Overland Junction

Discussion in 'Vendors' started by Iain Harper, Feb 9, 2016.

  1. Iain Harper

    Iain Harper Following a new route to adventure

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    Hi All,

    As many of you have seen in Facebook-land and elsewhere, last week I launched a new adventure motorcycling resource called Overland Junction. All the feedback received so far has been really positive and encouraging, so I hope you guys like it just as much.

    Let me say right up front that it’s not a magazine, an event, or a discussion forum. There are lots of great examples of all of those already (like here for instance), so the intention is to offer something a little different that's useful in its own way.

    Overland Junction includes content from contributors around the world, acts as a platform for research (into things like hard vs soft luggage and the ideal spec for a RTW motorcycle) and will be supporting four non-profit organizations that have motorcycling at their heart. Behind the scenes, Overland Junction provides brand communications services to businesses in the adventure motorcycling industry.

    However, the two things I most wanted to tell you about are the map-based archive of motorcycle adventures called Milestones and the discount on membership for ADVrider forum inmates.

    As you’ll see, every Milestone on the map links to an existing blog, video, forum report (like those in Epic Rides), or social media post about riding in that location. The idea is to provide a way for folk to chart their trail riding, touring, and traveling adventures in geographical context with those of others - and in association with the brands they choose to use. Milestones is completely free to browse and search. Subscribing members can add their own Milestones to the map. It’s early days of course, but I hope it’ll become a useful resource for trip planning and bike/gear research.

    There are membership options for both individual riders (free or $3 per month) and businesses.

    Here’s a quick run-down on some of the benefits of membership:

    - You can add your own riding Milestones to the map. Each one includes a photo, description, link to your blog/report/post, GPS coordinates of the pinned location, the bike and gear brands you were using at the time, links to your social media profiles, and you can embed a video too if you wish.

    - When you find Milestones you’d like to refer back to (when you’re planning a trip for example), you can add them to your personal ‘Favorites’ list.

    - If you run your own blog or website, you'll know the value of links in terms of direct traffic and search engine optimization. If that’s the case, you’ll be pleased to hear that the main link in each Milestone is set to be ‘followed’ by search engines.

    - If you've been fortunate enough to receive some kind of sponsorship, being able to highlight the brands you use will be a valuable way of giving them exposure.

    In the finest tradition of the Vendors Forum, I’d like to offer ADVrider members a 10% discount off any of the premium levels of Milestone membership. To take advantage of this offer (there’s no expiry to it), please click the following link, choose your membership option, and enter the discount code ADVINMATES (all one word, all capital letters) during the checkout process:

    http://bit.ly/advinmates

    Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoy using the site.

    By the way, if you’re going to Overland Expo West near Flagstaff this May, stop by the Overland Junction booth in the Moto Village to say hello.

    Cheers
    #1
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  2. davidlomax

    davidlomax Been here awhile

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    I've been keeping an eye out for this post for a while.

    Firstly, from the perspective of a company who makes content and wants to share it with riders for free (Lyndon Poskitts 'Races to Places Project') the Milestones map is really cool. Like a simple visual search engine that lets riders really quickly access information on the ground about a particular location. Kind of like a Google Earth for adventure riders!. We've had a go and liked it so much we've committed to some Milestones for our projects.

    Secondly, as someone who is approached for trip sponsorship almost every day I look for ways that differentiate one offer from another. Often, I read some amazing blogs and threads, but I find them by trawling through all kinds of stuff, or weird Facebook links etc...and they usually have a really low view count considering the quality content. From a Sponsors point of view I ideally want the people I sponsor to look after exposing their own media because that's how I get a return on my partnerships. For me this is a great visual way of doing that in a simple point and click format. Once you start browsing the thing you lose hours of your life! If enough people get on board I can see the commercial value from the Adventure Spec perspective and from the Sponsored rider perspective.

    BUT, the real winner here is everyone else who can spend their time browsing the world at their leisure using a geographically mapped search engine bringing together blogs, film, product reviews etc. all totally dedicated to Adventure Riding for free!

    If it takes off it will be a sweet way to spend a wet pre-trip Sunday afternoon

    Dave (Adventure Spec)
    #2
  3. Travelling Sam

    Travelling Sam Travelling Sam

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    Phew, well this is a post and a half. If you’d asked me a year ago if I expected anything like this to come on the scene… Well, I wouldn’t have even remotely have considered the possibilities.

    However, I’ve known about the development of Overland Junction for the past few months or so, and Iain Harper has, from time to time, used me to bounce some of his ideas off. Kind of honoured about that! When he first started talking about Overland Junction I wasn’t sure though. After all, our needs as adventure biker riders and overlanders are pretty well cared for now aren’t they? I thought so.

    But he’s really surprised me with what he has just launched! Far greater depth than I’d expected, very different, so much more useful and amazingly user friendly!

