Why have my additions been rejected?
Updated: Dec 11, 2021
That's the most common question I am asked as a Trailforks Ambassador. There are a number of reasons for it to happen so I will try to go through some of the most common ones below.
Duplicates: Before you attempt to add a something on the system, Make sure that it's not already there. This may seem like a simple thing but you would be amazed by the number of times people try to add stuff that is already there. This can be regions, cities, routes or trails.
Partial Duplicates: This is predominantly in relation to trails. If the trail that you are trying to add merges with another trail, you cannot add this merged part as part of both trails. For example.. Imagine a blue trail as a line from start to finish, then lets say that there is a black trail which merges with the blue trail then breaks off at a later point to an alternative, black grade finish. For this to be accepted, the blue trail should be added as a complete trail. The first and last parts of the black trail should be added as separate trails but they can be added using the same name. On the Trailforks map, 2 trails cannot share the same piece of trail. In most cases the trail with the lower difficulty rating should take precedence.
Route Not Trail: This one catches many people out. Just because its called "Red Trail" doesn't mean it is.. More often than not its actually a route. To understand the way Trailforks works you need to understand the incremental differences.
SEGMENT: This is what Strava deals with and it encompasses everything so it really has little or no relevance to Trailforks.
TRAIL: This is a single, ribbon of track that you ride from start to finish. This track would be uploaded as a single trail. If this track has intersections where you can stop or start at points along the way, where it crosses access roads or paths maybe, Then it can be uploaded as individual trails of the same name that correspond to each section of the trail. For example, a trail may cross fire roads and be split into Upper, Middle and Lower sections. Some people may ride the whole trail but others may only ride certain sections. By adding the trail as individual sections it is possible to collect usage statistics on each part of the trail. This can then be used by trail associations to plan repair work.
The only caveat to this is where the trail is really short 100-200m or so. You can potentially get away with adding it as a complete trail because people would only ever ride it as a complete entity.
ROUTE: A route is a path containing different types of trail, road and or path sections that make up a complete ride or section. Let's say you go to a trail centre and ride the "Red Trail". It starts as a short access road climb followed by a quick flowy section of singletrack. It then joins a multi-use path for a short while before you drop into another section of small rollers and table tops. This is what is considered as a route. If you break it down to its constituent parts it becomes, Access Road, Trail, Path, Trail. Each of these parts should be uploaded individually.
Poor or Incomplete GPS: Trailforks relies on good quality data to make the whole system work properly. Unfortunately there are a lot of submissions which have poor quality GPS data. This is normally obtained via a GPS device or an app like Strava or Trailforks. The problem doesn't specifically lie with the device or the app but has more to do with location and coverage. When the trace is uploaded to Trailforks it really needs to be edited to clean up the rogue points which cause a straight road to look like a sawtooth. If you click on the "Edit Track" button, you will be able to move or delete any points which are incorrect. You can also use the "Ride Guide" layer as well as the various map layers to help get the trace into the correct location.
Incomplete GPS traces are usually either segments of trails or where the start and/or end points of the trail don't connect to the other trails in the network.
For an example of Poor GPS, Click Here: Poor GPS Example
Trail Data Quality Error: This is caused by a poor gps trace which has usually been taken straight from a ridelog. It is generated because points within the trace crossover or overlap. This is normally where someone has stopped on the trail or taken a wrong path and had to double back. The following images show you what to look out for. You can use the Edit Track option to access these points. If you click on the boxes they will be deleted. Once you are finished editing the trace you should click on the Close Track Edit button.
No Access or Exit Connection: When you upload a trail, people need to know how to get to it. If the roads/ trails/ paths that you need to use to access or exit the trail are not on the system, you should add these first. These may appear on the various basemaps but they should also be added to the system as access roads so that they can be picked up when generating routes (Roads which carry normal, vehicular traffic don't need to be added as they are already routed on the system). Once they are on the system, you can then add the trail, making sure that you connect the start and end points to the network. Otherwise you will be given an "incomplete gps" rejection. (see above)
Incomplete or Incorrect Details: When adding content, it's important to put in as much information as you can. The 3 sections that should be completed as a minimum are TRAIL ACTIVITY USAGE, LOCATION INFO and TRAIL DETAILS.
If a trail has just recently been built, there is a chance that there is no way of confirming its existence and use. If you can add a Strava segment to your submission then that will go a long way to helping have it confirmed.
