Ride the Ales! A Brewery Map for Modern Times

Taking a break from romance, I thought I would blog this week about my other favorite geographic topic: Beer!

As many of you know, I have two forthcoming apps that will use GIS and geospatial technology to make the world a more fun and interesting place.  In case you couldn't guess, one of the apps will involve dating.  The other is going to help everyone get a bit tipsier.  Indeed, I will be creating an application that helps people to get to sunny patios faster and in the nick of time to catch some rays.

While my PatioFinder app is in progress, I'll share with you folks a homage to one of my favorite cartographic styles: the Beck's London Tube Map of 1931.  I simply love this style and have seen it applied to so many maps and diagrams so excellently. I also love touring around Vancouver by bike sampling our diverse array of craft breweries. So....

The set up:

  • I sourced the most current list of breweries that I could get my hands on from beermebc here;
  • I devised some logical groupings of breweries based on geographic location (and cut out anything south of Dageraad);
  • I plotted and connected the dots using a shortest path route finding algorithm to determine my routing combinations;
  • I then plotted the breweries and the routes and then transferred them to a hexagonal grid to start the schematic process;
  • With a bit of artistic license, I ended up with the top figure;
  • I then used some fancy GIS to figure out timing along each route and used something called linear referencing to build the timetable for the bottom figure; and
  • You can see the results from the real world data and my transfer to "creative space" from left-to-right in the slider image below. (note: creative space can be easily accessed after only a few pints)

The results:

Well this worked out well, I would say.  I didn't have any overarching analytical goal except to use some skills I obtained building strip maps for pipeline alignments and applying them to something enjoyable like trip planning.  There are some notes and caveats that go with this map:

  • Schematic diagrams in GIS are hard to do.  Everything in GIS-land is made to be accurate and precise.  Building a schematic is neither.  Thus, I had to "force" my software to conform to my hexagonal wishes and requirements for reference lines... no easy task
  • I didn't include breweries to the south of Dageraad.  I'm only a little sorry about this, because my page size didn't work with the kind of scaling and I wasn't up to schematizing all of the arms of the Fraser. maybe next week....
  • If this has been done before, please let me know how you did it, as I am sure there are better ways to create a schematic diagram than the method I outlined above.

And with all of those out of the way, please check out and enjoy the final product.  If you want to suggest alternate names for the routes please feel free to do so in the comments below, and I will update the map. A downloadable version is available here.

Finally, I can't help but do some more analysis of population change and things that are cool and interesting in Vancouver.  Take a look at the interposition of breweries and population change over the last five years in Vancouver... notice anything?

Breweries and population change hmm....

Breweries and population change hmm....