New MMBA Trail Guide!

Official news and announcements about MMBA happenings

New MMBA Trail Guide!

Postby c0nsumer » March 5th, 2013, 10:36 pm

Image


The MMBA is proud to announce our new Trail Guide. This radically improved map-based guide is designed to help mountain bikers find ridable trails in Michigan.

Our new Trail Guide can be found here, or at the link in the side bar of the main page:
http://mmba.org/trail-guide

Developed as a winter-time volunteer project by professional web developer Jeff Lau (UselessPickles here on the MMBA Forum) this guide is designed to let users explore what our state has to offer, easily finding information about each trail. One can quickly identify trails in an area, drill down to detailed info on each trail, and get directions to help navigate to new places. Some of the trails even feature an overlay of their trail map. (Click here to see a trail with an overlay.)

The new Trail Guide has been filled with information gathered from the old MMBA Trail Guide, MMBA member organizations, Trail Coordinators, and public websites. We've done our best to ensure the data is as accurate as possible, but there may details or complete trails that we may have missed.
Steve Vigneau
Big Ring Coffee MTB Racing
CRAMBA-IMBA Chairperson
River Bends Park Co-Trail Coordinator
MMBA Website / Forum Administrator

Unless otherwise stated the content of my posts are my opinion and should not be taken as the official stance of, nor representative of, the MMBA nor CRAMBA-IMBA.
User avatar
c0nsumer
Administrator
 
Posts: 8590
Joined: May 18th, 2008, 11:35 am
Location: Shelby Township, MI

MMBA Trail Guide Overview

Postby c0nsumer » March 5th, 2013, 10:37 pm

MMBA Trail Guide Overview

Please take time to explore the new MMBA Trail Guide. As you zoom in you'll see that the list of trails on the left narrows to display only those currently visible on the map, unless you check the Include off-screen trails in the list box.

Click on a blue Bicycle icon to display some basic information about a trail and to highlight it in the left column.

Clicking on View Details... for a trail will take you to the trail specific information which typically includes links to:

- Trail Maps
- MMBA Forum Trail Conditions thread for the trail.
- The IMBA chapter whose volunteers maintain the trail.
- Other related websites, such as Land Manager organizations.

The icons located next to a trail's description note the difficulty levels found at this trail, ranging from Easiest (paved paths) to Extremely Difficult. These difficulty ratings are defined by Trail Coordinators or Land Managers using the IMBA Trail Difficulty Ratings (http://www.imba.com/resources/maps/trai ... ty-ratings).

Some trail details include trail maps overlaid on top of the map. The opacity (visibility) of the overlay can be controlled from the Overlays tab of the trails' details and the overlaid map can be downloaded using the View printable version... link. This is useful for seeing how a trail's print map relates to the Google Maps view. Please look at the River Bends entry for an example of a map overlay.

Points of Interest detail special places near the trail, such as parking, toilets, the best motor vehicle access location, special information, trailheads, and other places where one can access the trail. Not every trail has every kind of Point of Interest (POI), but all trails have at least one. Clicking on a POI then Get directions... will take you to Google Maps and allow you to get directions to that place. This is useful for figuring out how to ride to a pedestrian entrance by using the Bicycling directions or how to drive to a trail by using the By Car directions.

The All Trails link in the upper left hand corner will return you to the full list of trails, and clicking a trail's name when in its detail view will reset the map view to show the trail.

The Link icon gives you a hyperlink directly your current view, including trail details (if selected) and your current map view settings. Use this when sending a friend a link to a trail.

The Google Bicycling Layer check box turns display's Google Maps' specially designated bicycle routes, and the Map and Satellite menus allow you to switch views and add Terrain detail.

The [X] button in the trail details pane will close this pane and return you to the trail list without zooming out.

Finally, please look over the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) below. We hope this will answer any questions you may have and we'll try to keep this updated as new questions arise. As always, if you have a question or comment about the MMBA Website or the Trail Guide itself, please contact us at webmaster@mmba.org.
Steve Vigneau
Big Ring Coffee MTB Racing
CRAMBA-IMBA Chairperson
River Bends Park Co-Trail Coordinator
MMBA Website / Forum Administrator

Unless otherwise stated the content of my posts are my opinion and should not be taken as the official stance of, nor representative of, the MMBA nor CRAMBA-IMBA.
User avatar
c0nsumer
Administrator
 
Posts: 8590
Joined: May 18th, 2008, 11:35 am
Location: Shelby Township, MI

MMBA Trail Guide Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Postby c0nsumer » March 5th, 2013, 10:38 pm

MMBA Trail Guide Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Where do I find the MMBA Trail Guide?

