Way back when . . .

Elbow Valley map

The original Elbow Valley Kananaskis Trail Map

I started work on this map, maybe 10 years ago, to be used as a static map on the braggcreek.ca website. I set it aside several times as it was a lot of work and I got bored drawing contour lines. I stitched together several maps so I could include the entire territory from the hamlet down to Banded Peak. When I started, West Bragg Creek, Kananaskis was very much unloved – intended for cross-country skiing in the winter and cows in the summer. I had almost finished the map when the Greater Bragg Creek Trails Association and the Calgary Mountain Bike Alliance started building their awesome trail network. Then the 2013 flood cut off access to the Elbow Valley and a different kind of flood, a flood of people, discovered West Bragg Creek, Kananaskis. Now they’re expanding the parking lot from 100 cars to almost 500. I’ve been told that 150,000 people visit West Bragg Creek annually and another 500,000 visit the Elbow Valley.


The Technology

trail map

A chaotic tangle of trails

As we all know tech can be enabling, but it can also be frustrating. Once I had the map drawn and revised and revised in Adobe Illustrator, I discovered Adobe Flash. I first used Flash to make rollover buttons. The map uses the same UP, Over and Down function to highlight the trail and pop-up the text box. Very cool. But, about the time I got all that working, Steve Jobs said Flash is poison and it would never run on an Apple computer, iPad or iPhone. Ahh, sh*t. But, PC desktops could still use it, if people wanted to take a risk. Jobs said there were vulnerabilities in Flash that hackers could exploit.

Flash is a very powerful tool. It’s used to encode video, create animations, ad banners, games and interactive applications. Many smartphone apps are built using Flash. But, no one wants to drink the cool-aid, so Adobe and the Gods of the web went back to the drawing board, building a new program, called Animate, that uses HTML5 and Canvas technology which operates natively in modern browsers. No need to install a plugin. Also, when I installed an SSL Security Certificate on the site, during the rebuild, it blocked uploading Flash files. I guess, because they are insecure.

I just want to provide people with an interactive trail locator map. Enabling technology, but very frustrating. The thing is, I’m getting old and tired and adapting to new tech is just tedious. So, I went to Upwork.com and jumped into Globalization. I had offers to do the job from Russia, China, India, the Philippines, everywhere. Including Muayad Sbaih who turned out to be the master of this new technology. I sent him my original Flash file. He converted it to Animate, tickled it and output the JavaScript code to make it work in modern browsers and on smartphones. So, enjoy the drive out to Kananaskis. I’d recommend the Ranger Summit Trail.

View the Elbow Valley, West Bragg Creek Trail Locator Map