Introducing free local park maps
For the past couple of weeks I've been working on designs and templates for maps of large city parks in Waterloo Region. People are spending a lot of time outdoors, partly because of the beautiful summer weather, and partly because we are avoiding indoor spaces, and I wanted to find some way to help people enjoy our beautiful parks.
These maps will help you locate trails, bike racks, public washrooms, and other facilities while you're out exploring. When I mentioned to friends that I was working on this, they told me they wished they had a detailed map like this on their phone to help them find some park facilities.
These will be available for download from Avenza Maps, a large map store with many free and low-cost maps, which has apps for Android and iPhone. When you download maps to your phone in the app, you can view them offline and also see your GPS location on the map. The nice thing about offline maps like this is that you can zoom in on your phone to see details that might be too small on a Google Map.
First up is Victoria Park in downtown Kitchener:
I downloaded data from the Region of Waterloo OpenData portal to show roads around the park, trails (including the Iron Horse), bike parking, washrooms, public art, and more.
I've just started working on the Waterloo Park map and will also be using the Region's Open Data for most of the information on the map. I might also look at adding OpenStreetMap data, to add bike rack locations, picnic sites, and other details that I haven't been able to find in the Open Data.
This is what a map looks like before it's been edited or styled. I did apply colour to the Waterloo Park boundaries, but I still have to go through the rest of the data and take out lines and points that aren't relevant for a park map.
Walter Bean Grand River Trail
I've also started playing around with Natural Scene Designer software to make terrain imagery for some trail maps.
I started working on this map of the Walter Bean Trail a while ago but put it on hold. I took my bike along that trail and parts of it near my end of town are pretty much unusable, but it is being scheduled for repair. In the meantime, I'll turn my attention to other local trails for similar maps.
After Victoria and Waterloo parks, I'll look at other large city parks in the region and surrounding areas that have trails and other facilities where people might want to spend an afternoon. On my list so far are:
- Bechtel Park
- Breithaupt Park
- Meinzinger, Lakeside, and Concordia Parks
- McLennan Park
- Riverside Park in Cambridge
- Riverside Park in Guelph
- Churchill Park in Cambridge