In the area I'm currently in (Moab), and presumably others - "dirt road" varies tremendously. I've checked out several in the last couple of days. Some are smooth as glass and two lanes wide, suitable for use by even large motorhomes. At the other extreme, others take effort to even see, and may include deep water crossings, rock shelves that are 18-24" high and are suitable only for modified 4WD rigs.
I'm not complaining, but curious. Are there any plans to delineate further the complexity/difficulty of dirt roads in the Mapbuilder Topo base map? And if so...from where would such data be sourced?
That last one is important, as if I start sharing details I've found while riding these roads - I'd like to do so in a place where the information can be pulled from freely.
matt on 13 Mar, 2019 02:41 AM
All of the road and trail data comes from the open-source, user-editable OpenStreetMap project. Because backcountry recreation isn't OSM's primary purpose, there isn't a great delineation between easily and poorly accessible roads, but there are several ways to tag them that CalTopo will pick up on.
The MapBuilder layer will show shorter dashes for OSM roads that are tagged with "smoothness" as "horrible" or above, or "tracktype" as "grade4" or "grade5".
Most roads in the database aren't tagged with either of those attributes, but one reason for adopting the new shorter-dash styling was to encourage more user contributions and eventually improve the database. CalTopo picks up a new copy of the OSM data once every several months.