An Alpenvereinskarte for Canada: the Backcountry Ski Guide’s Map for the Burnie Glacier Chalet, British Columbia
Morgan Hite | Hesperus Arts
Keywords: British Columbia, topographic mapping, outdoor recreation, backcountry skiing, QGIS, Inkscape, Blender
The federal (1:50,000) and provincial (1:20,000) topographic map series available in Canada’s mountainous province of British Columbia often do not provide local names for peaks and other features, and are sometimes too inaccurate with respect to elevations and glacier extents to be ideal for demanding uses such as backcountry ski guiding. In this project, the author discusses a 1:25,000-scale topographic map produced in 2016 for use at the Burnie Glacier Chalet, a helicopter-accessed, ski-mountaineering destination in the Howson Range of British Columbia. The map contains typical elements such as contour lines, vegetation, trails and main ski routes, but also shaded relief, indications of scree, locations of crevasses and icefalls, as well as differentiating between rock and ice surfaces.
Much of the underlying data had to be created from air photographs and the knowledge of a local ski guide. Elements of the map styling were deliberately chosen to imitate the classic 1:25,000 Alpenvereinskarte produced in Germany. A hybrid style, combining air photo and vector elements, was used in an inset map to give detail in one area that is both especially complex and frequently travelled. Produced using the free software packages QGIS, ScreePainter, Inkscape and Blender, the map also includes some new peak names, and place names given by the local indigenous people, the Wet’suwet’en.