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Taking MTB Project to the next level

Original Post
Archie La · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2017 · Points: 0

I wanted to say that MTB Project is awesome  and it is just incredible to see that someone is trying to make sure outdoors activities evolve to the next level!
I think it is also great that involvement of actual bikers and hikers is awesome in growing this project.
I also think that as great as it is for the source of trail information, some information such as trail condition sometimes is not very real time. For example I have seen some trails where conditions haven't been update for three weeks. In some states such as California where I am this doesn't matter as much since the weather tends to be pretty stable, but there are places where real time conditions would be much appreciated. Since, it is the users who update the trails conditions it would be great to try to engage them more.
I really see two ways this could be done. One way is to make updating trail conditions easy, painful process. For example what if the app could determine, based on GPS location of the phone which trail the user is in, and simply send a notification or a text message with simple question asking to rate the condition of the trail. I think this way more users would reply since it would be a step that they wouldn't have to control much.
Second way to do it would be to offer incentives for users to update information about the trails. I totally understand paying someone to do it is not an option, but maybe there are other ways. For example for every update that gets approved or whatever the reason might be, user might get some amount of points. Once, user gets enough points he/she is rewarded with some incentive. For example free stickers or 10% discount coupon to REI store. As a matter of fact discount coupon could bring additional income to REI since most people will buy additional items while in store. I also believe this incentive idea could attract more sponsors and participants to join in support of building this great source of trail information!

Ben Voytko · · Pittsburgh, PA · Joined May 2013 · Points: 2,085

I think one of the biggest challenges of the current implementation of trail conditions reports is that I have to dig to find them, seeing useful trail conditions isn't as automatic as it should be.

I have to click on each trail or ride to see the conditions report. The main page of MTB Project doesn't show any trail conditions. I also have to dig around and select each trail/ride to see the conditions, though sometimes one nearby trail or ride shows up at the bottom of the screen so I can see a rating (but have no idea how old it is).

The trail conditions widgets are cool, but unless they are hanging out on your trail group's webpage, then you probably can't find it easy. The area pages are decent to see a quick list of trail conditions, but I would really like to see the age of the trail conditions shown on the list at the bottom of the page. Currently, you have to hover over each rating to see how old it is. That, or add a conditions widget by default on the area pages.

One of the big things I would have liked to see is timing out trail conditions ratings that are older than say 2 weeks, so the conditions wouldn't show up unless they were recent (or have a configurable time-out by trail as some trail conditions vary wildly, and some are relatively static). Even a user configurable setting would be nice, to set a time-out on ratings on a per user basis as everyone has different preferences depending on their local trails, something like 3 days / 1 week / 2 week / 1 month / 3 months / 6 months.

I don't care about a trail rating that isn't accurate, I would rather have an "I don't know" than a really outdated/inaccurate rating. It's just not useful in any way at that point. It would also be nice to be able to give local trail groups the ability to clear all the ratings for an area after a rain / snow.

Zander Göpfert · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 2,519

Hey Archie and Ben,

Those are great suggestions. I've added them to our board of possible improvements. Clearly, there's some potential here to make trail conditions more accessible. I will try to follow up if and when we have that conversation but you should at least know that it will be discussed and prioritized against other features and improvements. Thanks for addressing the problem and then going the extra step to suggest a solution, it's really helpful feedback. 



Archie La · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2017 · Points: 0

Hi Zander, 

Thank you for taking in our points!

Just on the side note as Ben suggested having a updated trail conditions would be great and furthetmore with a help of API would allow for creation of cool gadgets. For example my plan is to develop Alexa skills that will report trail conditions, but that would only work well if the trail conditions are updated. I am also thinking about developing a small embedded lcd that will display my favorite trail conditions every morning. For prople like me in California trail conditions might not be as big of a deal as for people living in less loving climate, but it is always nice to know that trail is ready to go ! Extra motivation in the morning

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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