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SF - new bike map?

Old 02-17-05, 02:19 PM
  #1  
jondrums
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SF - new bike map?

Hey all SF'ers, I've been thinking for a while about making a better bike map of SF. We all know about the bike coalition map with three colors for hill steepness, but I've been had by that map more than a few times. First I was thinking just take that map and put arrows on every grade so its clear which way the grade goes. That would be a big improvement. But then (being a techie) I realized that I would love a map that has the color gradation for a quick glance, but also has an arrow and a number associated with each block. Also it would be nice to have a street index on the back, and maybe even a "landmark" index for finding obscure spots during an alleycat or bus stops, bike lanes, whatever.

This may be a just a little over the top, but I want it. Anyone else wish they had something like this???

So, alls I need to do is get a really good topo of the city and overlay it with a really good street map. and go to town in illustrator. Anyone have any leads on an electronic copy of an SF topo map, and who knows which street map is the most complete?

Jon
ps. I may be out at the pagoda on sat, depends if I decide to go skiing or not...
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Old 02-17-05, 02:26 PM
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Yeah, so what I do is carry the bike coalition map along with the Muni map you can buy from the muni stations for like $5. That thing has an awesome ndex of streets. For points of interest I use the pop-out pocket map from American that has all the points of interest and a small index of streets as well.

Your idea is a good one. Would take some major time and riding, as there are a lot of points of interest that can only really be found by actually going there (Acme anyone?)....
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Old 02-17-05, 02:39 PM
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On second thought, what would even be more useful would be a set of laminated cards which, used together would make a map of the city. This would solve several problems:
- A full index of streets requires a large amount of space, as is apparent from the Muni map, the street names are in small font yet the map is huge to accomodate the index on the back.
- A good map needs to be big enough that you can read the street names, this makes operation of the map very cumbersome on a bike.
- A folding map degrades in quality every time it is used.
- A deck of cards would allow for an index of "points of interest" on the back of each card, and a few "master cards" that contained nothing but a street index.
- Laminating a folding map causes issues with the foldability, thus making the map even more cumbersome.
- Non-laminated maps succumb quickly to the elements.

I think this could be a really useful thing for bikers, walkers, and tourists. I wonder if anyone is already doing this...
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Old 02-17-05, 02:41 PM
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some maps are ptinted on tyvek now. which makes them pretty bomb-proof.
they don't tear, and they're waterproof, but they behave like paper.

i have a couple of backpacking maps like that, and i love 'em.
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Old 02-17-05, 03:03 PM
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I actually make maps, I would love to have some input. I can do 3D maps of SF as well but they can be hard to read. I can also do graduated colors for contours. There are many options and it sounds like a fun project.
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Old 02-17-05, 03:04 PM
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what about a shaded topo? those are pretty easy to read...
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Old 02-17-05, 03:05 PM
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i'm totally down to be part of this project... and i do have a digital streetmap file of SF in Illustrator. its not 100% complete because its a copy of the free tourist map they give out (the one with the whole middle of the city missing...)

but maybe its a start.

tyvek is a great idea, and i might also have access to printing oversize on some for tests... have to check.

as to the design: the gradation and arrows are a great idea. we'd have to be careful to not have to much on the map for readibility and clutter issues though.
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Old 02-17-05, 03:26 PM
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Maybe worth talking to the SF Bike Messenger Association about this, as two of them are actively working on a replacement for the Rand McNally Cross Street Guide for SF which is being discontinued.

See here for details:
http://sports.groups.yahoo.com/group...s/message/2799

Pretty easy to work out Lon's email address from the postings. I would get in contact with him and maybe the SFBC and you would have more than enough resources to pull it all together.

Just a thought.
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Old 02-17-05, 03:47 PM
  #9  
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i would be willing to do my share! if there is any! we can all contribute our experiences with various hills and routes to compile a map
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Old 02-17-05, 04:05 PM
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Take a closer look at the map. The blue lines are the topographic contours. Pretty easy to tell which way the grade goes. If it were shaded relief it might look cooler but it would make everything harder to read.

http://www.sfbike.org/download/map.pdf

-s
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Old 02-17-05, 05:32 PM
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I missed the blue topo stuff before! Good suggestions all. I'm going to try and email Lon to see what he/she has going so far. I love the tyvek idea, I'm going to see about what it takes to print onto tyvec. That stuff last forever.

My thought right now is to take the bike coalition map file, and edit it to include the arrows, and gradation markings. Then the real effort has to be to compile the index and let it completely cover the back side of the map. Can anyone think of other sources for landmark/index items besides what's found in:

Muni map (index)
American pop out map

dubteka, does your tourist map show points of interest, landmarks? does it have any index at all.

