Online Maps

Presenters: Leslie Kehmeier, IMBA Mapping Specialist; Mike Ahnemann, Co-creator of MTB Project; Virginia Cleaveland, Western Washington University

Overview: Trails built by IMBA and its local clubs provide enormous benefits to the public—they are typically open to everyone and free to ride. Too often, however, these valuable contributions do not get the exposure they deserve. We rely on guidebook authors and anonymous online sources to spread the word about our accomplishments, and we are disappointed when they fail to recognize our efforts. One solution is to create high-quality maps—in both print and online forms—to spread the word about  on-the-ground achievements. Armed with mapmaking software and data collected by Global Positioning System GPS devices, it is possible to create beautiful maps that are comparable in quality to the work of professional cartographers.

More info:

Leslie Kehmeier - IMBA Mapping Specialist

Leslie provided a brief synopsis of IMBA’s Mapping Program, specifically MTB Project. She spoke about the importance of the IMBA/MTB Project partnership as well as the overreaching importance of using the site as IMBA’s tool for preserving, protecting and enhancing mountain bike access.

Mike Ahnemann - MTB Project

After Leslie’s introduction, Mike presented some important details of the MTB Project site. (overview of web and mobile app, best of features, virtual ride)

- Growth curve for the site is steep compared to Mountain Project, a climbing database that Mike's team also oversees. MTB Project is well over 100,000 users less than two years since the site launched. For Mountain Project this happened in year 4.

MTB Project Highlights

  • 30,000+ miles of trail mapped
  • 8,200 photos
  • 300,000 trail pages views
  • 1,500 mobile app users (250 downloads per day)

The MTB Project/IMBA Partnership is unique and utilizes that strengths of each organization. The creators of MTB Project have proven experience with leading edge technology and the ability to create and scale a large platforms. They also have extensive experience in growing and managing large on-line communities that provide crowd-sourced content. IMBA brings equally important things to the table. The organization has well established chapters that have reach and provide credibility among the mountain bike community. IMBA also has strong relationships with the bike industry. Finally, with the support of Shimano and People for Bikes, IMBA provides one dedicated staff person for MTB Project and other mapping efforts.

MTB Project Tips and Tools

  • How to Get Involved? - Get out and ride!
  • Community
    • Get your local chapter/club involved. These groups are prominently featured throughout the site on ride, trail and area pages.
    • Use the widget - MTB Project maps can be plugged into any website:
    • Chapter/Club page - each chapter and club listed on the site has its own page. It’s a great place for an overview. It also links directly to the chapter/club website.
  • Get Local
    • Local business can get involved in similar ways to chapters/clubs. Think links on area pages, use of the widget on their sites and advertising blocks seen throughout the site (Sun Valley example)

Virginia Cleaveland, Western Washington University

Virginia Cleaveland from Western Washington University wrapped up the session by presenting Mount Galbraith On-line Mapping, a local mapping example.

The project was inspired by:

  • The need for an official source of info for Galbraith Mountain
  • Finding a way for the community to have discussion about conservation and nature-based toursim
  • Providing up-to-date info regarding trail conditions and closures (the area is actively logged)

The data for the site was sourced from the local map guru from WMBC. This was the main concern in building an on-line resource since the club used the data to print a map (largest fundraising source for the club). All parties agreed that the data had to be very secure when publsihed on-line.

The on-line map includes a wealth of information including trails, suggested rides and photos as well as emergency access points and current conditions.

The Galbraith Mt website was built collaboratively with local programmers. The site is popular locally - not a ton of hits overall, but many returning users.