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Why do "Interactive" maps online disappoint?

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

Are ski areas wasting their money making "interactive" maps online?  I often find the interactive trail maps are not terribly informative, and I almost always find myself looking around the web site to download an image file that replicates the old fashioned paper trail maps you get free with the lift ticket.  

 

It seems to me that the trail maps just don't take advantage of the medium.  The most common features "interactive" trail maps are highlighting types of trail or lifts (show all beginner trails, show all high speed quads etc.) or selectively zooming in on areas of a big mountain.

 

What would be very cool is if an interactive trail map could use google earth topo to represent a real 3-d model of a mountain with the trails overlaid on a satellite image that you could spin and zoom.  It should be possible to incorporate some other ideas from google earth - embedded images or panoramas (to be fair, the Whistler-Blackcomb map does this).

 

Anyone have links to some cool online maps that really use technology well?  

post #2 of 29

YES.  Interactive maps have always seemed to me like tech for tech's sake - kinda like in-vehicle Twitter updates. I'd much rather look at the static jpg, which becomes buried somewhere on the page to make room for the annoying interactive version. I want to see the whole mountain right away, not just black/blue trails, terrain parks, etc. I hate the interactive maps.

 

I could see your version being cool, especially for mountains where you can't quite distinguish different-facing aspects from static view. Personally I'd just rather everyone just keep the good, old static version, though.

post #3 of 29

I usually agree, but with a few exceptions.

 

1. I've seen a few that allow you to highlight open trails and/or groomed trails.  The open trails feature is particularly useful for telling how much and what type of terrain is open, especially if you're not familiar with the mountain.  See Timberline, WV for an example.

 

2. I saw one, Bristol Mountain, NY I think, that linked in videos of skiing down each trail.  Kind of a neat feature if you've never been there before.

post #4 of 29

Please just give me a PDF with real line-art so I can zoom in as much as I need and print it at home if I like.  Give me the whole trail map, including the "backside inset" and the text with phone numbers, etc.

 

The idea of tech for tech's sake resonates with me.  Most of the rest of ski area web sites seems to follow this same rule.  The result is slow bandwidth-hog web sites that are less than useful.

 

I'd love some sort of topo-map feature, but I fear it would be difficult.  Ski area maps are usually distorted in order to "unwrap" the terrain into a nice, flat 2D presentation that shows lots of detail for lots of aspects.

 

I wonder if there's some sort of faux intellectual-property issue that management worries about.  Perhaps giving me the PDF would allow me to print up my own, slightly modified, trail maps and hand them out.  Not that I couldn't do that today with a scanner.

post #5 of 29

This maybe belongs in another thread, but it's a similar issue. Ski resorts post all kinds of fancy crap on their home page (rotating photos/stories, video, fancy design work, etc.) but then fail to put the most basic information there - current weather, snowfall totals, open terrain, open lifts. If you have room for all that fluff, you have room to put the info that 97 percent of your visitors want to see.

post #6 of 29

I'm convinced that the real reason that web sites have so many bells and whistles is that the web development team wants a job.  They convince the management that people want that crap on the site so that they can spend more time developing and therefore charge more.

 

One thing missing from nearly every ski area's web site is a way to find them in geographic space.  They put in all kinds of stuff, but not an address, or a link to Maps, or a little map of their own so that you can see where it's actually located.  As an example, if you don't know that Big Sky is near Bozeman you can't find out where it is by using their web site.

post #7 of 29

Large graphic files or PDF's are my favourite.

 

In regards to finding maps online, try here: http://skimap.org/

 

Some of them even have Google Earth overlays as requested.

 

Enjoy.

post #8 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xela View Post

Please just give me a PDF with real line-art so I can zoom in as much as I need and print it at home if I like.  Give me the whole trail map, including the "backside inset" and the text with phone numbers, etc.

 

The idea of tech for tech's sake resonates with me.  Most of the rest of ski area web sites seems to follow this same rule.  The result is slow bandwidth-hog web sites that are less than useful.

 

I'd love some sort of topo-map feature, but I fear it would be difficult.  Ski area maps are usually distorted in order to "unwrap" the terrain into a nice, flat 2D presentation that shows lots of detail for lots of aspects.

 

I wonder if there's some sort of faux intellectual-property issue that management worries about.  Perhaps giving me the PDF would allow me to print up my own, slightly modified, trail maps and hand them out.  Not that I couldn't do that today with a scanner.



In the 1980's Killington's trail map was a topo map with trails overlaid.  It spoiled me for conventional maps.  Mad River Glen has a topo version, although it is not implemented very well.  (The iso-lines are too far apart and too faint.)  The Taos master development plan (submitted to the Forest Service, findable online) has EXCELLENT topo maps of the ski area.  Much, much better than the trail map.  And the document also includes a table showing how steep each run is!

