Speeding Up GitLab CI With Docker

We use GitLab CI extensively to build and deploy BeyondTracks. However we have some heavy dependencies, which we used to build and install every time our CI process ran. This added an extra 5 minutes at the start of every build, which is just wasteful. To speed things up we wanted to follow best practice by installing our dependencies into a Docker image and reused that in our build.

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Mapbox GL JS Popups with Vue

BeyondTracks uses Mapbox GL JS and Vue, however to quote from github.com/phegman/vue-mapbox-gl: Popups can be a little tricky if you are trying to use Vue directives inside the popup content. This is because the popups are added to the DOM by Mapbox and not compiled by Vue. We use Vue, we also use Mapbox GL JS Popups on our maps to show walk summaries, bushfire alerts and beach conditions.

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Sun Times

Sunrise and sunset times are important to know when walking, how early can you start, when do you need to finish by within daylight? What time does the sky become golden for stunning sunset photos? To show the current sun times for each walk on BeyondTracks we use: suncalc tz-lookup Luxon suncalc will, given a date and latitude/longitude return a set of sun times, we choose the show the sunrise, sunset, dawn and golden times.

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Beach Conditions

A lot of walks on BeyondTracks go past a beach, and on a hot day it’s nice to go for a dip along the walk. The NSW Department of Environment publishes information about beach conditions, similar to how we work with Fire Incidents from the NSW Rural Fire Service, we pull in beach conditions data and show this on the maps on BeyondTracks. Beach conditions map popup We open sourced our Node module which makes the Beachwatch GeoRSS feeds more developer friendly, in particular to:

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Fire Incidents

It’s not a good idea to go walking when there’s a bush fire nearby, hence it’s important for us to include bush fire information on BeyondTracks. We do this by showing all fire incidents on the map, and then again alerts for fire incidents nearby each walk. At the moment we only do this for NSW, but in the future we hope to expand it Australia wide. BeyondTracks map showing fire incidents BeyondTracks fire incident alert Source Data Tim Berners-Lee suggested a 5-star rating system for open data:

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Elevation Sparklines

Elevation sparklines of walks on BeyondTracks Sparklines are a lightweight chart and are well suited at showing at a glance what the elevation profile of a bushwalk is like. The graphic above shows the elevation sparklines of all warks on BeyondTracks, if you look long enough you’ll see most walks are either: walk down, then back up walk up, then back down walk up and down a few times We use vue-trend to draw the sparklines, it’s easy to use.

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Origin Story

In November 2012 I started bushwalking to explore more of the outdoors and meet new people. The more I explored, the more I sought new places. Although there existed many other web sites and books which listed walks around Sydney, I felt there was still room for innovation. I started leading some walks and people asked how I knew about these places and which turns to take. My secret was OpenStreetMap, which by that point had already mapped out the vast majority of walking tracks, coupled with an offline mobile map, OsmAnd.

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