A momentous day is upon us.
You--my dear friend--are witness to the inaugural post for the Sierra Mapper web application.
Grab a cup of coffee, cozy up to your phone/tablet/computer, and let's chat a little bit about what Sierra Mapper is.
So what even is this thing? This "Sierra Mapper"?
Patience, dear reader. Like most bloggers, I'm going to tell you a long-winded, self-absorbed story to answer your simple question.
Like many great ideas, this one was born from some blurry amalgam of little pieces of things that I noticed were missing.
From seeing online forum-goers, wordily describing hiking routes in the Sierra Nevada to other forum goers:
"Yeah, head up Paradise Valley, but instead of crossing Wood's Creek, keep going north, and then maybe 1/4 mile before the Baxter Pass junction--that's the first main junction--..."
A highlighted map would communicate this far better. But where could one get a highlighted map?
From trying to plan routes in the Sierra--using spreadsheets, and Tom Harrison maps, and lots and lots of time. And still not being able to easily figure out elevation profiles. Looking in disdain at my DeLorme Topo 9.0 DVD--that should help with this--but it won't run on Linux, which is my OS of choice these days. Damnit. Why isn't there a web app that can do this?
From a lot of clicking in CalTopo:
"I can put my route in here, perfect!"
"Switchbacks...my god, this is a lot of clicking"... click-click-clickclick.
How many people have already clicked this route in? How many have to before we find a better way?
The fix--for all those things--and more, is Sierra Mapper.
I still don't get it--what is Sierra Mapper? Some kind of web app?
I actually wasn't finished--I was pausing for dramatic effect.
But yes--it is some kind of web app.
The awesome kind, because it's free, and it's useful, and--while not perfect--does those things above.
|An excerpt from the output of a route through Evolution Basin. Highlighted map on the left, beautifully labelled profile on the right. Well done, sir. Well done.|
Okay, so how can I use it?
To get to the web app, just click on "Go to the Web App" below the banner on this very blog. Or navigate to https://awhite4777.pythonanywhere.com/SierraMapper/default/start. Once there, click on "Instructions" in the lower left for a brief run-down--I hope you find it is quite straightforward.
Is the web app finished?
Oh--oh no. No, no no. Absolutely not.
It is far--very far--from finished. It is a fawn, with knees-knocking--looking at the world with wide-eyed curiosity. It doesn't know what it will become, and the world doesn't know what to think of it yet.
And it's probably pretty buggy.
But it works well enough to share at this point, so I implore you, dear reader, to try it out.
And please leave me feedback--what works, what doesn't work, which trails you'd like to see added--where you'd like it to go from here.
You can contact me either by leaving a comment here, or by using the contact form to the right.
This is getting pretty long winded.
I have much more to say, but I will acquiesce, and defer it to later posts.
Now go forth, learned reader! Map routes and compare routes in the glorious Sierra Nevada with minimal clicking! And gaze in awe at beautiful profiles!