There has been a couple of events recently where having access to the internet and knowing where to look really adds context to a story.
I think that what has grabbed my fascination about this is connections with teachers at Nipigon Red Rock District Secondary School.
That, and we would have crossed the old bridge during a trip out west. What’s of particular interest is that this is the only bridge for miles and miles connecting Eastern Canada to Western Canada. There are basically two ways to get there – Highway 11 or Highway 17 but they both meet to cross at the bridge. Firing up Open Street Maps and zooming out makes you really realize what a big deal this is. Without quick action, the only alternative is to go all the way back to Sault Ste. Marie and cross to the U.S. side and head west that way. If you’re headed to Thunder Bay, that’s what my kids would call a “long cut” as we would go out for a Sunday drive.
Given the timing with all the hub-bub about the PowerBall in the U.S., it might be like having a problem with the Blue Water Bridge in near Point Edward. Could you imagine if it was ever closed? People would have to travel all the way to Sombra to take the Ferry or to Windsor to take the tunnel or bridge to buy their tickets. Cashing a winning ticket may be another thing.
Speaking of the bridge, another local news story.
We’re in the middle of a struggle here with a Bridge company that wishes to make the Ambassador Bridge two levels and the construction of the new Gordie Howe Bridge to cross over to Michigan considerably further south at the end of the new expressway. Why would a bridge company want to buy a school? It becomes very apparent when you look at the location via a map.
Again, a zoom in and out reveals so much more detail of the importance of location, location, location. If you’re not from the area, you may not know that there are two streets, Edison and Indian Road that have had all kinds of homes purchased and boarded up in anticipation of the addition to the bridge. There’s so much more to understand about the story when you visualize it on the map. Zoom in even further and what has to be one of the busiest McDonald’s restaurants in Canada is going to be right in the middle of things.
Given that there is so much more that can be added to a news story when you put it in context, it only makes sense to have OpenStreetMaps or some other mapping program at the ready when needed.