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Pet Peeve- Inaccurate trail maps...

post #1 of 80
Thread Starter 

So, does it bother anybody else when the trail map for someplace, even someplace you know like the back of your hand, has errors or (at the very least) misleading trail maps?

 

A few examples-

 

Monarch has a few doozies, one they have corrected on their current map.

 

Here is the 2008 map that shows both errors.

 

 

 

1. According to this trail map, the Pioneer lift ends under Curecanti. In reality, Pioneer is the easiest access to that trail. The line designating Curecant is in the wrong place, and the upper terminal of Pioneer is not located where it shows on the map. There is a fair bit of perspective error in play as well.

2. The map shows Short Circuit clearly starting from the Roundabout trail. In reality the trail is accessed from Romp. This has been corrected on Monarch's current map.

 

Wolf Creek- fixed a lot of their map issues this year, and boy, some trails seem to have moved a few thousand feet across the mountain, and even changed position with one another.

 

Here is the 2010 map.

 

 

Check out Shazam, Tsunami, Abracadabra, Area 54, and Simpatico.

 

Now, look at the 2013 map.

 

 

Surprise! Tsunami Jumps way over closer to the chair, the Numbered Chutes are added to the map, and Abracadabra? It is now on the OTHER side of Area 54. The shape of Simpatico is now totally different as well. I realize that "runs" are a distinction that doesn't really exist here because they are all treed areas, but you kind of expect the trailmap to have things a little bit closer to reality. The new map is much more accurate. I wonder if adding the Numbered Chutes to the trail map will bring more or less traffic- I remember I was completely blindsided in finding some of the hardest terrain at Wolf Creek stuck in an area labeled as single black with no hint as to what was in there...

 

Finally, Vail has done a great job over the years of making it look like you can ski out of Game Creek right to the gondala terminal. If you have to use RED BOLD FACE FONT to tell people your map is incorrect, wouldn't it be better to fix the map and to show Game Creek facing West? At least the previous maps did a better job of showing the ridgeline...

 

 

 

Yep, I'm anal about this stuff. Does it bother anybody else? Any other examples?

post #2 of 80

Me.  I get bent out of shape when maps aren't accurate.  "Sorta accurate" just doesn't cut it.  

Bad maps can betray you.  Mislead you.  Cause you pain and suffering.  It's the betrayal that bothers me the most. 

Isn't there a Code for map makers?

post #3 of 80
When I was putting my Locals Guide together, I ran up against this constantly. Trails with signage different than the map, leading different directions, ratings on the map different than ratings on the signs. Grooming reports referring largely to places using names from 20 years ago, that if you asked a grooming cat driver, a ski patrol guy, an instructor, and an ambassador where it was, you'd get a different answer from each. Because of the vertical program, I've found them using different vertical drops for chairs from what is on the map, or in Dopplemayrs database. Very frustrating. This isn't rocket science.

It's one of the reasons I had to resort to Google Earth so often on the site.
post #4 of 80
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

Trails with signage different than the map, .

 

Uh oh, you got me started on this one too. Wolf Creek is missing trail signage all over the mountain, and also has trail signage still up for trails that no longer exist on the trail map. 

post #5 of 80

It is my BIGGEST pet peeve when I am skiing a new resort.  I'm already "directionally challenged"; do they really need to make it harder?  Maybe all their map artists are directionally challenged also.

post #6 of 80
I think someone in the office, who skis ten times a year, labels the trails in the pictures. They don't know the mountain because they're too busy working.
post #7 of 80

:nono:   Ski area maps are illustrations. This is by nature 'the idea of' not 'a copy' of. Again, I have to ask, if this stuff really gets to people, why bother skiing at all? I just don't get the grumpiness. It's skiing. It's fun. Laugh. Slide around. Repeat.

post #8 of 80
The worst is getting to a spot on the ridge and checking the map, "uh, isn't this is supposed to be going down!"
post #9 of 80
There is a danger factor with bad maps.

Fortunately, the trail rating differences here have the sign on the trail rating it higher than the map did and not the reverse.

