I’m stoked to announce to whomever will listen that I have just launched TrailCheckIn into public beta! Visit it at http://trailcheck.in!
This web app has been a long time in the making. TrailCheckIn started about 4 years ago when I realized Whistler didn’t have comprehensive bike trail map available anywhere on the web. With the largest mountain biking community in North America and over one hundred thousand biker visits annually I was sure that either the Municipal Government or our Tourism Board had something in the works to bring accessible biking information to guests and locals alike.
Apparently, I was wrong. Update: Whistler.com has released their own mobile trail map. I’m stoked on this! Some of the features, such as elevation profile (desktop only), are ones that I have in development . I hope they continue to build and expand upon it!
After a few years I got sick of waiting. Last year I started throwing around the idea to others in the biking community. Folks liked the idea but no one was sure how to get the GPS data I needed to make the map. Whistler has hundreds of trails and GPSing all by myself would be a big undertaking and would have no doubt put the whole thing off by another two years. After asking around for a while I approached Cascade Environmental to see if thay wanted to help. They already had the network of trails mapped out but didn’t know how to best use their data. We decided to partner up. With the help of Todd Hellinga and the lovely folks at Cascade I got the trail GPS coordinates needed! In return they would have a site to show what can be done with the data they collect. Everyone wins, W00t!
Data in hand, I now had to get it on the web. From the start of building I knew that TrailCheckIn needed to work on all devices; Android, iPhone, iPad, and desktop computers. With this in mind, the site to needed be as small as possible. This posed a problem because the data file given to me was over 4MB, WAY to big to download on a phone. I enlisted the help of my cousin to tackle this problem. We discovered the Google Maps API has the ability to encode and decode polylines (how the trails are displayed). Using this Polyline encoder we were able to compress the data and serve it to users at a more reasonable sub-200kB. Again, W00t!
After a winter of geolocation misfires, name changes and redesigns Whistler now has a freely accessible, online trail map! As I said before TrailCheckIn is in public beta. There will be bugs and there are still more features I’d like to add. If you want to help make this resource it’s best I can always use help, feedback, and field testers. For now, here’s a run down of what currently works:
- Trail locations and basic Information.
- Geolocaion, find out where you are.
- mobile, view it on your phone’s browser or add it as an App!
And this is what I’ll be working on as the site grows:
- Even more accurate Geolocation
- More accurate trail data. (if you have data to add contact me)
- Logins, map settings, and more!
Use it and enjoy it!