Anyone actually have one of the rand mcnally cross street guide?

jon
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Old 02-17-05, 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by jondrums
Can anyone think of other sources for landmark/index items besides what's found in:

Muni map (index)
American pop out map
There's the "Rough Guide": http://www.randmcnally.com/rmc/store...hdghf.0&cmty=0

Also, the "Inside/Out" guide: http://www.randmcnally.com/rmc/store...hdghf.0&cmty=0

Here is the pop-out map I got at American: http://www.randmcnally.com/rmc/store...hdghf.0&cmty=0

But really, if you want all the points of interest, there is no substitute to riding around and finding them. There are lots of things that just don't get included in those maps, because, really, who makes the call on what is/isn't interesting?
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Old 02-17-05, 05:43 PM
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On second thought, having a *number* for hill-steepness isn't really necessary. I think Color is an excellent way to communicate steepness. Just maybe a whole lot more than 3 shades of pink is what I'm thinking. Using color could help keep the clutter to a minimum. We wouldn't need the blue contour lines if there were arrows to indicate the uphill direction. I care a lot less about the absolute elevation, and a lot more about the relative elevation gain on a block by block basis...

Here's a question to y'all:

How important is it to know when there's a one-way street??? would we need a different way of notating one-way streets? Maybe a tiny icon of a "one-way" sign would do the trick.

Jon
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Old 02-17-05, 05:47 PM
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For one ways, put an arrow indicating direction after the street name. For steepness use color, like white, pink, red, purple, blue. That way you don't even need an arrow, since dark blue would be as high as the hill gets...
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Old 02-17-05, 05:50 PM
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I have the Topo USA maps of SF if they would help any...
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Old 02-18-05, 12:15 AM
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Not to rain on anybody's parade but take a look in the corner of the map where it reads:

"Reproduction of this map or any portion consitutes copyright infringement"

Also note that the PDF file is copyprotected and doesn't allow printing.

-s
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Old 02-18-05, 01:05 AM
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There are always around that. Let me see what I can do with the pdf.
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Old 02-18-05, 02:10 AM
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slider: you're right. I think I will want to talk to the bike coalition folks and see what they say. I'm not going to sell it, so I can't imagine they would be too pissed about it.

Judah: I don't think I get you with your last comment - even if you indicate how steep a hill is (defined by me to mean elevation gain / distance) you still need to indicate which way is uphill. I'm guessing that you mean you would indicate the absolute elevation with color - in which case you wouldn't need arrows, but it might be tougher to figure out how steep the hill is.

jon
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Old 02-18-05, 02:19 AM
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heres that layered Illustrator file:

illustrator 9 version
illustrator 9 version outlined
illustrator cs version
illustrator cs version outlined

its a tourist map, so its missing a bunch of streets west of divisadero, but it could be start (or not, might be missing too much)??

cynikal: any luck hacking that password on the .pdf?

i guess someone could just talk to the sf bike coalition, eh?
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Old 02-18-05, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by jondrums
Judah: I don't think I get you with your last comment - even if you indicate how steep a hill is (defined by me to mean elevation gain / distance) you still need to indicate which way is uphill. I'm guessing that you mean you would indicate the absolute elevation with color - in which case you wouldn't need arrows, but it might be tougher to figure out how steep the hill is.

jon
You got it. Indicate absolute elevation with color. It seems to me like it would be relatively easy to figure out steepness by the rate of change in color, for example, a street that goes from pink to red over the course of several blocks isn't that steep, whereas a street that goes from pink to purple in one or two blocks is pretty f'n steep.

We can talk about this over beers when we ride on saturday
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Old 02-18-05, 10:44 AM
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Haven't taken a good look at it yet. I'll let you know when I do.
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Old 02-18-05, 11:31 AM
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Just an outsider's opinion. This sounds like an interesting project, but who cares about absolute elevation unless you're concerned about oxygen availability or BASE jumping? I don't want to have to look at how quickly it goes from pink to red, I want to look and see if my route goes through a red zone.

It's easy, topo lines are evenly spaced by vertical rise. So what you'd do is overlay a grid on the map. In each square of the grid, count how many lines of increase or decrease it contains (ideally it's only one or the other or it gets really confusing trying to convey "climbs and descends").

For positive values (net rise), that total will represent a particular shade of some color (may I suggest red). For negative (net fall), it will represent a particular shade of some color (blue is a nice color). Shades nearest white represent least change, greater saturation represents more. I suppose you could do climbing and descending by coding a little different. Each rising line would be a notch of red, each descending line a notch of blue. The final color of the square is the mix of your rise and fall colors.

Now very quickly I can glance at various prospective routes and without having to do any mental juggling, I can easily compare amounts spent climbing (or descending) and how steep.

