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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am willing to share my GPS mountain biking trails data for free with others willing to share their data. We can build an integrated national GPS data resource for public use. I am thinking along the lines of how the LINUX computer operating system was developed.

I have currently have a significant database from rides in western NC, and limited data for a few rides in Tennessee, West Virginia, New Hampshire, Vermont and Colorado. My current focus is on developing a comprehensive GPS based mapping and bike trails information database for western North Carolina. As much as I would like to, I will not attempt to ride even all the major trails in my area. This projet will require a collective effort which can be coordinated.

I live in western North Carolina and sometimes ride ride with a Garmin 60csx collecting location and elevation data every 1 or every 5 seconds. I have successfully imported and exported GPS data among various mapping systems including National Geographic's TOPO, Garmin's Mapsouurce, higher end GIS systems - MapInfo, and ESRI's ArcGIS, ArcInfo and ArcView.

I believe Mountain Bike Riders can form a data sharing network that will allow local users to experiment with and develop the best locally based uses for the information, such as, trail maintainence, rider down rescue, ground truth verified maps and others.


The various pay for access commercial web sites may provide a valuable service to some customers. But why are we working to collect GPS data which we pay for the privillege of giving them the data they turn around and sell back to us?

My biggest problem is the same as with many Web based commerce sites, they require a credit card number to gain access to any and all information.

I have paid my dues using Visa to find answers:

1. Do these sites actually have unique GPS information that is useful to me. (Some)

2. Do they provide a significant inventory and coverage of trails for the regions where I ride? (Not really and what they have is not integrated to make it more useful, very little added value)

3. Are the software tools user friendly and do they perform a function that is useful to me? (Some of the training/conditioning, performance monitoring and ride journals can be useful and fun.)

Public Access GPS data for mountain biking trails can coexist with comercial websites.Commercial web sites will have to work harder to add value to our information and develop innovative information tools and services.

Let's ride and share the data!:thumbsup:
 

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this site seems pretty generous with the data for free guests...

http://trail.motionbased.com/

might be worth a look while you are shaping your idea/model.

p.s...Jack22, we could really use your help, we are planning a trip to Pisgah in November and searching for GPS trail data. I am not the "gps guy" in the group but I am sure we will be shooting you a note to see if he can sample some of your data.
 

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Hi Jack22,

I'm the GPS guy Bill Payer speaks of. I just purchased my Rino 120 in the spring of this year. I've learned quite a bit so far. I've just recently started working with MotionBased and it appears good. I fully agree with your opinions and would love to contribute to a "community organization". I don't know how valued you think I'd be considering the majority of my tracks would be of Canadian trail, with the exception of vacations like the one we have planned for Pisgah this November. Let me know what you think.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Happy to share

Bill Payer and Scar,

I'd be happy to share data, maps, local knowledge and our great trails with you. Perhaps a ride with friends from the up north, ehh?

We need to find a way to communicate and share information outside the general public forum. I think we can do some of this through this site. Have you enabled private messaging?

I will not be disclosing closely guarded local info that might lead to trail crowding. Why? We have more than enough trails and acerage for us all to enjoy and still have a few single track stashes.
 

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How about something similar to Wikipedia where anyone can contribute or edit content.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yes, Let's Share and coordinate our efforts

I am especially interested in working with SORBA and other Mtn Biking/Cycling organizations like SORBA who contribute so much to promoting Mtn Biking in the best sense while maintaining and working to preserve the special environment we enjoy riding in.

I have good GPS data collected in the field (aka while riding my butt off grinning ear to ear peddling up hills and cruising down em with a Garmin 60Csx attached somewhere). I am a GIS professional with more than 15 years experience. I am also developing one of the critical missing pieces in this picture puzzle.

Two primary data types are collected:
1. Track points, that like a trail of bread crumbs, show where we have ridden.
2. Waypoints that mark noteworthy point locations

Examples include, trail heads and trail intersections, especially tricky trail intersections. These waypoints have many potential applications including marking spots for trail maintenance, rider down info on best places for evac pick up and nearest points to a route out and clear cell phone communication spots, as well as tricky sections of trails and places to get water before or during a ride and environmentally sensitive areas. Points linked to opportunities and information for riders to learn about the natural environment they are riding in and areas of importance to events like public hearings where advocacy of our interest is an issue.

3. Track points can be assembled to make routes.

At this point an important missing piece of the puzzle is quality digital base maps at a scale and level of detail needed and that is more useful to riders out on the trail. I am working on digital maps that will contribute.

This project and our efforts need coordination. The process of collecting and cataloging GPS data for public use will be far more efficient and the results more useful if we can provide documentation and simple instruction for how to make collecting data while riding and sharing that information easy and accurate.

I am in the process of learning about what works best, what is relatively easy to collect and useful, and most important, how riders can and do use this information along with what is needed and wanted.

