Thursday, May 24, 2007

Bolder Boulder

The Bolder Boulder 10k race is happening again this Memorial Day Monday. I created a map that shows you the route overlaid with Boulder Bike Paths so you can know where to ride/avoid during the race. I understand that up to 50,000 people run the race so vehicular traffic will be crazy. But I suspect you should be able to navigate the Bike Paths without a problem.

Click here for the map.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Boulder Bike Path Composite Map

I have put together a composite map of Boulder Bike Path here. It will open a map in Google maps that by default shows many of the main Boulder bike paths. On the left hand side of the map you will see various layers (eg., Flooding Potential, Graffiti, Interesting Sites/Sights). By default those are invisible to keep map clutter to a minimum. But you can easily turn those layers visible or invisible by clicking on the little boxes to the left of their names.

The nice thing about this map is that it is dynamic (technically, it makes use of KML network link functionality). That means that if I add a new feature to the Flooding Potential My Maps map, then it will automatically be added to the composite map the next time a viewer refreshes the composite map.

Keep coming back (or subscribe to the RSS feed) to see what new information I have added.


Friday, May 18, 2007

Fox, rabbits, graffiti and murals on the bike paths

When you slow down a bit to enjoy the scenery along the path you notice many interesting things.

The most obvious (unfortunately) seems to be the graffiti. Luckily, the city of Boulder has an online facility repair request form where you can report the graffiti. (There are a few other places on my route that I want to get the location/pictures and then I will report this list to the city.)

But more beautiful (and surprising) are the little hidden treasures along the way. This morning as I was cycling to work I noticed murals on underpass walls, little "rest areas" at the fork of two paths and wildlife. On the Boulder Creek path east of Foothills Parkway I noticed at least 5 rabbits munching away at the side of the path. That explains the sightings that I and my colleagues have had of a fox in that area. Click here for a map (click on the icons on the map to see pictures) of some of these sightings.


Thursday, May 17, 2007

Boulder Bike Path Flooding Hazards

Thanks to the kind folks at New West Boulder for their plug on my Boulder Bike Paths on Google Maps project. Richard mentions

Even better would be to add on-street bike routes to the designated paths – so if you're going to Proto's Pizza on North Broadway, for instance, you could see which streets have bike lanes to get up there.

That is definitely in the works.

On another note... when you are cycling on the paths near any of the creeks, please remember to watch the water levels after a rain. Flash flooding is a real hazard here in Boulder. The City of Boulder has a press release stating that Boulder Creek flows are set to increase soon. This is a result of excess water from Barker Reservoir up in Nederland being released into Boulder Creek.

If you are interested in which parts of the bike path network might be more prone to flooding, have a look at the City of Boulder flood maps.

Even if we do not have a flood event, sometimes a bike path underpass next to the creek can cause problems. Click here for a map of flooding hazards that I have noticed on my daily commute.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Boulder Bike Paths on My Maps goals

One of the nice things of having the Boulder Bike Paths available on My Maps is that I can then do a search for a cafe, store, location, etc and when the Google Maps shows that location, it will also overlay the Bike Path network and presto, I can see which bike paths I need to travel on to get to my destination.

I am hoping that my experiment will accomplish a number of things:
  • make it easier for people to see how they can get to destinations on designated bike routes
  • try my hand at Web 2.0 concepts -- it would be nice if other bike path users would also use My Maps to augment the current bike path map and then send me their KML data for inclusion in the larger map
  • eventually this could be done for bike path networks in other locations
  • and my final goal is for Google to take notice and include bike networks as a searchable/traceable (ie., directions) dataset in their Maps offerings
  • and do it all without paying a penny for servers or applications (using GooglePages, My Maps and Blogspot).

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Google Map of Boulder Bike Paths

One of the first projects I want to work on is a Google Map of all the Bike Facilities in the city of Boulder, Colorado, USA. I could also use your help (please see below).

It would initially be based off the map found here (8MB PDF here).

The final output would be a KML file that can be viewed in a number of different ways.

The advantage of this is that you can then use tools like Google Maps or Google Earth to view the bike path network together with your Google searches. For example, you likely know how to search for the South Side Walnut Cafe. Using the Google Maps tool you can also find directions about how to get there on the road network. But if you are not familiar with the bike paths in that area and you want to take your family there with your bikes, then would it not be nice to have an overlaid map showing how to get to the cafe via the bike paths.

In that case, you would first select the Boulder Bike Paths Google Map page and when prompted, search for "South Side Walnut Cafe". Now your results will be overlaid with the Boulder Bike Path map. Pretty neat, eh?

You could also install Google Earth on your desktop and download the corresponding Boulder Bike Paths KML file for you to use with Google Earth.

I need your help
If you have time to digitize additional Boulder Bike Paths into KML format, you could do that and then send me the KML file. I will keep a composite of all the KML files and try to arrange them by groups (bike path name/type). It might also be interesting to have bike path points of interest included on separate layers.

Tools that I used to create KML files:
  • and then create new "My Maps"
  • Google Earth to compile the KML layers
You can contact me at

alfred [dot] sawatzky [at] gmail [dot] com

if you have questions or want to contribute.