The information that you provide should be correct. The following are some of the common mistakes made when adding data into a sumbission:
Incorrect Activities, Primary or Allowed: When adding trails or paths of any kind, you have to consider what their intended use is. If the path is mostly used by walkers but is also ridden by bikers, it should be classed as Hike as primary and MTB as an allowed activity. If the trail has been built specifically built for MTB then it should be classed as MTB primary and MTB secondary. MTB should never be set as the primary activity on trails which are historically used by walkers. The E-Bike selection is dependant on country. In the UK E-bikes are considered to be the same as MTB so they should always be selected where MTB is selected. Not all countries are the some so it's best to check what local restrictions are in place before selecting E-Bike. Trail Running can be selected where Hike is selected as they are treated the same, except where the hike scale is classed as the highest difficulty rating.
Incorrect Location Data: When uploading trails, they should be uploaded into the correct or nearest ride area or city. If you upload them into a country or state region then it can cause issues further down the line. If the ride area or region aren't already on the system, add them first then add the trail.
Incorrect or Unsuitable Name: Mountain bike riders and trailbuilders love using cool, witty and unusual names for trails. Something memorable and interesting. Unfortunately this doesn't carry over onto other activities quite as well. A lot of this has to do with Strava Segments. The massive rise in usage in recent years has seen every dull named path, or road, be reborn with a cool, hip and fresh new tagline. It's no longer acceptable to call a road the A8374, it's now known as "Masterblaster's TDF sprint stage". You may have a bit of trail you call "daves downhill blast" whilst walkers may just refer to it as path.
Thankfully Trailforks has thought of this and given you the option to add an AKA name in the options. This allows you to add any alternative names as well as the actual, and probably dull name.
The next question is.. which name takes preference?
If the trail is one which was specifically built for MTB, then the name can be the one which it is referred to by riders.
If the trail is one which began historically as being used by walkers, and is still in use by walkers, then it should be referred to by its generic name. This will mean that the MTB codename is to be added in the AKA section. There are some trails which have actual names, eg. Devil's Staircase, Grey Mares Tail. In cases such as these, it is legitimate to use these names as, more often than not, riders still use these names anyway.
Any trails which are set as Access or Secondary Access Road/Trail should be named in accordance with what they are, unless they have a globally recognised name. Forest Road, Fire Road, Access Road, Bridleway, Farm Track etc.. are all acceptable names.
Some names are just not acceptable. Anything which is not appropriate include anything which can be seen as racial or ethnic slurs, and/or derogatory language towards specific genders or sexual orientations. If you think or hope that someone will be offended by it's use, then it will never be approved.
Incorrect Trail Type: Singletrack is the default setting when adding content but it must be changed to the type that is the best description of the trail that is being uploaded.
Incorrect Bike Types: The selection made here should be for which bikes the trail is best designed for. You may very well be able to ride a DH bike down your local XC trails but it doesn't mean that you get as much fun out of it. Nobody likes hitting steep climbs with 200mm forks and 7 gears.
The three main bike types are DH, AM and XC. out of these you should only select a maximum of 2. Easy XC trails should be XC only, slightly rougher trails can be AM and XC. Enduro style trails should be AM. Easy DH trails can be AM and DH, full on DH trails with massive jumps should be DH only. All the other bike types are classed as secondary and can be used alongside the selection above. If an XC trail is out in the hills and is mostly a hardpack gravel path, then it may be suitable for gravel and/or CX bikes. If its a flat path then it may be suitable for Road bikes.
Incorrect Strava Details: This can be one of two things. Firstly it can be that the strava segment doesn't match the trail. Secondly it can be that the segment ID number is incorrect. You cannot take the segment number from within a ride. You must take it from the segments full leaderboard page. If you don't it will generate an error on the trail page on Trailforks that will say "Sorry, this one stays red."
These are not valid links: https://www.strava.com/activities/3401925547/segments/2692528940409591585
These are valid links:
Description Spelling, Grammar and/or Punctuation: This relates to the description field. The text entered should be correctly formatted with sentences which start with capital letters. Spelling should be as it is found in a dictionary, txt-spk will not be accepted. Punctuation should also be present where required.
Sentence Caps: The trail name should be correctly formatted as: Trail Name.
Other formats, such as: trail name, TRAIL NAME, Trail name etc. will not be accepted.
This is just a small selection of the most common reasons for rejection. I will add to it as and when I can. If you have any questions you can message your local region admin by going to the region page on Trailforks. If you scroll to the bottom of the page it will list the admins for that region. Should there be no entry there then you can look on the bottom of the country page and you will get that countries ambassador and they will be able to help you out.