Discovering more about Swindon or ‘I love to go a geowandering … ‘
Friday 31st January 2014
Well here we are, getting settled into a new year and a new month. With all that ‘newness’ here’s new guest post. This one comes from the keyboard of Jess Robinson, who is a web developer, programmer – one of those ‘techie’ types who speak a foreign language – who you can find on Twitter as @swindondriver or @castaway. I’m kinda intrigued that Jess has written about discovery,wanderings and quests because, in part of my degree studies I’m up to the elbow in writing about just those sorts of things for a travel writing module I’m doing. Life is full of such curious coincidences is it not? It was from one of Jess’s wanderings that the post on the South Marston cycle path was born when she tweeted a photo of the portrait bench situated there.
This post may well appeal to some of the more ‘techie’ of you out there as Jess writes about API and Open street map. Her planned exploration of tea rooms sounds like fun. Potential there for further guest posts Jess in the form of reviews? Additionally I look forward to seeing what she photographs for the February photo challenge. Might that produce some blog material? One never knows!
And could this be used to chart the West Swindon sculpture trail and other points of interest in and around the town. Or has that been done and I just don’t know about it? It wouldn’t surprise me. Anyway, enough waffle from me, here is Jess’s post – oh and some great pictures in the February photo challenge – see link below. Thanks Jess for this. Really interesting:
“Like Angela I haven’t lived in Swindon all my life and keep “discovering” interesting bits of it by stumbling over them. Last year I did a lot of walking, for exercise and discovery. I set myself the goal of discovering which local pubs hosted a quiz, and when. I ended up with quite a pile of photographs of Swindon pubs and their display boards, now I should probably do something with that list/pile, and actually make that list of where you can find a quiz (or could, last year!).
To keep track of my wanderings and pubs I hadn’t visited yet, I used OpenStreetMap. If you’ve not come across it before, I recommend it. It’s a map of the world, as contributed to by anybody and everybody. I have contributed a fair number of bits of Swindon (and Abingdon as we used to live there). It’s usually fairly up to date as locals can maintain their own data. On it’s own it wasn’t quite enough, so I made use of the API[^api] and invented something I call geowanderering. Geowandering is exploring with goals (or achievements), based on sets of similar targets. Essentially I made small groups of all the Swindon pubs, and then tried to visit all the pubs in each group. The system tries to enforce completion by only allowing you to “carry” a certain number of place cards at once. You’ll see that I am carrying some unfinished ones: http://www.geowanderers.com/user/1
This year I have some new exploring goals, and a couple of other crazy ideas to work on, let’s see which actually get done. I’d like to make all my pub-board photographs accessible, and allow others to add to them, hopefully keeping the information with whats going on in/around Swindon more up-to-date. More on that plan/website when it evolves. This year’s exploring will see me visiting cafes/tea rooms around town, putting them on the map, and maybe reviewing their tea.
Before that kicks off properly, I will repeat my Flickr February photo challenge as an incentive to getting out of the house after the worst of the winter (hah!) is over, and back on the road to exercise, I will pick a daily target/description, and send myself out to photograph something matching it.
Feel free to join in with any of my exercising/exploring fun. Comments can be made here, or via Twitter @swindondriver or @castaway.”
^api]: Application Programming Interface, or a thing us programmers use to get information/data from a website and use it in another one.
@draft,#walking, #swindon,exploring, #geowanderers, #flickr,photography