The MMBA Trail Guide can be found at http://mmba.org/trail-guide, by clicking this link, or by visiting the MMBA Website and clicking Trail Guide in the left column.


I'd like the new Trail Guide to work differently by adding a new feature. How can I get this added?

Please reply to this thread or email webmaster@mmba.org with information about what you would like to see and why. We will be monitoring this thread and the email inbox for feature requests and using this information in deciding what features to add next.


What are some of the features that you intend to add next?

We'd first like to add filtering to show only trails greater than a certain length, and trails of certain difficulty levels. We are looking to you, our members who use this trail guide, to tell us what features you'd like to see next.


How can I support continued development of the MMBA and the Trail Guide?

The MMBA is an organization comprised of mountain biking-focused organizations throughout Michigan. By becoming a member of your local IMBA chapter you support the MMBA and its mission of advocating on the behalf of mountain bikers and promoting mountain biking throughout the whole of Michigan. Tools such as the MMBA Trail Guide and MMBA Forum are key tools in this mission.

By providing corrections and updates to the trail entries you can help keep the data fresh, relevant and usable. We rely on the you, the trail guide's users to help us ensure that the data is accurate and up to date.

That said, Jeff / UselessPickles wouldn't mind if you bought the bike he has for sale. ;)


How is this different from the other Google Maps showing the locations of trails in Michigan?

This new trail guide is more than just a map listing trail locations. It was specially developed by mountain bikers for mountain bikers and contains information about each trail, links to maps and other information, and overlaid trail map images. Most of the features it contains are simply not possible with a basic Google Map. It is also hosted and updated by the MMBA.


Why is there no ZIP code distance search like in the old trail guide?

The new map-based trail guide does a better job of helping find trails in an area than the old ZIP code search. By zooming into an area one can easily see what trails are near by and where they are actually located. The previous ZIP code search would only let you see if trails were within a certain distance of a given place, but you couldn't tell if they were all within one area or spread out equally in all different directions.


Why doesn't the Trail Guide show all of the trails themselves? Some seem to be there.

The MMBA Trail Guide is designed to help mountain bikers quickly find trails in Michigan, navigate to those trails, and get to other information about the trails. Detailed maps of each trail are complicated to maintain and are beyond the intended scope of the Trail Guide. While we do provide map overlays for some trails to be used for reference, we feel this detail is best left to the printable maps themselves or other websites, so we provide links to those maps.

When using the Trail Guide you may see that Google Maps contains some trail information. We have found that this information is often incomplete or simply inaccurate and not representative of all the mountain bike-accessible trails in Michigan. Therefore, we recommend using trail-specific information (websites, maps, signs, etc) to obtain information about the trail itself.


My favorite trail doesn't have complete information. Why is that?

The new MMBA Trail Guide was populated with information gathered from the old Trail Guide, IMBA chapter websites, and other publicly accessible sources. Despite our best efforts some information may have been missed. If you've identified some missing information please send it to webmaster@mmba.org, and be sure to specify which trail, which information is missing, and what the correct information is.


Why isn't the trail route or features along the trail shown?

This guide isn't intended to replace trail maps and their notations of things along the trail. It's intention is to help people find trails, get them there, and then provide links to other resources. Thus, places like scenic overlooks, mile markers, and trail features aren't being added to the trail guide.


Why do some trails have no Trail Coordinator or IMBA chapter listed?

Not all mountain bike-accessible trails have IMBA Chapters who maintain them. Since this trail guide intends to be a thorough listing of mountain bike-accessible trails in (and near) Michigan, including those which aren't associated with IMBA chapters, we do not require that a Trail Coordinator nor IMBA Chapter be listed.


My favorite trail's map isn't shown as an overlay. Why not?

There are two reasons why a trail map may not be available as an overlay. First, adding overlay maps takes a great deal of time as we have to spend time aligning the trail map to the Google Map then ensuring that it displays nicely. Second, many maps are great for helping find your way around a trail, but they are not to scale and do not present a good representation of the actual physical layout of the trail. Overlaying maps that do not match the physical layout of the trail are confusing when placed on an accurate map as features won't align. More trail overlay maps will be added as volunteer time and the detail of the maps permits.

