version 2.0, you get the best of both worlds- existing volunteer work gets recognized and utilized to the end of useful life, and Migrating to TF in 9 months or a year gives access to very high quality, sustainable, web mapping capability and cutting edge technology improvements you likely will never be able to achieve in house.

  41. #41
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    Re: Pinkbike's Trailforks.com just killed EvergreenMTB's Trail Guide

    I don't know that I see Evergreen's site as social media. It seems like a lot of informational web sites operate on a much longer timeframe, based largely on the quality of their content. Wikipedia, for example. I'm sure Wikipedia has done its share of tweaking, but the basic user experience hasn't changed much at all over time. Or, not that I've recognized.

    I don't see the Evergreen trail guide as a map application. Granted, it has the most current maps of some spots. But that doesn't seem to be a necessary aspect of the entries.

    It will be interesting to see how things develop. For now, I don't really see the sites as being in competition with each other. Trailforks does look like it has a lot of great potential to me, and it seems like it could be a great supplement to Evergreen trail guide entries that are light on map data. I'm not sure if it's already supported, but it seems like it would be pretty cool to let a trail guide entry embed the riding spot's Trailforks map.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  42. #42
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    What are your admins filtering for with their approval process? I see a number of trails that are multi use, multi directional trails that I would call XC, that are being listed as all mountain, DH primary, and biking primary. It is impressive how quickly content is being added.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by ACree View Post
    What are your admins filtering for with their approval process? I see a number of trails that are multi use, multi directional trails that I would call XC, that are being listed as all mountain, DH primary, and biking primary. It is impressive how quickly content is being added.
    It's a collaborative wiki-like process. We see in lots of areas a user will add a trail with very minimal details (name, difficulty, gps track). Then another user will come by later that day or weeks later and submit a revision adding more info, or changing the direction and so forth. Anyone can make an edit to any trail if they see wrong info, or want to contribute more info. We save all the revisions, have a list of contributors and save the history of confirm/reject votes.

    Yes its been very active, 481 trails added on Monday alone.
    Pinkbike's Trailforks.com just killed EvergreenMTB's Trail Guide-eme21hi.png

    3 of my friends went down to Chuckanut last weekend, so they added 13 new trails to that riding area.

    Once there is good trail coverage, you will then start to see more adoption of people using the trail reports feature. The homepage activity feed has specific versions filter by type of content, for example this is the feed of just reports: Reports Activity Feed | Trailforks
    Or I can look at the feed just for the state of Washington, and filter the types of content & actions I wanna see on the right.
    Washington Activity Log | Trailforks

  44. #44
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    Fantastic job. bravo and three cheers for creating a remarkable web mapping site that integrates all kinds of trail info in a very useable format. now, get back to work. No time to waste. We need more!

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by ACree View Post
    tioning Strava in this thread though. Strava is far from a trail database and has shown no indication of becoming one. They obviously have a huge amount of gps data, as does garminconnect, everytrail, alltrails, mapmyride, ridewithgps and countless other sites. I think Evergreen will have a tough time gaining traction with competing interests such as Trailforks, MTBProject and Singletracks.
    I'll bite. I use the evergreen site when I want to identify a new area to ride but then switch to Strava and zoom into that exact spot, look for popular segments, and then start sifting through rides that have been posted which are tied to that segment.

    Keep in mind, Evergreen only shows the legit riding spots, not the grey areas like old walking trails, user built trials, etc. Also, I like to do a lot of riding from my driveway, so again, Strava comes in handy because I can see how people are piecing rides together with rail to trails such as SVT, or using logging roads, etc.

    I'm quickly able to identify riders who put together rides like what I'm looking for. What you get from Strava, that you don't get from any other site is the ability to piece a trail playlist together based on what people are posting.

    This is the advantage that Strava has over the others. You can put a ride together at a new spot based on a Local's perspective. Sure, somebody can post a recommended playlist on the Evergreen site, but it can't take into account a variety of factors like time of year, time of day, skill level, desired climbing, desired descent, desired mileage and time on bike. You can put all of this together with Strava because you're able to identify like-minded riders and piece rides together based on what they've posted.

    Like I've said in other threads, Strava gets a bad rap because of the segments, but there is so much more to the site/app. than the segments. At this point I could pretty much care less about them. The gold in Strava is being able to visit a brand new spot and put together a ride that would have taken three or four trips to that spot previously to sort out.

  46. #46
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    Pro tip: When adding/editing a trail using Trailforks. I recently added the Suntop trail and noticed my Strava gpx didn't quite match up with what Google maps indicates where the trail is. It is possible that one gps track could be inaccurate, but I verified with Strava Heat maps: Strava Global Heatmap

    This site overlays all users Strava recordings into a heat map. And sure enough, the Google maps version of the trail is pretty inaccurate in places. 100s of gps tracks can't be wrong.

    I wonder what Google uses to overlay its trails?

  47. #47
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    Google maps usually display citations at the bottom of the screen. It's a patchwork of information from different agencies and companies. And yeah, it can be pretty far off when something's not really infrastructure. It's not like maps of a lot of trails really get maintained through every little reroute.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  48. #48
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    So is this site just for using on your mobile device? I was on there just looking around and I didn't see anything for downloading maps or printing or something like that. One thing I do really like is for us non-data users Evergreen tries hard to supply the GeoPDFs for using with PDF Maps. And I thank them for that. Slim
    "Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race" H.G. Wells

  49. #49
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    We are working on a Trailforks Map App with offline capability. There is the mobile site for now, which works decent offline if you load the area before you loose data.
    m.trailforks.com

    We know how to make GeoPDF's, it something that Skidmap did and something we might offer, we have all the pieces in places to auto-generate them. But we are focused on the mobile app first.

    There is a print option at the bottom of region and trail pages (which is sometimes disabled on some reason if the local association has selected it to be). The region print does a numbered trail legend.
    Example: Tiger Mountain Printed Map | Trailforks

  50. #50
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    Thank you so very much for the reply Canadaka. I will check it out a little further.

    The GeoPDFs would be a great asset, IMHO, for people that won't spend the money on a data package (me) and have a GPS. It would also work in places where you don't have cell signal and forgot to cache the data. Avenza's app PDF Maps is a great app and you can import KML files and make your own maps.

    thanks again.
    Slim
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  51. #51
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    So let me get this straight - you can go on the computer and look up trails and stuff ?
    Like some kind of electronic map ?

    Wow !

  52. #52
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    Correct, Strava is not a mapping application or trail database. It uses openstreetmap to provide the mapping. Trails that you add to OSM will appear in Strava. Since i've only just 'discovered' Trailforks, I'm not sure about the relative merits between TF, OSM, Evergreen Trail Guide and the rest ...

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