Connecting the Dots

My go to hobby these days is Disc Golf. It’s similar in form to ball golf, complete the course in as few shots as possible, but the player throws specialized disc. There’s a lot of other differences as well; accessibility, cost, and culture to name some of the big ones. I would say most people enjoy playing disc golf because it gets them outside and watching the disc fly is really quite a sight. When I moved to the Denver metro area, I suddenly had access to numerous disc golf courses and I found myself spending time trying to find out which one I would take the time to travel to. The natural step for me was to look at the course maps.

A swing and a miss…

I felt disappointed time and time again when I starting searching for new course. Maps excite me. They help me feel engaged in a place. They are the start of a story and a preview of the world that is out there. I looked at map after map for these disc golf courses and physically felt my excitement deflate. They were utilitarian at best and detrimental at worst. So the idea started to burn in me as I went ventured further and played more and more course. What would it take to make a good disc golf map? This little pet project boiled in my head for some time before it came to life.

Test 1

So, here is the first go of it all. CCC Disc Golf, Lakewood Colorado

This was a new course in 2017 and there was no formal map at the time when I created this. I went into this process trying to get at a few specific goals.

  1. Reproducible Product
  2. Realistic representation of trees
  3. Peak the viewers interest in the course

Reproducible Product There are nearly 200 course in Colorado alone. So I wanted a method that I could easily be applied to new courses. I accomplished this by automating the majority of the geoprocessing using python. So now as I play a new course I will collect point and can readily output a new map.

Realistic representation of trees Bubble trees are not real. I found myself continuously irked by the cartoon trees I saw in maps. I was able to get around the bubble trees by incorporating Lidar. This limits the region from which I can produce this style of map but I was willing to sacrifice that for the elimination of bubble trees. Bubble Trees of Alamosa

This map is from Alamosa Disc Golf Course. It will always be my home course and I absolutely love it. Yet it is a strong contender for one of the least intriguing disc golf course maps I’ve encounter. Sorry, I’ll work on making a better on.

Peak the viewers interest in the course The end game of all this is to get people excited about exploring new courses and playing the game. So I really hope the map above is at the very least easy on the eyes and makes you when to find some friends and throw some disc.

More to Come

I’ll be adding more and maps as I produce them. This is a bit of a back burner project so it might be slow going moving forward, but keep it here for updates.