Saturday, 31 August 2013

Fold back the unmapped world

Google mapping and Streetview is not considered new technology but has recently evolved to include more portable mapping devices. These backpack and bike mounted camera+gps devices will fold back the areas of the unmapped world and capture a snapshot of how places are.

Photo above from Google who used the backpack mounted "Trekker" to map the Grand canyon in USA.

Just like buses, wait for one mapping car then three come along at once.

The Streetview story is a geeky cocktail of  technology and a real determination to innovate in the mapping and visualisation of earth. Currently available in selected countries from all continents the mapping and remapping continues. With the combination of maps, Streetview and Satellite imagery the real joy is being able to locate and view a location from all different angles. When viewing the images be sure to note the Mapping/Image dates as places can change dramatically through the seasons and in a few years.



Monday, 5 August 2013

Exmoor Explorer 2013

Had a great if somewhat wet and tough time on the Exmoor Explorer this weekend. The 20+ mile mountain bike event that was entered by over 300 people starting from Minehead rugby club in North Devon.

Having not done an organised mountain bike event before I was not quite sure what to expect. Things did not get off to a great start as after the first climb the chain snapped but I was soon back on the trail with a bit of help from Toby with a chain tool. The event route was well selected just about every type of terrain Exmoor has to offer. Some of the downhills on lumpy grass track were perilous resulting in a roll in the heather ( and not in a good way).

The hardest part was getting up Dunkery beacon, the ground was vertical and the rain horizontal. Even after all that effort the view was just misty.  Other parts of the course were better as later on the rain cleared and stunning vistas across Exmoor opened up.

It's important to know your limitations and for me that was getting to the half way tea stop. Most of the return section seemed like an uphill struggle even if the profile shows otherwise. Cramp was biting and grit & mud had got in everywhere. However the best technical sections were on the return leg with a couple of glorious woodland trail descents, just needed a bit more oomph to make the best of them.

By the end of the day the back brake had faded, the rear gears were jamming but the tyres and wheels held up well. For next time I would prep the bike better, remove saddlebag and not bother taking cheese and pickle sandwiches. Flapjack, cake and tea were provided at the tea stop and end of the event. 

Overall was pleased to have finished in around 290 out of 380 position.  Thanks to the organisers for a great event.