Maps & Signs

Trails built by IMBA and our affiliate clubs provide enormous benefits to the public — they are typically open to everyone and free to ride. Too often, however, these valuable contributions do not get the exposure they deserve. We rely on guidebook authors and anonymous online sources to spread the word about our accomplishments, and we are disappointed when they fail to recognize our efforts.

One solution is to create high-quality maps — in print and online forms — to spread the word about your clubs’ proudest on-the-ground achievements. Armed with mapmaking software and data collected by Global Positioning System (GPS) devices, it is possible to create beautiful maps that are comparable in quality to the work of professional cartographers.

Signs are the most important communication vehicle between land managers and trail users. A well-implemented and maintained signage system has the potential to greatly enhance the user experience, navigating visitors through the trail network and providing information about an area. Signage also plays a critical role in managing risk and the rapid and efficient deployment of emergency services.

In this section:

Promoting Trail Systems with Maps

  • Building a Basemap
  • Dealing with Data
  • Anatomy of a Trail Map
  • Collecting and Sharing GPS Data
  • Map Production and Distribution

Trail Difficulty Ratings and Signs

  • Trail Rating Criteria
  • Trail Rating Guidelines