By the way, if any of you has access to GIS software and someone who knows how to use it, this should be pretty easy to make a computer do.
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Old 02-18-05, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by bostontrevor
Just an outsider's opinion. This sounds like an interesting project, but who cares about absolute elevation unless you're concerned about oxygen availability or BASE jumping? I don't want to have to look at how quickly it goes from pink to red, I want to look and see if my route goes through a red zone.

It's easy, topo lines are evenly spaced by vertical rise. So what you'd do is overlay a grid on the map. In each square of the grid, count how many lines of increase or decrease it contains (ideally it's only one or the other or it gets really confusing trying to convey "climbs and descends").

For positive values (net rise), that total will represent a particular shade of some color (may I suggest red). For negative (net fall), it will represent a particular shade of some color (blue is a nice color). Shades nearest white represent least change, greater saturation represents more. I suppose you could do climbing and descending by coding a little different. Each rising line would be a notch of red, each descending line a notch of blue. The final color of the square is the mix of your rise and fall colors.

Now very quickly I can glance at various prospective routes and without having to do any mental juggling, I can easily compare amounts spent climbing (or descending) and how steep.

By the way, if any of you has access to GIS software and someone who knows how to use it, this should be pretty easy to make a computer do.
My thought was do a graduated color based on the slope and have it as a transparent layer over the layered map file. I do have GIS software and do it for a living. I'm trying to track down a good DEM of the city to build contours from and measure slope variations.
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Old 02-18-05, 12:55 PM
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bostontrevor: Exactly!! except whos to say you're going up or down. That depends on what direction you're going to ride.... So you can't use red for up, and blue for down, unless you have a convention that you'll always ride a certain direction on a road, which doesn't seem to make sense.

cynikal: what's GIS - I'm assuming this is a sophisticated mapping software? I'd never heard of this, but your idea to make a layer of color indicating the slope is an awesome idea. Then we can just make the streets transparent. We may have to mess with the street name color so that its easy to read. Also it would be killer to be able to try a few different color schemes and see which are easiest to read. - I'm personally partial to white for nearly flat, and green, yellow, orange, red being a progression from flat to steep. Or maybe we don't need so many colors. I can't really tell without trying it out a little.

Jon
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Old 02-18-05, 12:58 PM
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I contacted Lon (on yahoo groups bike messenger forum) and here is his response for your edification...

Hey Jon-

Thank you for your interest! Yes, absolutely the
project is still ongoing - has been for nearly five
months now and I haven't even started the REAL
cartography yet. It's taking so long because Paul and
I want to make a genuine commercial go with this; and
for that, we need our own copyrighted map - which
means making our own from scratch.

...ok, I was about to mention the map available from
the SFBC, but I just went through that discussion
thread and see that it's been well covered...

First. We intend to include grade information in a
manner similar to the SF Bike & Walking Guide. This is
an exceptionally useful map that many messengers use
along with their Crossstreets. Many have expressed the
want of aspect <grade direction> info. We really
haven't figured out how to address this one yet.
Manually adding 'arrows' on individual blocks is
extraordinarily prohibitave as there are close to 20k
individual 'blocks' in SF. That said, I've considered
the possibility <and technical challenge> of idicating
aspect with a chevron of 'negative space' in the grade
color. This, for the sake of clarity and cleanliness.

Next. The crossstreet index. This is not a street
index that will fit on one or two sheets of paper;
it's an index of a street's cross street for any given
block. In the Crossstreet Directory of old, the vast
majority of the book was comprised of the index, with
the center twenty pages or so being the actual map
<which was a terrible map at that>. The index was/has
been invaluable to messengers, the map often only
needed to locate some esoteric street or alley. Rand
McNally's index survives in their Thomas Guide of SF.
Even in this 'enormous' 8 1/2" x 11" book, the index
takes up 35 pages of very small print. Basically, the
actual map, while important and neccesary, is almost
secondary.

Uhm. Oh, points of interest, landmarks? There's plenty
of tourist maps that fill that niche. We did breifly
debate on whether to include Maritime Plaza on the map
<an old messenger inside joke>. Or the 1500 block of
Montgomery?

Printing. We're a ways from that bridge, but Paul has
some ideas. Tyvek and laminated pages, while great
ideas, would make for Crossstreet that we'd have to
sell for $35 rather than the $7.95 that Rand McNally's
sold for; and, we'd probably still lose our shirts.
Besides, how would we ever get repeat customers if we
made the things indistructable?

This is a project born of love and neccesity. Rand
McNally took away one of a messenger's most valuable
tools, the ones we still have quickly disolving into
tatters. A replacement needed to be made and by who
better than the ones who've relied on it most. While
we're at it, we figured, why not improve it. For one
thing, the last Crossstreet published was last updated
in 1992!

I'm not registered at bikeforums, so do feel free to
repost this.

-Lon
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