A collaborative climbing database
theCrag.com is a hub for gathering and sharing climbing information. Climbers and publishers can share climbing information and distribute it through multiple channels, including theCrag.com's website, third party websites, rss feeds, Facebook, pdf publications, iphone, ipad and others.
Climbers can access quality climbing information on the web for free, either directly through theCrag.com's website or through other third party portals. This will be supported by donation and advertising.
Because we are committed to provide a long term sustainable free product on the web we are taking a more commercial approach to our mobile apps, hopefully this will mean we will still be around in 20 years time. If you use our mobile apps then please expect to pay for some things, and don't forget you are helping us help the community.
Publishers can use theCrag.com's system to control and distribute their information through non-web channels. They may also choose to supply this information for free on the web. This is supported by revenue sharing.
Community generated guidebooks
Rather than one person providing all the information for a guidebook; guidebooks can be built and updated on the fly using incremental updates from climbers across the whole climbing community (see Crag Karma site article). Area Coordinators and Editors ensure ensure data quality for a particular area (see Permissions site article).
Even just adding an ascent improves the quality of the information in the guidebook by feeding back route popularity scores and climber quality ratings.
Community guidebooks are available in HTML, and PDF format (see PDF Crag Guide).
Public versus private content
Both public and private data are supported by theCrag.com.
Content contributed directly by climbers is publicly available (under Creative Commons - Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike license) and available to publishers under agreement.
Content contributed by third party publishers is owned by the publisher under their copyright with theCrag.com acting as data custodian according to publisher agreements.
Content license and sharing
Broadly what we're aiming to do is ensure 4 things:
- The content is available to be used by climbers.
- Anyone who contributes content gets proper attribution.
- The content can NOT be take by 3rd parties and sold without our agreement.
- We can leverage the content to help pay our server and development costs, so we can continue to not just exist but keep making the site more awesome.
Essentially what our contributor agreement boils down to is:
- You retain ownership of your own content, including your right to also license your content to anyone else under another license you want (except exclusive ones).
- Your contributions will be licensed to the world in general, including theCrag.com, as CC-BY-NC-SA.
- You specifically grant thecrag.com the right to use the content commercially to give us an income to cover our hosting and development costs.
If for any reason you aren't happy with this, but still would like to share your content under a different license, like the CC-BY-SA, or the GNU Documentation license, then that's cool too and we're already doing that with a bunch of content providers, please send us an email. The only limit is that the licenses are compatible so that we can combine everyone's contributions to create 'aggregate works', ie a guidebook.
We would like theCrag.com to become financially viable, or at a minimum, be able to pay its own hosting and infrastructure costs.
We plan to do this through donations and advertising on theCrag.com's website. We will also explore other revenue opportunities when they come up, such as user pays mobile app.
In order for us to be able to do this, standard users contributing to theCrag.com projects are required to grant broad permissions to theCrag.com, and the general public to re-distribute and re-use your contributions. See Site Usage Policy for details. Any user may choose to contribute to theCrag.com as a publisher under a different arrangement instead of as a standard user, please contact us.
Once we become financially viable we plan to put in place financial initiatives that will directly benefit the climbing community. A percentage of takings will go to initiatives decided on by the climbing community (eg access funds, clubs, cliffcare groups, etc). It's way too early to work out the details yet, but we imagine that people's Crag Karma scores could determine their vote/allocation for such initiatives.
Initiatives under development
API (Beta release now available - click here)
We have developed an API, which allows third party applications to interface to the theCrag.com's community database both to read and to contribute.
Climbers can upload a photo, and create a topo by drawing lines on the photo using only the browser. This is ready now, and more improvements to this tool are in the pipeline. See Photo Topo site article for tutorial on how it works.
Mapping tools to locate crags and climbs.
Keep up-to-date with latest updates to an area, or the latest ascents from your friends or in particular areas. This functionality is available now.
A whole area guide, based on the latest information, topos and maps. Eventually you will be able to customise and personalise Crag Guide in future releases (eg bouldering in Arapiles). The PDF version is now available and eBook versions should be available soon.
Publishers will also be able to produce a Crag Guide with their content only.
Using community aggregated statistics to recommend the best, or most popular climbs. This is available now, but we have plans for many future improvements.
We are in discussion with several publishers, to allow them to use theCrag.com's infrastructure for their content. There are lots of things to nut out here, but we should have content starting to trickle in late 2010. (Lots of data from UNEMC now available for New England - thanks guys).
Targeting mobile devices
An iPhone app is being developed and will be released 2011 (early 2012). We also intend to support other mobile devices, such as iPad, Android, WebOS and others with either Native applications of mobile optimized web applications.
Information available through your Facebook page and logging ascents directly through Facebook (see Facebook Publishing site article).
We have a small project underway to make crag and route information available through Google Earth.