Monday, February 6, 2012


The core functionality of Trailforks is a database for mountain biking trails. Trailforks is a community site and users can help populate and keep the database updated, the data & features for each trail is also tailed specifically for mountain biking. But Trailforks is not completely open ended like these other sites, it will only expand riding area by riding area having fleshed out data for each, rather than sparse data from all around the world.

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 the Mount Fromme Page)

The site has loads of other features like photos, videos, skill parks, commenting, local news, local business directory, local products, local events, forums, user profiles, bike profiles, riding routes, route challenges & more. But one feature I really want to promote is "Trail Reports". A Trail Report is a quick entity 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 can create custom widgets for associations so they can display trail status and reports on their own sites.

To help encourage people to build the database users earn points for all the content they contribute and credit is given to the user. The site also has gaming style 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".

The site has a REST API that accepts and outputs data in XML, JSON or Serialized PHP.