It’s a quiet Saturday morning at our place. My daughter is sitting quietly(!) on the couch, playing with my tablet. My wife is sleeping, and I’m enjoying my first coffee of the day as I log onto Mastodon.
Things were pretty quiet in the Fediverse overnight, so my first instinct was to point my browser somewhere else… until I remembered that I’m not here solely to be entertained, I’m here because I wanted to be part of the community. So, I re-opened the federated timeline and started reading a little more in-depth.
I found a couple of posts to be rather timely. Someone was posting about decluttering, which is what we’re doing here at home today as well. We’ve accumulated a ton of stuff that should be repurposed, recycled, or donated – some electronics, some old clothes, but mostly toys and kid stuff that our daughter has outgrown. She’s been spoiled rotten by pretty much everyone, being the only grandchild on both sides of the family.
But, the cleanup won’t start until my wife gets up, so to kill time, I pointed my browser to OpenStreetMap. I’ve been a Google Maps junkie for the past couple of years, and really wanted a Free/Open/Libre option over Google’s commercial model.
OSM surprised me on two levels: they have a decent Cycling map, which includes (and designates!) the Trans Canada Trail, and they have topographical markings underneath everything. I’d never noticed the topographical layer underneath before, so I’ve made a point to clean my laptop screen (and glasses) more often as the markings are very faint.
I’ve frequently used Google Maps to plan, plot, and tweak my cycling routes to various destinations, trying to find routes that offer the best combination of efficiency, scenery, and safety, preferably along routes without a lot of traffic. While my area is a quiet, low traffic area (we’re in the West-North-West portion of the map above), I’ll typically need to forge across/along at least one major artery to get where I want. Google Maps (and now OSM) helps me to avoid inconvenience and/or death!
While the topographical feature isn’t particularily useful in a relatively flat city like Winnipeg, it does help immensely when plotting routes outside of the city and along the trails. I’m teaching myself how to read a topo map so I can more readily plot efficient routes: by identifying hills, drops, climbs, and which areas are likely to flood (or retain pools of run-off water) during spring thaw or our annual floods. All because some fool decided, ~130 years ago, to build a city on a flood plain at the confluence of two major rivers.
Not that I’m complaining, mind. I love this city and (most of) my 3/4 million or so neighbours…
Well, sounds like Mrs. IPX is awake. Time to put on another pot of coffee and get to cleaning.