drops Google Maps for OSM

This past week, Groundspeak announced that it’s switching away from Google Maps and to OSM (another announcement about the changes, explaining why). Looks like is responsible for something like 2,000,000 hits to Google Maps per day and Google wanted to start charging. Fair enough. But how does this change work in the real world?


I was playing around with some old footage from my GoPro and getting an animated map to follow my track. It’s not exactly how I’d like it, but it’s a little taste of what’s possible.

I used Sony Vegas HD Platinum 10 for my video editing. The animated map I created using ESRI’s ArcScene 10 (part of the ArcGIS 10 package) and a shapefile of Scooby that I traced over a GPS track (the large number of trackpoints in my actual GPS tracks makes ArcScene act a bit wonky). It’s not exactly feasible for most folks to make use of ArcScene, but as long as you can export your GPS flyover as an .avi file, you should be golden.

Revisiting Strava

Quite awhile ago, I posted my Giant GPS Data Sharing Site Shootout, and Strava was included in that review, and not reviewed well. Strava has been showing up in a lot of online discussions lately, and having a lot of favorable comments. It seems a lot of people are starting to use it, and some of those comments suggested that there have been some changes since my big review. That page is rather unweildy, so rather than add all of this there and make it worse, I thought I’d make a new post, and just put a link to it there.

Garmin Connect Brings Back Google Maps

Almost a year ago, I wrote about Garmin Connect switching to Bing maps. Well, it’s been a long time coming, but Garmin now allows users the option to choose between Bing or Google maps.

Garmin plays that up as, “This upgrade gives users more mapping options than ever before.” Really, this is how they should have implemented it from the beginning. And other services offer quite a few more maps. GMap4 and GPS Visualizer offer the most, and Garmin has much farther to go if they ever want to catch up to their competitors in this regard. Trimble Outdoors offers a decent selection of maps, also.


Talking to some other riders in the area about our mtb trail opportunities, I got a somewhat crazy idea about linking our area trails together in a big, long ride. I wanted to do it all via county roads, but looking at maps of the area, it became apparent an all-county-road route would not be possible. The problem: the Angelina River bottoms. Between Nacogdoches and Lufkin, there’s only one road that crosses them: US-59. Not the ideal road because of its 70mph speed limit, but it’d really be the only option unless we REALLY wanted to go out of our way and probably spend days riding. Not this time.

SFA Recreational Trails 3 September 2011

It’s been a long time since I’ve gone for a midday ride. It’s been so horrendously hot it’s not been worth it. But with Tropical Storm Lee in the area, we got clouds, wind, and cooler temperatures. I really would have preferred we get some rain along with it, but I’ll take what I can get at this point. I took advantage of the temps and went for a ride.

Some Run Logs

I’ve done a little bit of running here recently, and I haven’t logged any of it until now. In fact, the runs have been sitting on my GPS until today. The first one was back at the end of April…so it’s been awhile. I’ll start today and work backwards. Today was the Nacogdoches Blueberry 5k race done in conjunction with the Blueberry Festival. The race this year was to benefit the dog park some folks are working to get here in town. As such, they were very welcoming of dogs running the race. The route passed the aid station twice, giving the pups a couple chances to get a drink. All in all, I’d say the race was very well-done. The local police blocked off some roads for the runners, and thankfully we weren’t buried under a bunch of useless swag.

Upland Island Wilderness

I’ve been planning to visit the Upland Island Wilderness for awhile.  I ordered a map from MyTopo for this area last summer and I’ve been trying to get out here since.  On the 4th, with the wife out of town, I figured I’d go hike in the Upland Island Wilderness. I wanted to see the longleaf pine savannas and the spring-fed bogs at the exposures of the Catahoula Formation and photograph some of the carnivorous plants.

The trip didn’t work out how I had hoped. The trailhead area was pretty dilapidated. Something public isn’t available, but I don’t know what.

Bike Month Weeks 2 & 3 and Tyler State Park Apocalypse Ride

I didn’t post any updates for awhile and I apologize. I had finals to deal with and hardly went to the office at all. And when I did, there was bad weather brewing so I wound up driving. So Week 2 was a wash. I didn’t bike to work, but then again I hardly drove, either. Week 3 was another matter. I biked in most of the week but wound up driving a couple of days for inclement weather forecasts. The forecast bad weather those days didn’t end up happening until well after dark, so I felt cheated.

Davy Crockett Paddling Trail

The stretch of the Neches River between Anderson’s Crossing and Route 7 has been designated the Davy Crockett Paddling Trail recently. I paddled this stretch of the river a few years ago when I first moved to the area. The river was running high then (normal for this time of year). This year, it’s not running so high. My paddle hit the bottom on several occasions, but the water level is still plenty high for canoeing. I wouldn’t run a motor boat down this stretch anytime soon, though. Even at this pretty low level, it was much clearer of debris than I had anticipated. Other stretches of the river force you out of the boat often to clear downed trees. Someone keeps this stretch of river clear enough that you can always find a way to paddle around an obstacle.