A trail map is seemingly so simple. But, to create a really ‘good’ trail map we need to consider a few key things:
1) Seasonality – your map needs to tell the story of the adventure in hand. For instance a skiing or showshoeing trail should feel cold and wintery. In this case we needed 2 seaons to be described, summer for the singletrack and winter for the nordic and snowshoeing trails. We wanted to keep these seasons feeling different, whilst not feeling like they are different places. Just like the real seasons. We describe a great deal more about this process in a recent blog post about Mapbox base maps.
2) Mobile – a trail map must be very mobile friendly, it will likley be used as a tool outside rather than simply as a strategic planning tool. Consider features like geolocation, also consider keeping the UI free of clutter.
3) Context – what features will really aid the user in their adventure. What can actually be seen given the season and the activity? What places and place names will support the adventurer in their navigation, what are unnecessary?
We have tried hard to focus on these ideas in the above map. In building this map we used Mapbox managed basemaps, CartoDB to manage our trail data, and we bound these into a hand rolled LeafletJS map. Check out the full version here.
If you have some more thoughts on trail maps, don’t hesitate to comment below!