If you are interested in working on trail maps yourself there are a number of resources available to get you started. While the learning curve is a bit steep, everything needed is available online. IMBA has a number of resources avialable here under their Maps and Signs section, MTBR Trail Building and Advocacy forum contains a great deal of information about trail mapping. I (Steve Vigneau / c0nsumer) have done a bit of mapping for CRAMBA, and the workflow that I follow for drawing trail maps using OpenStreetMap data is roughly outlined here. If you have questions about making maps please feel free to email me directly at c0nsumer@nuxx.net.


What information do I need to send you in order to add a new trail?

If you'd like to have a new trail added to the MMBA Trail Guide please email webmaster@mmba.org and we'll work with you to get the requisite information identified.


How do I get a new Point of Interest added to a trail?

To put a Point of Interest (POI) in the trail guide we need a few pieces of information: the type of POI (Automobile Access Point, MTB Trail Access Point, Parking, General Information, or Toilets) and its location as specified via latitude and longitude. Optionally we can change the title of the POI and add a description.

To suggest a POI for addition please send the type of POI and latitude / longidute, along with an alternate title and description, if applicable, to webmaster@mmba.org. To find the latitude and longitude of a place, find it using Google Maps, right click it, and pick What's Here. The latitude and longitude will be put in the search box and you can copy and paste it into the email message.


I found something broken with the new Trail Guide. What should I do?

Please email webmaster@mmba.org with a report of the problem. If possible, please include the version of your web browser (eg: Internet Explorer 9, Firefox 19.0, Chrome 25.0.1364.152), Operating System (eg: Windows 7 SP1, OS X 10.8.2), and steps for reproducing the problem.

It is very helpful if you can tell us exactly what you did, what you expected to happen, and what actually happened. We will then use this information to attempt to reproduce the problem and then work to fix it.
Steve Vigneau
Big Ring Coffee MTB Racing
CRAMBA-IMBA Chairperson
River Bends Park Co-Trail Coordinator
MMBA Website / Forum Administrator

Unless otherwise stated the content of my posts are my opinion and should not be taken as the official stance of, nor representative of, the MMBA nor CRAMBA-IMBA.
User avatar
c0nsumer
Administrator
 
Posts: 8590
Joined: May 18th, 2008, 11:35 am
Location: Shelby Township, MI

Re: New MMBA Trail Guide!

Postby Static_Crash » March 5th, 2013, 11:19 pm

Me likey! Nice work everyone.
User avatar
Static_Crash
 
Posts: 165
Joined: October 8th, 2010, 11:35 pm
Location: Kalamazoo

Re: New MMBA Trail Guide!

Postby barrybs » March 6th, 2013, 1:14 am

Great job ! This is really sweet...thanks alot. I can only imagine how much time this took.
barrybs
 
Posts: 564
Joined: March 20th, 2005, 1:04 pm
Location: The Back of Beyond

Re: New MMBA Trail Guide!

Postby mr_opjones » March 6th, 2013, 7:04 am

Great work
User avatar
mr_opjones
 
Posts: 4602
Joined: November 22nd, 2004, 2:43 pm
Location: Rochester Hills

Re: New MMBA Trail Guide!

Postby i69whitey » March 6th, 2013, 7:06 am

State of the art, thanks for the many hours this must have taken. The MMBA continues to impress, glad to be a part of y'all.
User avatar
i69whitey
 
Posts: 3251
Joined: October 19th, 2007, 12:25 pm
Location: vil'laggio la 'rosa

Re: New MMBA Trail Guide!

Postby Rock N' Rolla » March 6th, 2013, 7:47 am

THIS IS A W E S O M E ! ! ! ! Thanks Jeff and Steve. I had been using the old one from google maps by Andrew, May 2011( sorry forgot yer screen name).But has been louta date and loosing maps since the IMBA switch over.This is soo nice! Espeacially on the road, with my smartphone.Maybe add in Michigan Brewery's that support MMBA on this map aswell... for those after trail victory beers!Like Rochester Mills, Shorts, Bells etc.Again.. Thanks and very nice job!
Last edited by Rock N' Rolla on March 6th, 2013, 11:23 am, edited 4 times in total.
User avatar
Rock N' Rolla
 
Posts: 253
Joined: March 30th, 2010, 6:38 am
Location: North Oakland County

Re: New MMBA Trail Guide!

