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December 25, 2007

Map links

Filed under: General MTBGuru stuff,Mapping — mtbguru @ 1:09 am

A happy holiday to everyone! No white christmas here in the San Francisco Bay Area; though it’s rather chilly, it actually looks like we have perfect mtb conditions (forecast is sunny, trails are tacky-dry).

MTBGuru’s Santa brought some Virtual Earth / Live Maps support as mentioned in the previous post. To view your trip there, you can follow the link that we’ve put underneath the trip map.

We’ve actually brought a number of links together in that spot (‘map links’), so you have all the trip essentials in one space without need for searching or scrolling: links to the GPX and KML files (for download, or to open in Google Earth), the link to Virtual Earth and the one to Google Maps:

Map links

Virtual Earth / Live Maps

Filed under: General MTBGuru stuff,Google Earth,Mapping — mtbguru @ 1:04 am

Google is of course not the only game in town – Microsoft’s Live Maps and Virtual Earth have made a lot of progress. The latter will even run in 3D from within your browser; only on Windows PC’s though.

Virtual Earth features some nice 3D models (for instance, the Golden Gate bridge, see the example and comparison with GE below) and the fact that it runs in the browser (IE and Firefox) is compelling, though I still prefer the user experience and overall feel of Google Earth (and the vast amount of content available in the latter).

Thanks to the fact that Live Maps/Virtual Earth have recently started to support the KML format, we’ve implemented a way to view your MTBGuru trips in them: look for the links to Virtual Earth right underneath the trip map and in the ‘Share your trip’ section.

VE Golden Gate
Golden Gate bridge and Marin Headlands in Virtual Earth

GE Golden Gate
Golden Gate bridge and Marin Headlands in Google Earth
December 13, 2007

New ‘Terrain’ on the map

Filed under: General MTBGuru stuff,Mapping — mtbguru @ 11:23 pm

You may have noticed the new ‘Terrain’ feature on the trip and home maps. Under this name Google Maps is now serving pretty cool looking shaded relief maps displaying physical features. This has also become available through their maps API, so we’ve enabled it on MTBGuru: now you have yet another way to visualize your trips!

As an example, this is how an Amasa Back ride in Moab looks like in ‘Terrain’ mode:

‘Terrain’ screenshot on MTBGuru.com

December 4, 2007

Trail advocacy

Filed under: Admin — mtbguru @ 9:25 am

When I first moved to the Bay Area from Europe and started riding the trails here, I didn’t believe it when people told me about park rangers setting up speed traps for bikers, writing tickets with huge fines for riding after dark etcetera. Needless to say, I’ve come a way from there.

The situation here is now such that mountain biking is used by some public agencies as a quick and effective way to raise funds or overcome budget shortcomings, by means of writing out ridiculous fines for such gross offenses as riding a trail half an hour after sunset or exceeding 15mph at the bottom of some fireroad descent (usually not on singletrack, where speeding actually could present a real hazard to other trail users).

These funds are subsequently used to acquire more land or build and maintain trails *closed* to mountain bikers, as for instance is the case here with the La Honda Creek Preserve.

This is where trail advocacy comes in – a concept which I couldn’t grasp and appreciate while living in my bike-crazy home country – and the great people that spend their precious spare time and efforts to ‘further our riding causes’, attending endless meetings in an environment often very hostile to them. But also small efforts and contributions can make a difference – I’d urge everyone to sign this petition, or attend the public hearing tonight in La Honda (even though it’s held at 4pm on a Tuesday) – more info in this thread on MTBR – bring a bike helmet!

To get you warmed up, check out this recent example that should get your blood to boil: FC from MTBR was on a short after-work ride, riding from his house to the park, only to be intercepted (at 7pm) and presented a +$300 ticket by a ranger who was driving a truck around in the park, burning fuel and spoiling the air with exhaust gases and spitting out CO2 for the sole purpose of catching offenders whose ‘crime’ it is riding a bike on a trail after dark. Two words come to mind: ‘absurd’ and ‘Kafka’…