Sunday, March 02, 2008

Arrival in La Grave

The first leg of my green ski trip to La Grave passed reasonably well. The train to Geneva was Swiss in it's efficiency and comfort. Going from Geneva to Grenoble took rather a long time as the local train stopped, started, changed drivers, changed direction, and generally messed around.

Whereas Zurich -> Geneva takes about 2:45 (about the same as driving, and a distance of about 27o km), Geneva -> Grenoble takes 2:15 for 140 km, a driving time of about 1:30.

Waiting for something to happen, at a railway station somewhere in France

The other Ian picked me up in his rental car (this might seem like cheating, but as he's renting the car anyway to get to Grenoble airport at an odd time, it's fair game), and the drive was uneventful apart from the usual potholes and debris on the Rue Departmental 1091.

Part of the key to getting out of here on Thursday seems to be Jarrie-Vizille, at the bottom of the valley - there's a train to Grenoble at 15:26 on Thursday, so if I can get that far, I'm sorted.

Keep watching...

Saturday, March 01, 2008

A green trip to La Grave?

I'm going to La Grave on Sunday (from Zurich) and I'm going to try and do it largely by public transport (or at least shared transport). We're seriously spoiled in here is Switzerland, with an extensive train network, and the 'PostBus' that runs several times a day to almost every village and trail-head in the country.

As PisteHors pointed out last year, France doesn't fare so well, and that includes La Grave: There are two buses a day (Grenoble <-> Briancon), run by VDF and three on Saturday, but they aren't co-ordinated to fit with the (my?) trains times at Grenoble. I've gone before without a car, using a combination of buses and hitch-hiking, which worked OK (but I have missed a flight once). When we lived in Italy, it goes without saying that the car was the only way to get there.

So here's the plan: I arrive in Grenoble, where a friend will also be arriving by train, and we're renting a car. He's taking it back to Grenoble airport on Tuesday night, so still don't know what I'm doing to come back on Thursday. The bus arrives an hour to late for the last train back to Zurich, so I'll either be taxi-ing, hitching, or getting a car share - I've optimisticly posted on the La Grave 'Co Voiturage' buletin board.

Watch this space to find out how I did...

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Picasoramio - getting closer but still no cigarro

I've been putting my photos on both Picasa and Panoramio for some time now, and more recently on Facebook: Picasa because I use the Picasa 2 photo manager, and it's dead easy to upload; Panoramio for the geographical presentation (and it's fun to have your photos in a public Google Earth layer) and Facebook so I can tag people in the photos.

Putting photos in so many places is a bit of a hassle, so when Google announced they were buying Panoramio, I was pleased - hoping for a speedy integration of the two. So far that hasn't happened, but it's getting closer - Picasaweb now has support for tags, displays the location of georeferenced photos on a map next to the photo (or for the whole album) and allows you to locate photos using a google map widget very similar to Panoramio's.

Tags and Locations: Picasaweb on the left, Panoramio on the right

What's missing? The option to submit your photos to the Google Earth 'Panoramio' layer, and a map centric cross-album view of georeferenced photos (like the 'see this area' link on the Panoramio screenshot above) and we'll be there - Google, please hurry up and finish the job.

And while you're at it, how about adding some GPS tracklog-based georeferencing functionality into Picasa or providing addon support so someone else can do it for you? The current Google Earth-based approach is painful at best, rarely seems to be accurate and doesn't use GPS tracklogs. Given the Panoramio acquisition and what's happening now in Picasaweb, this would really make a lot of sense...