Postby Ricky Billy » March 6th, 2013, 9:09 am

Ditto to all replies! The new map is very convenient! Big thanks to all who helped!
User avatar
Ricky Billy
 
Posts: 108
Joined: May 2nd, 2011, 1:10 pm
Location: Royal Oak

Re: New MMBA Trail Guide!

Postby UselessPickles » March 6th, 2013, 9:42 am

barrybs wrote:I can only imagine how much time this took.


About 120 hours of my time for developing the code ;)

I don't know how much time Steve spent entering all the data and making all the icons for the map, but I'm very thankful that he did enter all the data. The Trail Guide is useless without accurate and complete data, so please don't just silently complain to yourself if you see something wrong/missing. CONTRIBUTE! Even if you only know that something's wrong, but you don't know the correct info, you can always scroll down in the trail's details pane, click on the trail coordinator's name and send an e-mail requesting them to send updated info to the MMBA webmaster :)

And this is just a "quick initial release". There's still plenty of work ahead for me to clean up the code and get everything organized well so I can start focusing on adding new features. It will take a while initially, but new features will eventually start rolling out periodically.

Rock N' Rolla wrote:THIS I S A W E S O M E ! ! ! !


That's about how I felt the first time I saw it with all the trail data that Steve (c0nsumer) added. Don't forget too thank Steve for the many hours he spent entering all of this data!

Rock N' Rolla wrote:This is soo nice! Espeacially on the road, with my smart pnone.


The Trail Guide technically works on smart phones, but be prepared to be frustrated by trying to tap on very tiny things on the screen. I would like to make a version of the Trail Guide that is optimized for use on phones, but I'll probably work on some other enhancements that I can get done more quickly first. It all depends on the feedback we get and what missing features seem to have the most demand (balanced with the effort required to create those features, of course).

Rock N' Rolla wrote:Maybe add in Michigan Brewery's that support MMBA on this map as well for those after trail victory beers!Like Rochester Mills, Shorts, Bells etc.Again.


Mental note added to consider the possibility of including relevant non-trail locations (breweries, bike shops, etc.). The trails themselves are the primary focus right now, so this would be pretty far down the road if it happened. The trick would be doing it in a way that doesn't distract from the trails themselves, yet is not easy to miss, and avoiding drama about "this place shouldn't be on the trail Guide because I have a personal grudge against them", or "why is X on the Trail Guide, but not Y? that's not fair!" leading to an over-bloated collection of everything on the map that makes it difficult to find what you want. This idea will have to simmer on the back burner for a very long time if there's any hope of getting it right.
UselessPickles
 
Posts: 90
Joined: September 5th, 2011, 5:40 pm

Re: New MMBA Trail Guide!

Postby Rock N' Rolla » March 6th, 2013, 11:38 am

UselessPickles wrote:
barrybs wrote:I can only imagine how much time this took.


Rock N' Rolla wrote:THIS IS A W E S O M E ! ! ! !


That's about how I felt the first time I saw it with all the trail data that Steve (c0nsumer) added. Don't forget too thank Steve for the many hours he spent entering all of this data!

Rock N' Rolla wrote:This is soo nice! Espeacially on the road, with my smart pnone.


The Trail Guide technically works on smart phones, but be prepared to be frustrated by trying to tap on very tiny things on the screen. I would like to make a version of the Trail Guide that is optimized for use on phones, but I'll probably work on some other enhancements that I can get done more quickly first. It all depends on the feedback we get and what missing features seem to have the most demand (balanced with the effort required to create those features, of course).

Rock N' Rolla wrote:Maybe add in Michigan Brewery's that support MMBA on this map as well for those after trail victory beers!Like Rochester Mills, Shorts, Bells etc.Again.


Mental note added to consider the possibility of including relevant non-trail locations (breweries, bike shops, etc.). The trails themselves are the primary focus right now, so this would be pretty far down the road if it happened. The trick would be doing it in a way that doesn't distract from the trails themselves, yet is not easy to miss, and avoiding drama about "this place shouldn't be on the trail Guide because I have a personal grudge against them", or "why is X on the Trail Guide, but not Y? that's not fair!" leading to an over-bloated collection of everything on the map that makes it difficult to find what you want. This idea will have to simmer on the back burner for a very long time if there's any hope of getting it right.


