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  1. Ryan Harden
  2. Sherlock Holmes
  3. Votes And Opinions
  4. Monday, 09 November 2020
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We've been playing around with a few different programs for keeping our map and trail data over the years. It's coming time to figure out which direction we want to go. Knowing we'll need a phone app, I was trying to pick something we could easily incorporate into the mix. Turns out, everything has pros and cons and nothing really fits the way I want it to without making something custom and spending a boatload of money we don't have. Heck, even if we did have it, don't want to spend that kinda money on something that could be irrelevant 5-10 years from now.

While our old directory isn't the flashy, sexy, mapping software we'd all like it to be, it does a good job of keeping information organized, keeping pictures and reviews together, making it easy to download maps, and integrating into phone mapping programs like google maps. We can layer info, show trail lines, and more. Sure it doesn't give some info, but for what we do, it's more so what we're looking for vs the basic overlanding program we were looking at.

My big thing with mapping is to teach people how to make map routes that show more than a line. To categorize trails so 4x4 folks can make better decisions on if they want a scenic tour, gravel roads, or crawling trails. It baffles my mind that there isn't a simple way to do this out there yet on a mass scale. That's why we created the Universal Trail Rating System. It's why our trail signs include class and trail info, it's why the directory has the rating system it does. So You Can Make Better Decisions.

It also has to do with how a listing is submitted. The directory, when open for new trail submissions, take the cartographer through a simple, yet thorough process to submit a trail accurately, without missing any info. The basic program doesn't do that. I want to teach people to submit awesome trails and routes that we can all experience and it'll be a lot of fun running each other's routes across North America when we get thousands of people into mapping.

I'm sorry this is taking so long. It's really hard to forecast how to make all this stuff better than what's out there now. Years of trial and error, thoughts, and feedback have gone into what is being created. It's just not an easy problem to solve, but now, we have more knowledge and are likely going to stay with the current directory setup since it works so well and is so detailed. Sure, we'll take out the individual gravel roads and add more routes and such, but overall, the reviews, the images, the map files, the videos, the history is much easier to record and keep straight vs the other programs we'de tried.

In 2021 we'll be kicking map routes into high gear for WI, MN, MI, IA, IL, and IN. Each day we get more and more members to share the love of the trail with. 2021 is looking like our breakout year!
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