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Category: mapping

Clinton River Park Trails MTB Map: Complete

This evening I wrapped up another mapping project; this one for Clinton River Park Trails in Sterling Heights. After getting a nice workflow nailed down this map was pretty easy to make, taking only around 30 hours to get it complete.

I can see a couple small changes coming down the line such as the addition of sponsor logos and a few tweaks as trail development continues, but for now it should be pretty set.

Click here if you’d like to view a copy of this map: CRAMBA_CRPT_MTB_Trail_Map_2012-Jul-10.pdf latest.pdf

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MTB Trail Mapping Workflow with OpenStreetMaps

With recent map drawing activities (1, 2, 3) I’ve been asked about the process I use for creating maps. What follows here is the workflow I used with OpenStreetMap (OSM) for the CRAMBA Stony Creek MTB Trail Maps, and hopefully others will find it useful.

I expect I’ll be following this same workflow for the next maps created, and even possibly revising previous ones using this process because it provides more solid base data than my previous method which consisted of little more than manually tracing SVGs of GPS tracks in Illustrator. It also helps get more map data in OSM, which is basically the cartographic version of Wikipedia.

One note, using OSM data in your maps requires that the resulting map be licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0) license. This basically means that anyone else can redistribute and reuse the map (or portions thereof), as long as they provide appropriate attribution and license their version in a similar way. As I’m intending these maps to be freely used by the general public (as part of my work with CRAMBA) I’m happy to do so, but others should be aware of these restrictions before getting too far along in the process.

Here’s the workflow:

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New Stony Creek MTB Trail Maps

I’ve been unhappy with Stony Creek’s official mountain bike trail map for a while now, as its routing is a bit physically inaccurate and missing some trails used during races. This led me to want to draw my own, and with recent forays into OpenStreetMap proving quite successful I’ve been able to get working on the map itself.

Tonight everything came together and I was finally able to publish the maps, and as a bonus I also documented three of the more popular routes. The more-formal announcement for these was made over on CRAMBA.org, but each map can also be seen here:

· Regular Map
· Fun Promotions 6 & 12 Hour Race Route
· Tailwind XC Race Route
· Wednesday Night MMBA / CRAMBA Group Ride Route

I’m sure some changes will be needed down the line, but for now I’m quite happy with how they came out. Making maps is fun.

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Down the OpenStreetMap Rabbit Hole

I’ve been interested in making mountain bike trail maps for a while now, resulting in my drawing the official River Bends and Addison Oaks maps. Stony Creek Metropark has some great trails as well, but it’s MTB trail map is unfortunately lacking. It is missing some segments used during races, has some one-way markings that don’t match what’s actually signed on the trail, and isn’t geographically accurate enough to be used for trail planning.

My original intention was to record all of the trail segments at Stony Creek myself using a GPS then draw a map similar to the ones for Addison Oaks and River Bends, but after looking on OpenStreetMap (OSM) I found that most of the trails at Stony Creek were already mapped. Thus if I am willing to license my map in an appropriately open manner I can use this data, saving myself a bunch of time.

Since a few small connectors that I wished to include were missing I headed out to Stony Creek this evening and recorded GPS data for only the missing segments. Most of these were connectors used primarily during races, but as they are passable throughout most of the year I wanted to include them. I then brought the GPX into JOSM, edited the map, and submitted the changes. This is a pretty easy task if one is familiar with basic CAD tools.

While the changes aren’t yet reflected in the main online map, the changes have been submitted and it does show when new data is manually downloaded, so I imagine it’s only a matter of time before it’s visible to the public. I will then use this OSM to make my MTB-specific map, complete with markers for things such as log piles, rock gardens, etc.

I suspect that this ease of editing is going to change my mapping workflow in the future. There’s a very good chance that any new maps which I do will first go into OSM, then this data will be pulled out to generate the actual map. Barring any license constraints, of course.

Looking further it appears that River Bends’ trails aren’t yet on OSM. Looks like I’ve got some work to do there as well…

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