Help:Trail Creation Guide

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I thought I'd make some notes on how to make trail reports for all the wiki n00bz out there...

Using Templates[edit]

The trail reports start of with a wiki template. There are currently three:

But the one we use for trail reports is:

Here are the instructions for creating a Trail Infobox:

  1. Open the Template:Infobox Trail page and copy the template code on the left side of the page.
  2. Open the trail report page you're creating and edit it.
  3. Paste in the wiki code from the template.
  4. You will notice numerous lines starting with "name=", "image=", "caption=", etc. These are the fields of the trail summary box on the left side of a trail report. Type in the trail information that applies after the equal sign (i.e. name=Buffington Pockets). Don't worry about the images and google earth lines just yet - we can make minor revisions later.
  5. Now scroll down past the last line "}}" and type in your narrative portion of the trail report. Use the help link at the bottom of the page to get help on using some common wiki formatting codes.
  6. Save the page and you've got a nice foundation for your Trail Report! When making minor spelling corrections and such, check the "This is a minor edit" checkbox just about the save button prior to saving the page.
  7. Now, for some image editing/uploading and Google Earth tips! We'll start out with Google Earth since we'll need two things from it: a) Trail Overview picture, and b) a Trail route/location.

Using Google Earth[edit]

You can get by with the free version of Google Earth, but if you want to be able to create paths and share them, you will need to pay for the Basic Google Earth Subscription. It costs $20 a year and will also get you connected to a faster, dedicated member server.

Now lets get started...

  1. Open Google Earth and set up your Starting Points, points of Interest, Ending Points, and trail paths in their own folder. I like to stick to the practice of naming these folders from the least specific to the more specific (i.e. Country_State_NearestCity_TrailName). A folder might be called something like USA_Nevada_LasVegas_BuffingtonPockets. It helps keep file names unique and descriptive. Here is an example of one of my KML files: Buffington Pockets
  2. Once you've got your Trail setup, frame it in the Google Earth window and save the screenshot (press Ctrl+S). Save the image using the same naming convention as the folder.
  3. Right click on the folder in Google Earth and select "Save As.." to save the KML file. Use the same naming convention here too.
  4. Next, it's time to upload the files... Go to {[Special:Upload]] to upload files. It can always be found on the left nav bar. Point to your file and type in a descriptive summary and click upload. You will get a warning if the file you are uploading is more that 150k but we can discuss how to avoid this in the imaging section.
  5. Once you have uploaded the files, note their URLs. For the trail overview image, you'll need to remember just the filename part, not the entire URL of the image. An example is: "USA Nevada LasVegas BuffingtonPockets.jpg". For the KML file, you'll need to remember the entire URL. An example is: http://www.dirtopia.com/w/images/0/01/USA_Nevada_LasVegas_BuffingtonPockets.kml
  6. Re-Open your Trail Report and place the image filename on the Infobox line |image=.
  7. Place the Google Earth KML URL on the Infobox line |googleearth=
  8. Save the page with a minor edit and you're done!

Image Editing[edit]

If you don't already have image editing software, I suggest you download Paint.NET. It's a very nice replacement to the paint program that comes with Microsoft Windows and it's FREE!.

Another really useful tool for simply resizing images is the Windows PowerToy "Image Resizer" which can be downloaded here.

If you have found that your Trail Report Overview photo is over 150k, open it with Paint.NET or use the Image Resizer to scale it down to about 1024x768 and 96dpi. This should keep it under the mark.