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BC Mountain Biking Trail Website, Trailforks.com

3/29/2012 12:24 AM

I recently pulled the wraps off a project I've been working on called Trailforks.com. Trailforks is a user-powered mountain bike trail database currently focused on BC.



Trailforks relies on the fact that there are thousands of people out there enjoying the sport every day, many of whom have a desire to share their experiences & have GPS devices. So why not share them in a central location under a structure that makes every little individual contribution accumulate and add to the usefulness of an overall resource for the benefit of the entire mountain biking community.

The core functionality of Trailforks is a database for mountain biking trails. Currently trailpeak.com has the most mountain bike data but it's so old and out-dated. There are some newer better looking sites like trails.com or alltrails.com but there could be great improvement and more focus on biking & local content, which none of these sites have. There are several great small local websites with trail maps and such, but no comprehensive source, and many are static & out-dated. Trailforks is a community site and users can help populate and keep the database updated, the data & features for each trail are also tailed specifically for mountain biking.

Trailforks is also designed to be a platform that local riding associations can use to help manager their trails and promote their events. Trail reports are a great tool for associations to keep a record of work done to trails and be notified when there're issues with a trail.

There is a high focus on getting GPS data for every trail & maps are a big part of the site. Each trail page has a map and GPS data and each riding area has a Google Earth 3D map with all the trails plotted on it dynamically. Just upload a GPS track of a single trail and all the rest is handled automatically. (Example: Mount Fromme Bike Trails)

The site has loads of other features like photos, videos, skill parks, local news, local business directory, local products, local events, bike profiles, riding routes, challenges & much more. But one feature I really want to feature is "Trail Reports". A Trail Report is a quick entry posted by users indicating the status of a trail and describing any problems or things needing attention on a trail. A trail report can also be a log of work done on a trail and "trail days". I hope that local riding associations and trail maintainers might start using this tool. Most pages on the site offer RSS feeds and I have embedabble widgets for associations so they can display trail status and reports on their own sites. There is also a REST API to gain access to all of the data generated.
North Shore Trail Status Overview Page

People can also create "Ride Routes" which are a circuit of trails that work well together. From Ride Routes others can create "Challenges" for people to try and get the best time on a route. Users can upload their GPS track to the site to be scored and ranked on a challenge. "Challenges" might be something we do as a monthly thing with prizes, but users can also just create challenges for fun. There is also a section for people to post local group rides, to find others to ride with or promote their riding club.

To help encourage people to help build the database users earn points for all the content they contribute. The site also has achievements that users can unlock by helping contribute content or just by using the site. For example one of the achievements is "Ridden 100 Trails" earned by marking 100 trails as "ridden". More achievements will come and I'm open to suggestions!

The site is has the policy of not posting unsanctioned trails to the public unless the local association or group is ok with it. The site has started with the North Shore & lower mainland but I'm hoping it will expand to all of BC. I plan on contacting each local association before adding content in their area. If you want to help initiate this process in an area not currently on the site, please contact me. But anyone can create an account now and start contributing data.

I have created this site by myself and it was a fair amount of work, I've been working on it since Sept, 2011 and it launched late Fed, 2012. I release it to the wild and hope people will like it and help me build the content. I'm very open to other developers who might want to help continue developing the site and adding new features. I will also need help with moderating the site. But mostly at this moment I am looking for feedback! Things people like, things that could be better or added and so on, I have thick skin.

I guarantee this site will not be a flash-in-the-pan and go unmaintained, like other attempts I've seen. I have been running community websites for well over a decade and own all my own servers that power the site.


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