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Get your maps ready for winter activities

It's always important to get outside and keep active in winter. It's even more important this year, since we'll have limited options for indoor activities, especially if there are further COVID restrictions.

Some cities, like Ottawa and Guelph, have maps showing which paths and trails are cleared in winter - or cyclists, pedestrians, and mobility devices. Municipal GIS departments likely have this information already, so consider adding a layer to your interactive cycling maps on your websites. Or you can have a separate winter active transportation map if you don't want to add more layers to your existing map.


Here's a detail image of the downtown area on Guelph's bike map. The snowflake symbol indicates routes that are cleared in winter. The hazard symbol indicates rail crossing dangers for cyclists.

detail of downtown area on Guelph bike map

If you've been working on map updates but are delaying finishing them because you're adding a lot of new infrastructure, consider publishing what you already have. You can make sure people know it's a draft version and add it to your site as a PDF download, or add it to the Avenza Maps store.

Avenza Maps

In the last newsletter I talked about options for keeping your maps up-to-date, even when you're not ready to do a full print-run of your map. Of course there's Google Maps, but I also introduced you to Avenza Maps. This is a free app for Android and iOS that allows you to download georeferenced maps to your phone so you can use your phone's GPS to navigate.

The wonderful thing about this app is that you can put your own custom maps in their Map Store. I don't know about you, but I have difficulty navigating with Google Maps on my phone when I'm out cycling or walking - as I zoom in to see street names, the labels shrink! Not so with maps in this app.

Go to www.avenzamaps.com to see what maps are available for your area before you download the app. I encourage you to find maps of your city and try them out this winter, and it'll give you an idea of how important a tool this can be for residents and tourists alike.

I've added Guelph's bike map to my Avenza Maps vendor page, so if you're in the area, download it and check it out!

Brochure Templates

If you're working on your own active transportation maps for print, I'm offering free PDF templates to help you get started. There are a few templates in letter, legal, and tabloid size.

Let me know if you're interested in a template but don't see the size you need. I can create one and add it.

Read more on our blog

In case you missed it, I published a blog post last winter on some things to consider when making an active transportation map. There are other posts about cycling and other city maps that may interest you.

And you may have noticed some city park maps on my Avenza vendor page - I'm working on a series of georeferenced maps for large city parks, to help people find facilities and trails while exploring new parks.

Victoria Park, Kitchener - facilities map
Waterloo Park facilities map

I hope that the information in this newsletter has given you some ideas on how you can add information to your existing maps, whether print or digital, to help people get outside and keep active this winter. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions or want some advice. 

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