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Celebrating 4 Years of Urban Vancouver (With an Upgrade!)

By Richard Eriksson on April 2, 2008 - 7:45am

Today we celebrate the 4th anniversary of Urban Vancouver's launch with an upgrade of the software that powers it to the latest and greatest, Drupal 5.7. With it we've improved the back-end a little bit, added a few little features. Technical details to follow for those who are interested.

Collaboratively Mapping Vancouver's Public Spaces

By Richard Eriksson on March 6, 2008 - 1:13pm

[Cross-posted from my personal blog.]

Last night I attended my first meeting of the Vancouver Public Space Network (VPSN) Mapping & Wayfinding group. They are a group of mapping enthusiasts who want to organize collaboratively mapping Vancouver's public spaces and have some interesting ideas on how to do so, including a web service with a REST interface, but also hand-drawn maps. Let it ring throughout the world that I consider Joey deVilla the master of the hand-drawn directional map, after showing me how to get to his work from his former house back when I visited in 2005.

NDP Releases TransLink Governance Review Panel Submissions Through Freedom of Information Request

By Richard Eriksson on November 2, 2007 - 11:35am

As the B.C. Legislature debates Bill 43 to turn the Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority into the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority and altering its governance structure and processes, the NDP caucus research branch has filed a freedom of information request asking for the documents the government received as submissions to the changes. The NDP in turn sent out a notification to "various transit-friendly transportation stakeholders", which evidently includes me (they did not reveal the full list of people they sent it too) asking who would be interested in the documents, and I asked to receive them. 9 PDF files each over 2 MB each later, I'm publishing them here on Urban Vancouver. They are attached below.

Google Transit for Vancouver's TransLink Launches Officially Tomorrow

By Richard Eriksson on October 31, 2007 - 1:06pm

[Cross-posted from my personal blog]

The other day, Paul Hillsdon tantalized us combination transit geeks and web geeks with a graphic showing Google Transit and TransLink together, implying that Vancouver's transportation authority was going to have their routes and time schedule included in Google's maps. TransLink sent me an invitation (to an email address that I don't even use), and I posted an event listing on Urban Vancouver for the official launch, which happens tomorrow (Thursday, November 1st) at 10:30 AM at SFU's Harbour Centre Fletcher Challenge Theatre. I'll be there along with my citizen journalism and transit fan buddies documenting the event.

Improving at Floorball

By Richard Eriksson on October 12, 2007 - 10:09am

Last night was the third night of floorball at Mulgrave School in West Vancouver, where as usual we had 20 minutes of drills and warmup and played what seemed like an unending game. I got one or two assists, depending on how you define assist. (Is it like hockey where if you set up the guy who gets the first assist, you also get an assist?) I didn't score, but came close 3 times, and was really happy about the chances, as I had just the right amount of patience and was open for just long enough to turn around and take a shot. The first shot went off the cross-bar (almost perfect placement!) and another sailed past the post.

(Last week, just to keep track, I scored a goal and got one assist.)

We Are Traffic: My First Critical Mass

By Richard Eriksson on September 29, 2007 - 6:54pm

Last night I biked from work over to the lions side of the Vancouver Art Gallery and participated in my first Critical Mass. Billed as a decentralized large group bike ride with no pre-determined route featuring anybody with self-propelled commuting, Critical Mass enjoys a 15 year existence, starting in the streets of San Francisco. My bike, a few months old and newly tuned up, performed brilliantly, but I can't say the same for my girlfriend's. She lost a part somewhere along the way, and was unable to shift, making her fearless gearless, though thankfully with brakes. We biked down Robson, turning left on Jervis, making our way down Davie (I think), then crossing the Burrard Street Bridge, riding down much of Broadway, and finally turning onto Yukon where we got off at 11th, where we were jokingly called "splitters".

BC Floorball Announces League, Drop-Ins with Drills, and Youth Program

By Richard Eriksson on September 28, 2007 - 4:16pm

Last night floorball started back up again at Mulgrave School in West Vancouver, this time with a twist on the original drop-ins I was participating in earlier in the year. Now they have full session sign-ups, and each drop-in begins with 15-20 minutes of drills. Perfect! I'm still a floorball newbie, and having some practice time with long-time players watching over should add some polish to my very rough floor hockey edges. Starting with last night's games' two goals and one assist, I'm keeping track of my points so that I can look back and see how I did over a "season".

My Bike Commute is 10.8 KM One Way, 8.5 the Other Way

By Richard Eriksson on September 17, 2007 - 3:31pm

You know how people exaggerate the olden days by saying they had to walk to school uphill both ways? Well my biking commute is almost like that: on the way to work it's downhill most of the way save for an uphill climb at Lakewood Drive, where on the way back it's uphill approaching Commercial, then downhill after Renfrew and then back uphill, then, saving the worst for last, a steep uphill climb at Boundary and Union in Burnaby. Like Roland, I drew my bike route on Google Maps, but I drew both my to and from work routes. (To work is in red, from work is in blue.) According to Google Calculator, my commute to work is 10.8 KM, and 8.5 KM back home. (I typed in "6.71 miles in kilometers" and "5.31 miles in kilometers" and rounded off the answers.) Because there are more hills on the shorter route, both directions take about the same time, from 45 minutes to an hour each. Two Google maps after the break.

Metro Vancouver Bemoans Low Search Engine Ranking

By Richard Eriksson on September 6, 2007 - 11:04am

I saw this first at Miss604, Roland took a photo of the article from The Vancouver Courier and a photo of the Google search, but apparently officials at what was, until this month, formally known as the Greater Vancouver Regional District and now known as Metro Vancouver are upset that they're not at the top of results in the Google search engine. The screenshot that appears in The Courier shows, at the bottom, two links to Urban Vancouver, but the article doesn't mention us by name. Their "webmaster" has recommended adding META tags to the site's HTML, when others like myself might recommend making the site a little more dynamic with interesting content so that we will link to it, or provide an RSS feed so we (Urban Vancouver) can syndicate the content and automatically link directly back to their site every time they post a new story. The algorithm Google uses to determine ranking might be 'arcane', but it's thoroughly and continuously being reverse-engineered.

Nova Bus Almost Loses Wheel

By Richard Eriksson on August 29, 2007 - 9:40am

As some people know, I've been interested in the new fleet of Nova Buses purchased by TransLink, which have an unusual single seat behind the driver and seats in the back that face backwards. I like the wide entrance at the front, but most drivers seem to only open one of the doors, negating the advantage. I've read somewhere that drivers prefer how the Nova Bus handles compared to New Flyers (and I read in that same piece that it's especially true of icy conditions, but they've only recently come into service, and cold weather doesn't start for a few months). Today comes news that one of the wheels came loose and almost came off while near Broadway and Kensington in Burnaby. This was likely during the 134 route between Brentwood and Lougheed malls, as that's the only route that takes those streets.

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