How You Can Contribute Your Favorite Rides or Trails to MTB Project


Yes, you can contribute to MTB Project by mapping your favorite trails using your gps-enabled smartphone.  Your input will serve as a guide for other riders that may be unfamiliar with the trail providing them the information to make it a great ride experience.  While it is still relatively new and developing, new trails and rides are being added everyday by individuals and IMBA grassroots organizations.  If this sound like something you would like to do, pick trails or rides that you are familiar with to provide the best content for MTB Project.  The information contained in this post will give you all you need to know about contributing to help make MTB Project the most extensive mountain bike trail catalog in the country.

Mapping Rides for MTB Project

The following instructions for contributing your content to MTB Project were taken from the IMBA website.

1. The first step is to go for a ride and record it. Start from the most common trailhead and do the ride as it is most commonly done. You can use a GPS device and regular camera, but it is MUCH easier to use a smartphone. Our favorite apps for collecting trail data include My Tracks (Android:https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.maps.mytracks&hl=en) and MotionX (iPhone:http://gps.motionx.com/iphone/overview/), but many others work just fine. Start recording the GPS track at the beginning and record your entire ride. You can edit it later on mtbproject.com.

2. Take photos as you go.  Lots of things are worth photographing: scenic spots, cool trail features, nasty technical section, your buddy dropping off a ledge…  We highly recommend using the built-in camera app on your phone which will automatically record the GPS location on the photo. Taking a photo every mile or two is a good idea - keep your phone in a handy pocket so you  can pull it out often.

3. Back at home, get your GPS track and photos on to your computer. Most GPS apps let you email the file to yourself.

4. On MTBProject.com, click "Add your rides…" on the home page.  Start with your Ride. Follow those instructions and you'll now have a great start.

5. You probably rode several Trail Segments on your Ride, so now you can create them. A Trail Segment is a full trail or a portion of one just as you would find it on a printed map. A Ride is a combination of trails, roads, and whatever you take to make a complete excursion. We have a shortcut method to create a Trail Segment from an existing Ride, so you don't have to upload and edit your GPS track again.

6. Add you photos.  Hopefully they're already GPS-tagged by your phone and you don't have to do much other than give them a caption.

7. Add parking and other symbols as necessary.

8. Once you're all done adding your trail, photos and description, you'll submit it to MTB Project for review.  We'll look it over and either publish it or get back to you with questions in a few days. 

Below are four tutorial videos featuring IMBA Mapping Specialist, Leslie Kehmeier.  They will guide you through the process of contributing your favorite MTB rides or trails.

Uploading a Ride

The first in a four-part series, this video shows you how to get started uploading your GPS data and creating a ride on MTBProject.com.

Adding Trails

The second in a four-part series, this video shows you how to create trail segments on MTBProject.com.

Adding Photos

The third in a four-part series, this video shows you how to add photos to trails and rides on MTBProject.com.

Adding Symbols & Markers

The final tutorial in a four-part series, this video shows you how to add critical symbols and markers to trails on MTBProject.com, such as parking areas, scenic viewpoints and great places to get a post-ride meal.

To ensure content on MTB Project is accurate and appropriate, every submission including trail description, photo and video is reviewed.   Do you have questions or comments regarding MTB Project?  Contact IMBA Mapping Specialist Leslie Kehmeier or Communications Director Mark Eller.  If you are a part of an IMBA grassroots organization and would like to be a content administrator for your area, please let them know.  For more information, visit MTBProject.com or IMBA's Meet MTBProject.com page.

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