 

 mrg_topo_map_111611_small.jpg

 

Edit - Now that I've pasted it, I can see the MRG isolines if I turn my head and squint.  So there are plenty of them, just really bad color choices.

post #9 of 29

Oh man, I hate interactive maps so much.  As was mentioned above, a high resolution image (ideal) or a .pdf (next best option) is all I need.

post #10 of 29
post #11 of 29

I too have disdain for these lame interactive trail maps as well. Just have a PDF and forget about it. I Share all of the gripes others mentioned as well.

post #12 of 29

I like that topo map! Would love to see more of those, I guess those days have passed though.

post #13 of 29

The Whistler 3D Map is amazing. Whole swathes of Whistler have unlocked themselves to me thanks to that map. Plain old artistic rendering trail maps are a joke in comparison--they just can't capture tree density, pitch, pathfinding, curvature of the mountain...

 

But I can see how such a map wouldn't be useful when your home hill is 1/10th the size. 

post #14 of 29

The biggest problem I find with interactive maps is that the interface often sucks. The next biggest problem is that the bitmaps are usually too small to read. All in all it just leads to a headache.

 

http://www.aspensnowmass.com/onmountain/trailmaps/default.cfm pretty well illustrates this problem. That and they use flash. Why can't they just put a massive jpg of the trail maps online?

post #15 of 29

Agreed interactive web maps are ANNOYING.   The old Killington topo map is the perfect solution.   I have always studied topo maps of ski areas and compare them to resort trail maps to figure out where runs are, exposures, and their gradients.   Some resort trail maps are horrible, way out of perspective and scale.   Then I used to go to USGS aerial orthophotoquads but of course now use Google Earth.  In fact because Google Earth data is rather recent, one can usually see where ski runs are and then switch back and forth between the 3D and topo views.    When traveling to resorts I am not familiar with, I'll bring along topos and trail maps in order to figure out where to ski, how to move around a mountain, and ignored places especially in wooded areas.   Especially important in spring to find bests exposures at various times of day.  

 

Will look at the Whistler map this evening.   Having considerably used GE in mountainous aeras, would rather have a topo like the Killington map than a Google 3D of slopes because perception of actual pitch on the latter is likely rather crude.

post #16 of 29
I'm glad I'm not the only one.
post #17 of 29

Because of the limitation of the resort's paper trail map, I used some Google images on my Whitefish guide to better show some of the faces.  They are "interactive", but only in the clickable link sense.  You click on part of the map and it takes you to a trail description and pictures.  

post #18 of 29

Pulled this gem up on skimap.org (thanks, mcarthurc for that link!) Wow, Mammoth, nice!! eek.gif

 

And to the original topic, I, too, hate the interactive maps.

 

1218192778.jpg

post #19 of 29

Having just skiied Mammoth I can appreciate that older trail map even more :)  Thanks for sharing (I generally don't go into the archives on that site).

post #20 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcarthurc View Post

Having just skiied Mammoth I can appreciate that older trail map even more :)  Thanks for sharing (I generally don't go into the archives on that site).



It's currently our "home" mountain (heading up again in early April) and I was scrolling down the page showing the Mammoth maps and about fell out of my chair when I saw the Camel Guy! It was from 1987 and I don't remember smoking still being so accepted back then. Insanity!

post #21 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by SelfTitled View Post

This: http://www.3dwhistler.com/


Agreed that this is amazing.  On a recent trip my friends and I looked over that each night - especially useful for scoping out areas like the cbc trees where there's the possibility of getting cliffed out when you go exploring.  Next time I'm hoping to be able to take advantage of the gps plotting on that map so that I can spend the day poking around, figure out where I was, and plan the next days explorations.

 

That said, there is one truly useful feature of interactive maps, especially here in the east where we get less snow: a graphic representation of what's open and what's not that lets you take in the whole situation at a glance.  The problem is only some areas provide this.  With the ones that don't I always feel like they are trying to hide something.  A list next to a map isn't at all the same thing.

 

post #22 of 29

 

STOP the BRUTAL interaction!

post #23 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by cometjo View Post


With the ones that don't I always feel like they are trying to hide something.

 



So what you're saying is that resorts that say 15 runs open, but it is actually just 1 run top to bottom that happens to go through pieces of 15 runs is not being truthful?

post #24 of 29
Thread Starter 

 

 

Quote:
So what you're saying is that resorts that say 15 runs open, but it is actually just 1 run top to bottom that happens to go through pieces of 15 runs is not being truthful?

 

It's a lot like the ski area websites that claim that the temperature is 36 degrees and that they're having "mixed" precipitation.

post #25 of 29

How timely to this topic that this was on NBC Nightly News tonight. It's the dude who paints the maps, Jim Neiheus! Another reason to hate interactive maps!

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3032619/#46753638

 

 

post #26 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by contesstant View Post

How timely to this topic that this was on NBC Nightly News tonight. It's the dude who paints the maps, Jim Neiheus! Another reason to hate interactive maps!

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3032619/#46753638

 

 



icon14.gif Awesome video.

post #27 of 29

Yeah, nice video! I just found that guy's website earlier this week. He actually sells a lot of the trail maps and aerials he does.

post #28 of 29

What someone on this board ought to do is send this thread's link to every large USA ski resort's contact page email address.

post #29 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeUT View Post

Yeah, nice video! I just found that guy's website earlier this week. He actually sells a lot of the trail maps and aerials he does.



That's good to know! I'd love to buy some of his maps one of these days.

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