Santa Barbara Outdoors is a website devoted to sharing information about recreational opportunities in Santa Barbara County. The site focuses on hiking, biking, backpacking the goal is to encourre people to get outside and enjoy the trails, backcountry roads, wilderness areas and hidden places right in town.

Who is providing the information contained on the site?
All of the routes contained on the site were developed by Ray Ford, long time author of guides to our local hikes, beach walks, mountain and road riding and backpacking. Ray is also the Outdoor Editor for the Santa Barbara Independent. As registered users you will be able to comment on the routes, rate them and help us keep the descriptions as accurate as possible.

Will there be more routes added to the site or is this it?
Over the next few months you should see many more routes added to the site. In the rollout of the site we focused on adding our local day hikes and beach walks but eventually you'll see an extensive collection of mountain bike and road rides added along with a section on trail running, backpacking, wine tours and most anything else we can think of.  

I noticed some features on the site are accessible by members only. Do you need to pay to become a member?
Membership for the SBO website is free but you do need to register to view the full versions of the maps and access the many resources that the site will be making available in the future. Registered members will also be able to add comments, rate the routes and recieve updates as they become available. The goal is to build an outdoor community that is involved with us in improving the route descriptions and keeping them as up-to-date as possible.

How do I recieve updates when new routes are added to the site or breaking outdoor news occurs? 
When you register as an SBO member, you are automatically added to our news list. SBO will send out newsletters every month or so with overviews of recent additions, outdoor news and other features. You'll be able to remove yourself from the list at any time you want without it affecting your membership status.

For more regular updates, you can follow Ray on Twitter.

Can you tell me more about the map you have developed for the site?
The outdoor map on the site  is the brainchild of John Ziegler, who is the SBO site designer and programmer. For more information about John see his bio in the "About Us" tab. The map has three features which we feel make it an extremely valuable tool:

  1. Map layers. You can choose from several layers to use as the base layer, including the USGS topo map, Google road map, Google terrain map and aerial view. 
  2. Toolbar. The vertical toolbar in the upper right corner provides a number of cool things you can turn on or off, like your exact location, current weather or traffic conditions and images using Panaramio.
  3. Lat/Long/Elevation. Click anywhere on the map and a popup box will display with your current latitude/mlongiture and elevation, which could be helpful if you want to add waypoints into your GPS or let someone know exactly where you are in an emergency.

I noticed the routes and jeep roads don't always match what's on the base layers. Are your routes accurate?
We are working to get all of the routes and jeep roads to be as accurate as possible. The routes were digitized using Google Earth and overlayed on the map. Typically they are much more accurate than what you see on the layers because they reflect the most recent Google Earth views.

Thursday, September 3, 2020