    I think you guys are going to be as impressed as I am. Iain is one of the most level-headed, yet passionate about adventure motorcycling and overlanding people you could ever wish to meet. He has his finger very firmly on the pulse and has way more than enough skills to make something like Overland Junction work amazingly well. Great news for all of us methinks. What a resource this already is, and as it grows even more… Fantastic.

    What do I like? Got an hour? As a taster, check out Naomi Tweddle’s tale of the Colorado BDR

    I also like the way that Overland Junction is going to allow us to easily keep an eye on kit developments and comparisons.

    My ears perked up when Iain mentioned being able to do a bit of payback for sponsors of kit. An honour and honesty thing? I don’t believe that sponsored kit is ‘something for nothing’.

    I really like the Milestones aspect – check out Rachel and Ed's tale of their first day on the TAT while you are there. For trip planning purposes Milestones is excellent. (Raised eyebrows about those on the TAT on two falling to bits Honda 90s apart) Want to know more? Just go to the map or you could even start off with the FAQ page!

    What else do I think? Got another hour? :) But seriously, one of the key things is that there are great tales to be told and this site is bringing some of the best advice and info together in one place.!

    And if you are going to Overland Expo West, well, do stop off to have a natter with Iain. I think you’ll like the bloke! And on that note I'd better get back to work. Enjoy exploring!
    #3
  4. Iain Harper

    Iain Harper Following a new route to adventure

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    Wow! That's high praise indeed - thanks guys :)
    #4
  5. Travelling Sam

    Travelling Sam Travelling Sam

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    Overlanders Graham Field, Shirley Hardy-Rix, Brian Rix, Grant Johnson and I recorded the next Adventure Rider Radio RAW session last night with Jim Martin (what a superb presenter he is!). This monthly session, which discusses all sorts of things adventure motorcycle and overlanding, is a lot of fun. I was really pleased to have the chance to mention Overland Junction as my 'Pick of the month'. Glad to have the chance to help spread the word!
    #5
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  6. Iain Harper

    Iain Harper Following a new route to adventure

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    Sam already mentioned the article by Naomi Tweddle about a North-to-South ride down the COBDR. These two are also proving to be popular reads:

    - A Day In Iraq (making a u-turn on the road to Mosul) by Graham Field

    - Has Adventuring Gone Too Far? (a personal perspective) by Rick Pannemann

    If you have comments/questions about either of them (or anything else on the site), feel free to post them here.
    #6
  7. Iain Harper

    Iain Harper Following a new route to adventure

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    mrwwwhite added a couple of new Milestones to the map earlier about heading Into the D.R.C. and a Siberian Shakedown. They're both great examples of what makes up a Milestone, but I really liked the video he included about the ride in Russia so thought I'd share it here too...



    I'll post something later on about how the search and filter options work with the map.
    #7
  8. Iain Harper

    Iain Harper Following a new route to adventure

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    I thought it might be helpful to explain a bit more about the features of the Milestones map and how the search and filter functions work.

    When you first visit the map, you'll get a view of the whole world with all the Milestones at once. It currently looks something like the image below. Even now, but especially as the number of Milestones increases, this zoomed-out view is only useful in illustrating the 'big picture' of the journeys riders have made and it's no surprise that the classic routes are prominent - like the Pan American Highway, TAT, the Eastern route from Cairo to Cape Town, and the road to Magadan across the 'stans, Mongolia, and Russia.


    advrider-map.jpg

    The map is based on Google Maps, so it does all the things you're used to Google Maps doing - like double-clicking to zoom in, geolocation, click and drag to move, and StreetView.

    Clicking on a Milestone pin opens a summary box with a 'read more' button. Click the button to view the full detail of that Milestone.

    The different colours and shapes of the pins represent how the Milestones have been categorised. The dark red pins represent Jupiter's Travellers (of The Ted Simon Foundation) for instance, while the grey ones are for brands. On the left-hand side of the map (when you're viewing it on the site) there's a 'Quick Filter' option that lets you display one category at a time with a single click.

    You can do keyword and address searches, but I think it's the 'Filter' options where things start to get really useful. Here's what the 'Search & Filter' panel look like so you can see the filters available...


    advrider-search.jpg

    I guess they're self-explanatory, but here are a few examples of how filters can help you find Milestones that interest you...

    - By Continent, Country, or State: e.g. Asia

    - Narrow that down to just show trips on BMW motorcycles in Asia

    - Narrow it down even more to show BMW riders on trips in Asia wearing Forma boots

    - Or going back to the world view, using the tag filter to show all Milestones that featured border crossings

    Tip: Don't try to be too specific with lots of filters all at once (you'll likely get no results at all at this stage). Start with one filter and then refine from there.

    Any questions, please ask.
    #8
  9. Iain Harper

    Iain Harper Following a new route to adventure

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    As well as Milestones and article content, Overland Junction hosts long-term research surveys related to adventure motorcycling. These aren't simple yes/no polls - they'll tend to go into quite a lot of depth on a topic. Here's how the website introduces them...