I'm sure there are situations where people have relied on maps and gotten themselves in trouble.
post #10 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post

nonono2.gif    Ski area maps are illustrations. This is by nature 'the idea of' not 'a copy' of. Again, I have to ask, if this stuff really gets to people, why bother skiing at all? I just don't get the grumpiness. It's skiing. It's fun. Laugh. Slide around. Repeat.

You definitely have a good attitude. IMO they would do well to come up with a better word than "map," though. To you, a "map" is what's printed on the end papers of a Tolkien book. To others it's the thing you get from Triple A that tells you where to get on and off the Van Wyck Expressway.
post #11 of 80

I think a map should be accurate rather than suggestive, but when I visit another resort sometimes I keep the map in my pocket and have fun just pointing it downhill without knowing where I'm headed. It's kind of liberating not having to keep track of where I am. When I get to a fork I just pick whichever one looks better at that moment and see where it takes me. There's probably a lift at the bottom somewhere. 

post #12 of 80

The problem is that the trail MAPS are created by ARTISTS...... If you wanted accuracy, you would hire an engineer or geologist :D  But they do look pretty! 

post #13 of 80
And even those are fraught with conflicting values and inaccuracies... Both the 'accurate' maps and their makers. smile.gif
post #14 of 80

I'm amazed so many people here actually use them enough to be bothered. 

I've yet to ski anywhere, well let's see - Aspen, Highlands, Snowmass, ABasin, Vail, Big Sky, Northstar, Squaw, where the people used a map. Especially the locals. I find more trail map use in the East actually on vastly smaller hills.

 

I recall the first time at Big Sky we were stopped somewhere, maybe off the Challenger lift area, and a minor argument ensued about which way North was. This was between the locals who were always "discussing" the best way to take just like families argue over giving guests directions to leave their house. (That can be an infinite loop)

 

I can't remember exactly why, but I had brought a compass with me. Maybe "Big" and Montana combined to have me put one in my jacket.I might need it.  I pulled it out and settled the issue right there, so they moved on to arguing which way to take was better.

post #15 of 80

I have a theory about most trail maps, they serve as a guide of where the best terrain isn't....

post #16 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by Finndog View Post
 

The problem is that the trail MAPS are created by ARTISTS...... If you wanted accuracy, you would hire an engineer or geologist :D  But they do look pretty! 

 

 

Something like 75% of trail maps are drawn by the same guy.  http://www.jamesniehues.com/index.htm

 

There's no way he'd be able to get a local's familiarity with that many resorts, or even ski all the places he's drawn maps for.

 

That said, he generally does a pretty good job capturing the hills he draws.

post #17 of 80

yes, he's pretty much the official trail map dude.  I like his work. Always a bit of creative license I'm sure.   although i don't know the process, I am sure he gets some drawings or schematics from the resorts with details of runs along with images. The rest is up to him and his team. If he gets it 95% that's "good enough" for most I'm sure. I know there are a few errors on the steamboat map. 

 

It gives the Texans something to keep them occupied with.  "no dad, we gotta go this way" :D

post #18 of 80

Gotta get that Vail dig in huh ? :)

 

Only thing that bugs me is flats. At least highlight or mark the catwalks/traverses/so I know what we're getting into. 

post #19 of 80

There have been several map discussions over the years.

Last Jan this was posted in http://www.epicski.com/t/116711/the-artist-behind-the-trail-maps

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mountain Ski Maps of North America
A Preliminary Survey and Analysis of Style
Alex Tait
International Mapping, Ellicott City, USA
 
This paper examines mountain ski resort trail maps in North
America. It starts with a survey of the complete set of maps
in use today. For each map, the survey catalogs the point of
view, creation method, style and artist where known. The main
types of view used are: panoramas, profiles, and planimetric
maps. Creation methods include: paintings, illustrating, and
computer modeling/rendering. A brief history of the artists in-
volved in creating North American ski maps follows along with
discussion of samples of work by several key artists and a brief
analysis of map style.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

The whole artist/cartographer debate is mildly moot actually. It's doubtful a highly accurate map would necessarily be more readable and supply what you want to know. All maps have distortion. It's an information design problem and at least trail maps have the luxury of being able to not adhere strictly to a mapping convention.

