Monthly Archives: February 2007

Mapping parties

A fortnight ago was the OpenStreetMap London mapping party. It was the first mapping party I had been to – but it was on the weekend that my snowboarding trip finished, so I wasn’t sure how much of it I was going to make. As it turned out, I got there on the Saturday in time to join everyone in the pub – and after getting up late (and hungover) the following morning, we only had enough time to fill in some blanks along either side of Oxford Street. Dave (in green, second from right) had done more during the day on Saturday.

Mapping parties are weird, because whilst we’re all being sociable and working together on a project, when we’re actually out doing stuff, it goes back to a solitary pursuit. But getting to put names to faces in the pub is always worth it!

I’m not sure if I’m going to go to the Bristol event on the weekend after next, but I’m interested in the “Pathways of Desire” party next month – it sounds a bit different from the urban mapping I normally do, without being inconveniently far away from London!

Oh, and the picture of Putney on my GPS is currently the Featured Image on the front page of the OSM wiki, as well as having been favourited by someone on flickr – both of which I’m quite proud of!


I really am trying to write more often; it’s just that I keep getting distracted by going out and doing things….

Red snow at night

Last weekend I got back from a week of learning to snowboard in Les Arcs 1800, in the French Alps. Really good fun, although pretty painful – the first few days were just warm enough for everything to go slushy during the day, and then freeze solid at night. It snowed heavily on the Wednesday and then stayed between -5°C and -18°C for the rest of the week – but by that time the damage was done, and I had to pull out of our final day’s expedition to La Plagne since I was in agony every time I sat down…

Everyone there (and people like Hickman who went elsewhere) can only talk about one thing – the growing problem of a lack of snow in Europe. It’s getting pretty noticeable, and there were grand plans in Les Arcs to vastly expand their artificial snow making capacity (including building a big reservoir) – it’s ironic, of course, how much power gets consumed trying to paper over the effects of climate change.

Apart from that, the resort was great, especially the Double Mountain burgers in the Tex Mex place we (eventually) found – I might have had them two or three times during the week. The instructors were cool too – François and especially Hervey, who pranced around on his board looking like a ballerina, distinguishable from kilometres away as he leaned back and forth with his arms outstretched (“I go to the pylon, I go to the chalet. I go to the pylon…”). Both were on that verge of making things look exasperatingly easy, but I was getting there by the end of the week and it was fun, even if I did suck a bit!

I haven’t got any photos of the group of us snowboarding, since I didn’t really fancy taking an SLR on the slopes – but Paul Stark had his camera, so you can see his photos instead. I especially like the group photo – now all we need is an album, and that can be the cover!