    "QUEST is a platform for independent, quantitative research into the opinions, preferences, and experiences of adventure and dual sport motorcyclists.... surveys are brand-independent unless otherwise stated and participation is always completely anonymous. Each survey consists of a series of multiple-choice questions. Once a survey has closed, Overland Junction will analyse the responses and publish a summary of its findings."

    The intention is to provide statistically useful data - freely and openly - to the industry and riding community.

    There are three active surveys at the moment and I'd like to encourage everyone to take part. Of the three, the one about specifying your ideal RTW motorcycle is the longest with 29 questions. It'll take no more than 10 minutes to complete (and probably a lot less).
    #9
  10. Iain Harper

    Iain Harper Following a new route to adventure

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    Of the new Milestones added to the map today, a couple jumped out as great examples of some of the different ways Milestones can be used.

    "The City of White Marble" by João Fernandes is about riding solo in Turkmenistan and links to a photo on his Facebook page from July 2015. He's been able to use the Milestone format to tell a bit of a story about the place in the photo and to put it in geographical context - in a more extensive and 'findable' way than he could on Facebook itself. This is also a good example of using Milestones to re-highlight old content.

    "Reckless Driving and a Festival in Tamil Nadu" by Norman and Maggie Magowan is mainly about dealing with India's notorious traffic chaos. The Milestone links to the blog they published today, which tells the whole tale of this section of their journey, and the bike and gear brands Norman and Maggie use are listed.

    Why is listing brands useful? Well let's say you were thinking of buying a new pair of Forma boots for a long trip in a hot climate and wanted to know how they performed. Having used the Milestones map to identify riders wearing that brand of boots in hot parts of the world (like Norman in this example), you could read their blogs/reports/posts to see what they said about the product and make contact to get some direct feedback.

    Linking to established blogs or ride reports is probably the most common way of using Milestones and it can become part of the blogging (or ride reporting) routine: 1) write a blog; 2) publish it; 3) Milestone it; 4) share both the blog and the Milestone on social media to let people know about it.
    #10
  11. Iain Harper

    Iain Harper Following a new route to adventure

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    #11
  12. Iain Harper

    Iain Harper Following a new route to adventure

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    The MCN Motorcycle Show has been on at London's Excel Arena for the past three days and featured a dedicated "Adventure Zone" organized by Nathan Millward. This short video gives a taste of what it was all about.....


    #12
  13. Iain Harper

    Iain Harper Following a new route to adventure

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  14. Iain Harper

    Iain Harper Following a new route to adventure

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    Madagascar Beckons .... for the dozen finalists announced today by Touratech in Germany for their "United People of Adventure" ride in Madagascar.
    #14
  15. Iain Harper

    Iain Harper Following a new route to adventure

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    Ara Gureghian asks Who Owns Your Helmet Time?... and shares his thoughts on the pros and cons of sponsorship in adventure motorcycling.

    What are your views?
    #15
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  16. Iain Harper

    Iain Harper Following a new route to adventure

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    A thought-provoking article went online earlier by Ed Gill, who's traveling from London to Sydney on a Yamaha Tenere. It's a perspective on the big vs small adventure bike debate based on Ed's experience of riding a 350cc Royal Enfield in India.
    #16
  17. Iain Harper

    Iain Harper Following a new route to adventure

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    Are you going to Overland Expo West near Flagstaff, Arizona, this May? This Q&A with the organisers went online today and covers what adventure riders can expect from the event. Here's a brief extract...

    "Both BMW and KTM will have big presences at the show, with KTM bringing a full suite of a dozen bikes that riders will be able to test ride. We also have a great lineup of new classes for motorcyclists, especially in the technical get-prepared-for-adventure genre. We’re also very excited about some great new adventure motorcycle films and programs that will be featured in the evenings, including the new New Mexico Backcountry Discovery Route film by Sterling Norën."

    "This year we’re offering a full schedule of riding classes taught by RawHyde Adventures (be sure to bring your own bike); hands-on workshops presented by seasoned motorcyclists, including renowned female motorcyclist Tiffany Coates; and presentations from a variety of locations, such as Sam Manicom’s recent trip to Norway or Simon & Lisa Thomas’s round the world travels. There’s also a special Happy Hour with Ted Simon, where people can grab a beer and sit and chat with Ted."


    #17
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  18. Iain Harper

    Iain Harper Following a new route to adventure

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    Partly following the theme of Ed Gill's article on Friday, Simon Thomas has contributed a short article (with some great photos) about his own thoughts on the question of What Is An Adventure Bike?
    #18
  19. Iain Harper

    Iain Harper Following a new route to adventure

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    A cool new story has just gone online courtesy of J. Brandon about his recent Baja trip with Dave Creech on a pair of KLR650s. Read "Es Todo Bien" here...
    #19
  20. Iain Harper

    Iain Harper Following a new route to adventure

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    It's no accident that Tiffany Coates is referred to as, "the foremost female motorcycle adventurer." Tiffany's begun to chart some of the blogs from her travels as Milestones, including this one about riding on Easter Island - easily the most unusual and remote Milestone on the map so far!
    #20
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