 

Last summer we were talking and someone said that "Greenland is bigger than Africa". We of course laughed and said how absurd that is. When looked up however, there is some reason for the statement and it has to do solely with maps. Africa is indeed like 15 times bigger in area, but there's a serious and well known issue with the way maps are made by mercator projection.

 

 

Quote:

The Greenland Problem

The Mercator projection creates increasing distortions of size as you move away from the equator. As you get closer to the poles the distortion becomes severe. Cartographers refer to the inability to compare size on a Mercator projection as "the Greenland Problem." Greenland appears to be the same size as Africa, yet Africa's land mass is actually fourteen times larger (see figure below right). Because the Mercator distorts size so much at the poles it is common to crop Antarctica off the map. This practice results in the Northern Hemisphere appearing much larger than it really is. Typically, the cropping technique results in a map showing the equator about 60% of the way down the map, diminishing the size and importance of the developing countries.

 

Greenland: 0.8 million sq. miles
greenafrica.gif
Africa: 11.6 million sq. miles

http://www.petersmap.com/page3.html

 

 

I doubt anyone is going to complain about the distortion in this map:

 

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/232428030741454998/

post #20 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by Finndog View Post

I have a theory about most trail maps, they serve as a guide of where the best terrain isn't....

Well, maybe if they're not annotated by a local... :-D
post #21 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tog View Post
 

I'm amazed so many people here actually use them enough to be bothered. 

I've yet to ski anywhere, well let's see - Aspen, Highlands, Snowmass, ABasin, Vail, Big Sky, Northstar, Squaw, where the people used a map. Especially the locals. I find more trail map use in the East actually on vastly smaller hills.

 

I recall the first time at Big Sky we were stopped somewhere, maybe off the Challenger lift area, and a minor argument ensued about which way North was. This was between the locals who were always "discussing" the best way to take just like families argue over giving guests directions to leave their house. (That can be an infinite loop)

 

I can't remember exactly why, but I had brought a compass with me. Maybe "Big" and Montana combined to have me put one in my jacket.I might need it.  I pulled it out and settled the issue right there, so they moved on to arguing which way to take was better.

 

When skiing alone on a new mountain, I use them.  So it matters.

When skiing in a group, no, I try not to be the one who pulls out a map.  Dud, there.

 

Misleading forest/woods trail maps are especially troublesome for trail running alone in a new place.  They are all extremely misleading around here.  I make my own.  

I've also reworked the trail maps where I teach, just for myself, eliminating the problems.  I carry a copy in my pocket so I can share it with civilians who are lost and looking at the official map, still confused.

post #22 of 80

I found the one I was looking for. Noodler posted this in '09.

A map maker did this of Breck:

 

http://mapmaker.rutgers.edu/355/Brekenridge%20ski%20map.pdf

 

from thread:

http://www.epicski.com/t/82250/check-out-this-trail-map-of-breck

post #23 of 80
"So... it doesn't show where I am, it's just so I can get a feeeeeel of the mountain?"

nonono2.gif
post #24 of 80

It's based on this famous subway map of NY by Massimo Vignelli in 1972.

 

http://www.nycsubway.org/perl/caption.pl?/img/maps/system_1972.jpg

 

 

Quote: (bold added) http://subway.com.ru/maps/1972.htm

On August 9th 1972 this new map was released to the public.
The subway map was completely redesigned by Massimo Vignelli. The color scheme for each route has remained basically the same although the representation of the routes have changed.
As described in the Daily News 8/6/72 "In order to stress the transit routes themselves, the geographical features of the city are faded into the background in muted grays, beiges and whites. Landmarks such as the East River are suggested symbolically."
 
"Maps like these have to make deliberate distortions to clarify." an MTA spokesman commented. “We tried to make sure that nothing unnecessary distracts the eye from the subway routes. There’s no sense in using a transit map for geography lesson.”

 

While it made connections obvious, it was a total disaster relating it to the actual place. In other words, say you're downtown on 10th street and Bleeker on the west side of Manhattan. How do you find that on the map to see what's available? There are no streets!

