Tired of relying on bad maps of the North, Yellowknife man compiles his own

·2 min read
Logan Rudkevitch is the creator of Logan Earth, a mapping website that provides an alternative to Google Earth for Northerners. (Submitted by Logan Rudkevitch - image credit)
Logan Rudkevitch is the creator of Logan Earth, a mapping website that provides an alternative to Google Earth for Northerners. (Submitted by Logan Rudkevitch - image credit)

Sick of being led astray by poor-quality online maps of the North, Logan Rudkevitch decided to take matters into his own hands.

All the data he needed was out there. It was just a matter of figuring out how to bring it all together to create better maps of regions he felt were woefully lacking in detail.

That's how Logan Earth was born.

"At the end of the day, I just did it for myself to go out on the land and be able to navigate. And I've been lied to [by] Google a few too many times," Rudkevitch, who is from Yellowknife, told Trail's End host Lawrence Nayally.

Logan Earth is built with higher resolution maps than some of those found on Google Earth, thanks to two high-quality sources of data Rudkevitch said Google hasn't been using.

Rudkevitch said he's been using the maps personally for years, but just recently took them public. His website also has the advantage of showing contours and rocks in a "3D effect," he said.

It meant he could take a look at permafrost slumps in the Peel Plateau, for example, without having to visit the site in person.

"It's free and available to people. At the end of the day, I think that is one of the most important aspects of it," he said.

CBC
CBC

Crowdsourcing data

David Wasylciw, the founder of OpenNWT, likes that aspect of it, too. The open-data champion says there's all sorts of useful information out there, if you know where to look.

In this case, Rudkevitch had to spearhead that initial step of bringing it all together in one place.

"It's a great resource ... and if that pushes more to happen, and shows a need and interest in it, that's great," he said. "It's amazing what's out there."

Wasylciw said though he doesn't do a lot of mapping-related work himself, he read with interest when Cabin Radio initially wrote about Logan Earth. There are many different types of maps that exist for the N.W.T. but it's not all open data. Even if it's publicly available, you might have to agree to certain conditions if you want to use it.

"The more we can do stuff like this, the better off [we are]," Wasylciw said.

He said crowdsourcing information is sometimes the only way to solve a problem like this.

"It's amazing the kind of stuff people have," he said. "If Logan had been collecting some of this mapping data already, finding ways to share it is well worth it."

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