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. I was and still am a bit dumbfounded that people still think GPS doesn’t work where there is no mobile phone signal, apparently online only Google Maps was synonymous with GPS.

So with some inspiration and help from my friend, now wife, we built and in June 2014 launched beyondtracks.com with the goal of helping people find walks around Sydney and enjoy them without needing a guide to take them.

That’s how it began, but the journey is still ongoing. In December 2018, after the original site became stagnated, lacking any significant updates for a few years, I re-wrote and re-launched the modernised beyondtracks.com.

The goal of the re-write was to build the site on solid foundations paving the way forward, I shifted to:

Component Previously Now
version controlled source code none git/GitLab
automated build and deployment manually/local GitLab CI/CD
dependency management (npm install then import) manually downloading dist js yarn
build system none Nuxt
JS framework none Vue.js
UI framework Bootstrap Vuetify
WebGL Maps Leaflet Mapbox GL JS

These 7 things have made developing a pleasant experience, on top of things that remain unchanged which we rely heavily upon:

I’ll be using this tech blog to talk more about how beyondtracks.com works, and share back what I’ve learnt along the way.