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Last month the IMBA Communications team visited the National Ice Core Lab, a facility that houses approximately 17,000 meters of ice core samples available for scientists to study climate change.

NICL is managed by the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the agency that IMBA and MTB Project partnered  with in 2014 to provide trails data to USGS products like the National Map and US Topo quadrangle maps. The three organizations met in February to update each other on their latest projects as well as improving the processes by which they share data.

In addition to the Ice Core Lab tour, the group also visited the Map Separates division to see how maps were made prior to the digital era. Some long-term USGS staff regaled the group with stories about trips into the field to survey lands with manual techniques.

“Although field work is still very much an important part of the process, the means by which we collect data now has changed dramatically” remarked Mapping Manager Leslie Kehmeier. “Thankfully, we can capture the entire experience and not just the lines on the map”.

IMBA looks forward to a continued partnership with MTB Project and USGS. To get involved with IMBA’s crowd sourcing effort and to help get mountain bike trails onto US Topo maps, be sure to share trail data, descriptions, and ratings on

And, if you want to see the data you’ve already contributed, check US Topo maps via the Map Locator and Downloader.

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