 

Some people like the Breckenridge map posted above.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrzinwin View Post
 

Honestly, there is realtively little information gained in the artistic "painting" that most maps use.  Pitch and pitch variation are not something that is accurately portrayed in any ski map I know of.  Pitch is basically ascertained through the color code.  Green=flat.  Black=steep.  Trees are the only possible advanrage to an artist's drawing.  However, that is also my problem.  Trees are the most inaccurate part of any ski map, trying to follow an artist's interpreation of trees has led me astray many a time.  Whether the trail turns is also very inaccurately portrayed on most maps. 

 

The reason this abstract maps is good is because it displays only the information that is importnat--namely the relationship between one trail and another.  When I reach an intersection of trails, I'd like to know EXACTLY where I am, and where I should go (especially when I'm at the summit where there are 10 trails alll going in different diretions) .  With this new map, I know exactly where I am.  With an artists drawing, who knows?

 

You're right in that this map is useless if there are no signs.  But most ski areas I know have signs at every intersection. 


Edited by Tog - 12/3/13 at 9:31am
post #25 of 80
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walt View Post
 

 

 

Something like 75% of trail maps are drawn by the same guy.  http://www.jamesniehues.com/index.htm

 

There's no way he'd be able to get a local's familiarity with that many resorts, or even ski all the places he's drawn maps for.

 

That said, he generally does a pretty good job capturing the hills he draws.

 

My issue is not so much with the artist as with the ski area that then overlays the art with runs. In the case of both Wolf Creek and Monarch, the artwork has not been changed one bit, and would not need to be changed to fix the issues I noted. In the Monarch/Curecanti issue, label it a bowl, add a notation where the gates are, move the upper terminal of the lift a little bit, and bingo, somebody can actually tell how to get there.

 

The Game Creek issue is different because it would require new art to change, and obviously Vail requested that the terrain be distorted to better show the runs in the area without an inset. But, I think an art revision to show the lift oriented further sideways and obviously descending Westward would be more helpful than having to highlight the entire area. If you have to say "our map is misleading" in big red letters, wouldn't the more elegant solution be to just change the map?

post #26 of 80

I spent a few hours trying to find the start of Dave Murray Downhill at Whistler and never did figure out from the map where it was. The top of a lift that from the map looked to be above the start turned out to be below. I wound up cutting through the woods to find the run a little below the start. 

post #27 of 80
Thread Starter 

Yes, I am that guy that reads trail maps.  Skiing in a new place? You bet, I studied that map hard the night before (along with the unofficial guide ;) ).

 

I don't consult a map while skiing, but when I get back to where I am staying that night I will absolutely pull a map up and check out where I was, in order to plan where to go.

 

I also like browsing maps of the ski areas I know like the back of my hand. It is an easy way for me to conjure up countless memories of good times on those slopes.

 

So yes, it irritates me when there are obvious errors. I understand that a 2d representation of a very uneven 3d object will always have (sometimes major) distortions, but there should not be issues where trails are shown to connect to trails they do not, show to be accessed from lifts that they are not, or the like.

post #28 of 80
I guess maps aren't as usefull to expert skiers but to intermediate skiers, families with small kids and groups that want to stay together it's very important to have good maps. Good maps allow you to plan what chair to take and what runs are available on that chair, and if you can get down or traverse from one side of the mountain to the other to get back to the lodge.

But I get that even maps don't have to be perfect, charts have to be perfect, boats and airplanes use charts, cars use maps. It does bug me to have errors on ski area maps, if it's worth doing, it's worth doing right.
post #29 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by Finndog View Post
 

The problem is that the trail MAPS are created by ARTISTS...... If you wanted accuracy, you would hire an engineer or geologist :D  But they do look pretty!

A cartographer, actually. Engineering "maps" are not known for being particularly readable by anyone other than other engineers and, hopefully, whoever is trying to build whatever is depicted.

post #30 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by jhcooley View Post
 

A cartographer, actually. Engineering "maps" are not known for being particularly readable by anyone other than other engineers and, hopefully, whoever is trying to build whatever is depicted.

 

 

feel better now? :D

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