Crankfire was designed with the user in mind. We wanted to make it as easy as possible for you to
find, use and contribute data.
This page serves two purposes: to educate you on the architecture of this website, and to hilite some of the technologies we employ here.
What it is: A general overview
What we catalog: Types of data we collect
Associations: The key to organizing
Tags: How we describe things
Maps: What it all boils down to
External Feeds, Data and Mashups: Geographic information from external sources
GeoTagging: It has to do with maps and we like it
Photo User Tagging: Linking users to photos
Data Distribution: Lt can be such a beautiful thing
Data License: How we roll
What it is
We are here to be a community built and maintained repository for mountain biking. The goal has always been to create a self sustaining system that would provide enough realistic information about a trail to make someone comfortable enough to go ride it on their own.
We feel local(s) knowledge is the best kind, so we are focused on Connecticut and surrounding states. However, we accept data from state!
What we catalog
Trails, Waypoints, GPS Tracks, (mountain bike related) Events, Bike Shops, Trail Reports, Photos and Videos.
Looking at just about any bit of data on this site, you are going to see something called "Associations". Simply put, associations are how we group together all the different data we collect.
For example, you load up a waypoint showing us where to park for a certain trail. Under its associations you should see the trail it is a parking spot for. You might also see a couple photos of the parking spot associated with it as well. Heck, maybe this is the starting spot for a GPS track someone uploaded - and they associated the track with this waypoint.
This icon is how we represent "associations" - clicking on it will bring you to a data listing showing everything associated with the subject record.
If you are a blogger, you are probably familiar with tags. If not, here's the scoop: A tag is a label. A label is a descriptive term used to describe or classify something. Now in the online world, tags are just that: one or two word terms or phrases that we use to describe something. Separated by commas.
I like examples. Say you are writing a trail review, and this particular trail is known for its scenery, lots of climbing and rocky terrain - then logical tags you would want to type in would be something like this: "Scenic, Climbing, Rocky".
Here on Crankfire we use this "tagging" system on trail reports, trail reviews, events and gps tracks.
You might get the idea that we are map nerds. Hell, in this line of recreation, sometimes a map is just the best way to explore. Which brings us to our map engine.
It is our hope that you will be able not only find and explore new areas, but help expand upon our data using our geotagging and map markup tools along with any other geographic contributions you could make. We tried to make it easy and fun to use, not to mention really badass.
Hint: Open the map, pan around and zoom in - at different zoom levels more data will show up. Click away to learn more. Also, double click on the map for location information and access to our map wiki/markup feature. What's that? Well 'that' allows you to stick all sorts of tiny little icons on the map that 'describe' particular trails (among other things). For example.
External Map Feeds, Data & User Mashups
There is a lot of data out there, and we wanted a way to help bring it all together. Whether it be a GeoRSS feed of trails from your mountain biking website, a KML tour of a good ride to do at your favorite trail, or even a KMZ file containing boundary data for State Parks and Forests - we will take it!
Taken word for word from Wikipedia: "Geotagging is the process of adding geographical identification metadata to various media such as photographs, video, websites, or RSS feeds and is a form of geospatial metadata. These data usually consist of latitude and longitude coordinates, though they can also include altitude, bearing, accuracy data, and place names."
Naturally, we like this. It allows us to put stuff on a map.
On Crankfire, you can geotag just about anything in our databases: photos, events, videos, trails, etc. and we encourage you to do so. You might see this little fella, this is the "geotagged" icon.
Furthermore, if you happen to have a camera with a GPS in it - or you have the means to geotag your photos, we will grab these coordinates from your images and put your photos on the map.
Photo User Tagging
Honestly, this is a glorified form of the associations we discussed above, except this is for linking users to photos they are in.
Sort of like tagging users in Facebook - except you drag/draw boxes around people.
We try to syndicate as much of the data we collect here as possible for everyone to enjoy.
Our data, unless otherwise specified, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Exceptions can be granted by the author of interested work(s).
What does that mean? In a nutshell: you can copy, distribute, display and change the data, BUT, it can not be for a commercial purposes, you must attribute the data to Crankfire.com (or the user who provided said data), and you must "share alike" - that is to say if you redistribute the data it must be under these very same conditions.
We provide several means of distributing the data we collect here and sincerely hope it is used for good. I have a dream where RSS and GeoRSS feeds of things like trail reports are featured on peoples blogs and web pages, where like minded websites can share data and empower each other... I am getting a little too emotional here, but, yeah, we try to provide our data in more formats than you can shake a stick at in the hopes that it will do some good out there.
Not sure how this is all going to pan out though.