In this forum, I am starting a dialog about GPS and mountain biking. I welcome opportunities to share and exchange thoughts and ideas among our mountain biking community. I would like to meet in person with riders interested in organizing and participating in this process, perhaps at a club meeting. Meeting out on out on the trail is an especially good place too.

"Those who are afraid to go too far will never know how far they can go."
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
A good start, what about the base maps?

Nice site.

A good start.

How are you planning to provide useful base maps in forested areas not covered by digital base maps not provided by sources really designed for sites like mapquest?

Please note that the vast majority of all enterprises in the US, such as Mapquest and Google Maps, use street map data from a very good company called GDT (Geographic Data Technologies based in Lebanon, New Hampshire) or other similar companies such as, ETAK. The digital maps on which we see most bike rout data overlaid, including Google Earth, which integrates Satellite imagery and aerial photos, are not designed for Mtn Biking maps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
To all of you,Thanks for the sites

Thanks for leading me to several good sites.

Many well thought out example of efforts to make good use of GPS dat for Mtn Bikers are out there.

I understand that these efforts require resources including financing to support development.
 

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Both Bikerag.com and Crankfire.com have all of Ct pretty well mapped out, as well as much of the surrounding areas. I know they are always looking for additional info, might give them a try.
 

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Good Idea

Several sites try to do what you say, but end up being incomplete and getting greedy with fees for the meeger data.

I can find GPX files on Motion Based by a search for area names. But you only get one rider's tracks on a particular route. You can't get a complete trail network and waypoints at intersections for a park.

Something is very much needed, but noone's getting it yet.
 

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In progress

I was really excited to hear that you guys thought this was a good idea. Earlier this year, me and one of my friends came up with the idea for trails. We've buit a website for it, but so far, have only uploaded two trails. If you want to use the already built site to host the rest of your database, we would love it. Go to mtbgps.net to see the site. If you like it, email me. You'll find the contact info on the EMAIL page.

remember,

MTBGPS.net
 

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BigLarry said:
But you only get one rider's tracks on a particular route. You can't get a complete trail network and waypoints at intersections for a park.

Something is very much needed, but noone's getting it yet.
I couldn't agree more, and we are actually in the progress of doing this. While it does take a while, by mapping each trail individually and then creating a database for all the waypoints in a specific park, you can overlay them on a map to get incredible detail. We are in the process of doing this at MTBGPS.NET . While we only have two trails up (because the site is extremely new), the ability to expand is already there. It's very easy to add more trails and more data. AND ITS FREE! So if you like it and want to submit some information, visit the site and contact us!

Michael
 

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More trail sites - How about just improving MTBR Trail Reviews?

Here's some other attempts:

http://www.trailregistry.com/trailregistry/index.jsp (early stages, very limited capabilty and few maps)

http://www.trails.com (Worst site on gouging users with fees, as bad as the rest on capability)

http://www.geoladders.com/overview.php (more SoCal region, well designed and also used for competve game)

Some are more hiking than biking oriented. Many suffer from issues cited by Jack22 and many others - meager data of limited areas of the country, no waypoints, poor search engines, poor trail descriptions and photo integration, lack of selection and sorting tools, lack of editing tools,...

I'm not even sure how to suggest they be improved. What I want is what I have on Garmin MapSource now: A list of 1000s of waypoints from all my rides so I can link them to make new routes. I want waypoints of trail heads especially, so I can find them in my car, and waypoints of trail intersections so I don't miss them. The only reason I'd want tracks is so I can figure out the distance and climb of a new route so I don't get in over my head. Trail descriptions and pictures and links to official park sites with PDF map pages would be great too.

I'd say the biggest problem each of the sites suffer from is the lack of GPS and trail data, then the lack of tools to use it anyway. I'm thinking now that of the most complete MTB trail reviews I've seen is on MTBR. Maybe we can just allow people to upload pictures, links, and GPX files to MTBR trail reviews in an organized fashion, and be done with it?
 

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BigLarry said:
I'm thinking now that of the most complete MTB trail reviews I've seen is on MTBR. Maybe we can just allow people to upload pictures, links, and GPX files to MTBR trail reviews in an organized fashion, and be done with it?
Great thought!! :idea:

Since so many of us are already here, what about getting FC and crew to work on the MTBR trails section to incorporate your suggestions? This is already THE Mountain Bike site on the Internet; lets add trails and GPS data and make it the ultimate trails / GPS site as well?!? :yesnod:
 

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Google maps provides great base sat/vector maps to starts with, and mechanism to add overlays with paths and waypoints too. Add good management engine (search, filtering, etc), attract community, find how to fund project without membership fee - and ultimate gps/mtb site is here.
BTW, http://www.bikely.com looks quite good. The features missing are trails overlay and waypoints tags/types/filtering.
 
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