Ah.. good point! I didnt consider the drama that goes along with adding in all that extra cheese . My computer data skills are ... well So far... um...yeah. My my Galaxy2 seems to be able to navigate the page ok so I consider it "Phone friendly". Again, I dont know what goes into doing something like this,to me you guys are magnificant wizards.But if you fellas are able to find a time and put up "expanded" version as an app. we could buy and the purchase goes to cramba or what ever chapter you happen to be apart of?either way, thankful and greatful for this! :)
User avatar
Rock N' Rolla
 
Posts: 253
Joined: March 30th, 2010, 6:38 am
Location: North Oakland County

Re: New MMBA Trail Guide!

Postby Mboz » March 6th, 2013, 11:49 am

Great job guys! This is truly excellent work. This is of GREAT assistance to someone like me who is still trying to figure out places to go beyond the local trails. Thanks for all the effort!
Mboz
 
Posts: 48
Joined: April 20th, 2012, 1:47 pm

Re: New MMBA Trail Guide!

Postby UselessPickles » March 6th, 2013, 3:02 pm

Here's some tips for the power-users out there:

Zoom Faster!
Use your mouse scroll wheel to zoom the map in/out around the current position of your mouse cursor!

Search for Trails
There's no built in search feature yet, but this will help you get by for now...
  • Use your browser's built-in search capabilities (Ctrl+F on PC, Cmd+F on Mac) to search for trails in the trail list.
  • You can search for any text that appears in the list, such as trail name, city and zip code.
  • To search amongst all trails in Michigan, make sure all trails are being listed at the time that you search by either clicking the "All Trails" button or checking the "Include off-screen trails in the list" checkbox before you search.
  • To search amongst only trails in a certain area, zoom the map into that area and uncheck the "Include off-screen trails in the list" checkbox before searching.

Use the Trail Guide to easily refer to specific trails or POIs in conversations.
  • When you click the "link" icon, a URL is generated that will nearly exactly reproduce what you currently see on the map. This includes the position/zoom of the map, whether you are viewing the trail list or a trail's details, which trail or POI is currently selected, opacity settings of overlays, etc.
  • Are you trying to organize a group to meet at a particular trailhead or parking location in a trail system that has multiple options? Select the exact POI where you want to meet, create a link and share it with the rest of the group.
  • Is the location, title or description of a trail's POI wrong? Instead of trying to verbally describe which one has a problem, create a link to it and include it in your email to webmaster@mmba.org, along with the corrected info. This will ensure quick and accurate fixes to the data without requiring a reply email to ask for further clarification of which trailhead you are talking about, for example.
  • Are some non-POI details about a trail wrong? Create a link to the trail in question and include it in your email to provide corrections.
  • The exact position and zoom level of the map is nice to retain in the URL for most situations where you want others to see exactly what you're looking at, but if you just want to link to a trail or POI in general, you can remove the "&center=<coordinates>&zoom=<zoom level>" portion of the URL. The trail guide will automatically set the map position and zoom level to an appropriate default that will take into consideration the current set of POIs and overlays of a trail, for example. In its most basic form, all you need is the "?trail=<trail ID>" portion of the URL parameters to create a link to the details of a trail. Just be sure to test the URL you create to ensure it leads to what you expect before sharing it with others.
UselessPickles
 
Posts: 90
Joined: September 5th, 2011, 5:40 pm

Re: New MMBA Trail Guide!

Postby c0nsumer » March 6th, 2013, 7:01 pm

Thanks for the nice comments and great everyone. I'm really glad to see this is being well received. This is going to work out really well.
Steve Vigneau
Big Ring Coffee MTB Racing
CRAMBA-IMBA Chairperson
River Bends Park Co-Trail Coordinator
MMBA Website / Forum Administrator

Unless otherwise stated the content of my posts are my opinion and should not be taken as the official stance of, nor representative of, the MMBA nor CRAMBA-IMBA.
User avatar
c0nsumer
Administrator
 
Posts: 8590
Joined: May 18th, 2008, 11:35 am
Location: Shelby Township, MI

Re: New MMBA Trail Guide!

Postby dennismurphy » March 6th, 2013, 9:23 pm

Fantastic job- I can't tell you how many times I've had to drive to another part of the state for some function or for work and wanted to go ride after the activity- but not knowing the area well, didn't know the trails in that region- this is such a huge help to that kind search- just look at the map to the area you're going to be - and the trails are there!!
User avatar
dennismurphy
 
Posts: 6096
Joined: June 20th, 2002, 9:29 pm
Location: Grandville, MI

Next

Return to MMBA News

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests