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Trail / Ride Submission Advise


Original Post
Steve Vigneau · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2012 · Points: 100

For those of you who've been submitting trails here into MTB Project, I need some advise with regards to how to submit a particular kind of trail. Here in the CRAMBA area in Southeast Michigan it's common for our MTB-accessible trails to be located within parks, with the typically-ridden route being a series of trail segments strung together.

An example of this can be found here on this map of Stony Creek Metropark. All of the trails shown here are open to mountain biking, and thus I'd think they should all be included here on MTB Project. There are particular routes through each of this which tend to be popular (examples: 1-2-3-4), but there is nothing that I'd think would be described as [u]the[/u] one ride.

If I'm understanding the current MTB Project system correctly, the way to submit a park such as Stony Creek would be to upload each segment between intersections as separate trails. Simplifying this specific map a little, I think that would be around 58 separate trails. Segments which stand on their own (eg: The Pines and The Snake) would be left as is, the longer segments with intersections (eg: Roller Coaster and Back Nine) would be identified as rides, comprised of their component trails. Then the whole routes (such as the aforementioned group ride and race route) could also be identified as rides.

Is my understanding of this correct?

Thank you.

calitradclimber · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2001 · Points: 0

Hi Steve - I can answer this one for you.

Generally, your understanding is correct - we'd like to see separate trails for each segment, so users can piece together their own ride as they choose. Then, you'll have longer suggested rides based on commonly ridden routes through the park.

One caveat - 58 segments sounds like a lot, and I realize that's a lot of work. You should feel free to use your judgement. Looking at your map, I see a section from 18 to 17 to 12 for example that wouldn't necessarily have to be separate segments. Users would still see that there's another trail segment that intersects perpendicular to that trail even if you just had one segment from 18 - 12. Not knowing that park, I won't make that judgement for you, but that's an example that might help you simplify a bit.

Does that help?

Steve Vigneau · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2012 · Points: 100

Thanks for responding, Michael.

If we're putting data into a be-all-end-all trail mapping tool, I'd be very hesitant to leave any segments off of the map. Otherwise, why not just have a marker showing the trailhead and linking to a PDF of a map?

I think that it's going to be a rather complicated to document our trails in this system the way it currently works. For our area the trail referenced above (Stony Creek) is not unique. Almost all of the trails in our area follow a similar design, a couple more complicated than this and a few which will be a bit easier.

If there's a need to enter this many different segments there's a couple things that'd need to be sorted out, like how do the numerous otherwise-unnamed small segments get referenced? I imagine a scheme like StonyCreek_SubTrail_M1-2 / StonyCreek_SubTrail_M2-3 / StonyCreek_SubTrail_M3-4 could be used, but I'd think that would clutter the site.

Maybe helping this along would be the ability to do a bulk import of GPXs? Or maybe automatically splitting each way in a single GPX into a separate trail? I'm certainly less than enthusiastic about clicking around on a web page and filling a form for each segment...

calitradclimber · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2001 · Points: 0

I did some more thinking about this one. I think you can simplify this problem greatly. If, down the road, we decide we want to create a method for users to build a custom ride based on individual segments, we'd be able to programmatically break up trails at each intersection with another trail. There's really no need to enter each tiny segment individually. Obviously, that would be a monumental task, and with such short segments, the descriptions become essentially meaningless.

What I'd suggest is that you submit an entire loop as one trail, then submit branches off that loop as another. For example, using your map as a guide: Perhaps 2 --> 3 --> 4 are one trail, and 2 --> 29 --> 22 --> 22 --> 4 is another trail, etc.

Use your judgment to create trail segments that make sense based on how those particular trails are constructed a ridden. You can join as many smaller segments as possible - given your knowledge of the area, I'm sure you'll be able to make smart decisions about what "feels" like it should be a separate trail. And we can always break trails up into smaller chunks later for purposes of route building when we get to that stage.

One thing you can do is take a look at the Vail area. Nick has uploaded quite a few trails on and around Vail mountain - it's not quite the same problem as yours, but there are similarities. Similarly, Katy has quite a network of trails in the Bend, OR area. Those might help you get started.

· · Unknown Hometown · Joined unknown · Points: 0

Hi guys, thought I'd chime in since this is a great topic to discuss and I think we can avoid some extra future work if we get it right quickly.

As Mike said, we do NOT need to break up trails by intersection, so for example, the "Clinton River Park Trail - Paved Path - F" which has 3 Trail Segments should be changed to just a single one.

There might be other sections in the Clinton River area that could be consolidated - there are many Trail Segments under 0.3 miles long. I find this more confusing than helpful, even if it's technically correct from a mapping point of view.

An important thing to remember: our primary goal is to help people find and enjoy rides, so we should break up things that make it easy to do that. Technically perfect data is a distant second (if not fifth) to that.

That will greatly help declutter things.

Steve Vigneau · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2012 · Points: 100

Nick Wilder Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> As Mike said, we do NOT need to break up trails by
> intersection, so for example, the "Clinton River
> Park Trail - Paved Path - F" which has 3 Trail
> Segments should be changed to just a single one.

What will happen if the MTB route uses only a small portion of this paved path? Will it still be highlighted correctly?

I was under the impression that it'd be best to get the segments in, then join them into a greater ride. It's looking like it doesn't work that way, though...

Maybe I should just delete all of Clinton River Park Trail and try uploading it in a bunch of different ways to come up with a simple workflow for our types of trails and this tool.

Is there a way to have the tool support loops and multiple paths in one trail? If that's possible this would be a LOT easier. One place where it'd be helpful is the Clinton River Park Trail Paved Path. There's a few side loops there that should be included, but it all can reasonably be considered one trail.

> There might be other sections in the Clinton River
> area that could be consolidated - there are many
> Trail Segments under 0.3 miles long. I find this
> more confusing than helpful, even if it's
> technically correct from a mapping point of view.
>
> An important thing to remember: our primary goal
> is to help people find and enjoy rides, so we
> should break up things that make it easy to do
> that. Technically perfect data is a distant
> second (if not fifth) to that.
>
> That will greatly help declutter things.

I see what you're getting at with that.

For smaller trails like this, would it maybe be best just to have a marker indicating where they exist and linking to a PDF map? Then the trail can be found, an accurate map can be provided, and less work can be done? If accurate maps are available, why create new less-accurate ones?

I think this would also allow more trails to be entered quickly, then expanded as needed?

Ryan Brough · · Arvada, Colorado · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 92

On the climbing version of this website, I liked the organization of the climbing routes (roughly equivalent to trail segments). This allowed me to search for routes within my ability level within a large or small target area. Here is an example of the organization:

All Locations > Colorado > Boulder (nearest recognizable city) > Eldorado Canyon SP (name of location, easy to locate on a map) > The Bastille (this is the name of the rock formation where the individual routes are located, and on the website it is the area in which all climbs are posted)

My suggestion would be to organize the mountain biking trail database similarly, if that makes sense. Here is an example of what I mean:

All Locations > Colorado > Golden (nearest recognizable city) > White Ranch Open Space (name of location, easy to locate on a map) > (for sub areas, maybe identify trailheads)

I believe that this will make it much easier to organize trail segments. A trailhead focus would be ideal for out and back rides, or loops. I'm not sure how it would handle rides that require a shuttle car.

Additionally, this approach may present a challenge for rides that go through different areas (i.e. the following ride goes passes through several different open spaces, linking different trails together: mtbproject.com/trail/48905/...).

However, I think that you are already thinking ahead on that front. One advantage this site has over the climbing version is the ability to link trail segments into rides (climbing equivalent of a 'link up'). My hope is that you are able to figure out how to compile a database of trail segments, allow users to create rides from those segments (wouldn't require .gpx data), specify direction for each segment, and then allow the public to rate each ride (or individual segment). Maybe this is better in a new topic.

Jon Sundquist · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 1,367
Michael Ahnemann wrote:
I did some more thinking about this one. I think you can simplify this problem greatly. If, down the road, we decide we want to create a method for users to build a custom ride based on individual segments, we'd be able to programmatically break up trails at each intersection with another trail. There's really no need to enter each tiny segment individually. Obviously, that would be a monumental task, and with such short segments, the descriptions become essentially meaningless.

What I'd suggest is that you submit an entire loop as one trail, then submit branches off that loop as another. For example, using your map as a guide: Perhaps 2 --> 3 --> 4 are one trail, and 2 --> 29 --> 22 --> 22 --> 4 is another trail, etc.

Use your judgment to create trail segments that make sense based on how those particular trails are constructed a ridden. You can join as many smaller segments as possible - given your knowledge of the area, I'm sure you'll be able to make smart decisions about what "feels" like it should be a separate trail. And we can always break trails up into smaller chunks later for purposes of route building when we get to that stage.


I've been trying to read all the posts on this board to get up to speed on the nuances of getting trails into this system now that I've been able to log in. This thread has been most applicable to my concerns I've discussed elsewhere.

Just some more notes about segments (which I am finding discussed more and more.

[list]
[*] In my local (northeast, midatlantic) experience, I find most, though certainly not all, places comprise many segments of trails. Often any given "trail" is no longer than 0.5 - 2 miles max. Rides comprise combinations of different trails (and not always all of a given trail)
[*]There are a lot of times where it would be possible to do a " 2 --> 3 --> 4 makes one trail" thing, and for this site I will. Often the fact that there's a 2, 3, and a 4 is because of history of the park. Often trail 2 gets built first, but then an extension (3) is built, but in the end they get ridden together just about all the time, and the old terminus of "2" gets overgrown
[*]Even where this isn't the case, it sometimes is backed into that. We actually have one trail that is pretty continuous without spurs for ~5 miles. We ended up having a vote at a meeting one day on what to call each segment because it is real useful. We actually segmented *after the fact* a continuous trail. This makes it easy to say "trail 2 needs some drainage work" rather than saying "that part of the trail that is between the rock and tree... oh wait a minute let me just point to it on a map". But that isn't relevant for making this mapping site.
[/list]

I guess I will learn by experience this weekend whether I need to break up a single trail into further segments to make the featured ride. It is sounding like it is, even though it says above that it is not needed to put each segment between intersections as separate trails.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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