All the Caminos in 3D

This post is also available in: Español

Do you want to see all the Caminos in 3D as you have never seen them before? Do you want to see how the Camino Francés through Aragón, along the valley of the Aragon River until it reaches Villanúa? Or the mountains of O Cebreiro? Or the cliffs of the Camino del Norte? Or the arrival at Fisterra? Here it is.

#CaminoFrances through #Aragón
Camino Frances through Aragon descending to Canfranc

What you will be able to explore in the following map is based on all the GPX files available in the CNIG (National Centre for Geographical Information of Spain) portal. This information has been provided by the Asociación de Amigos del Camino de Santiago.

After downloading each of the 1,015 individual files corresponding to all the stages of all the variants of all the Caminos, I have unified them into a single database of GPS points. After processing, I used the Mapbox map service to display all the information and to have the 3D engine available. Please explore the map… and use the CTRL key to enjoy the Caminos in 3D view.

Using for this loading and transformation process (#ETL), the #nocode tool par excellence, KNIME Data Science & Analytics Platform, in addition to the massive processing of more than 398,000 GPS points, I have included the elevation data for each of the coordinate points.

During the data ingestion, I realized that there were stages and caminos that did not have elevation information so I looked for an API service (open-elevation.com) that would allow to automate those queries. Being gentle with the calls, I was able to download over 105,000 points that had zero or no elevation information in less than 4 minutes (packets of 1000 coordinates in 2-second intervals).

Once I had all the information, I extracted the information corresponding to the Camino, the stage with its beginning and end as well as the elevation. What did the latter allow me to do? To be able to show that information on a map to identify the areas with higher and lower elevation.

all the caminos in 3D camino De Santiago gpx elevation
Visualizing elevation information with KNIME node, openstreetmap (OSM)

In the next article I will explain in detail each of the steps I followed and I’ll share everything through KNIME Hub Portal, but here is a preview. These are the tools I have used:

  • Database of GPX files with the stages of the National Center of Geographic Information (CNIG). We can never thank enough to the Spanish Federation of Associations of Friends of the Camino de Santiago (FEAACS) for the work they do in dissemination and compilation. It’s absolutely core for build all the Caminos in 3D.
  • KNIME Data Analytics Platform. Here is a preview of the workflow I used. As you can see, I have used it mainly for the process of ingesting, transforming and updating data before uploading them to the data visualization services. This time, the focus was on updating the elevation data in order to generate the profiles of the stages, variants and selected Caminos.
  • Open Elevation API. As they describe themselves: “Open-Elevation is a free and open-source alternative to the Google Elevation API and similar offerings.” Same #nocode philosophy: access to your API service with POST nodes and JSON Row Combiner to generate the request for those track points that did not have associated elevation data. Really straightforward.
  • MapBox. Possibly one of the best map services that already in its free version provides a lot of functionalities. Its mapbox Studio suite is a small wonder to generate maps. It also allows a 3D visualization with a breathtaking degree of detail. To load the data I used a simple CSV file with the points info. With a little more time, I will include the modules to do the loading and updating in the system automatically using the API provided by mapbox. The truth is that I have not found a simple way to embed the map in WordPress but in the end it was easier than expected.
anime workflow mapbox open-elevation nocode
KNIME workflow used to generate maps and 3D visualizations

What do you think? Would you like me to publish the complete and unified files of all the Caminos in 3D to make your own analysis? Leave me your comments to improve the result and make it as useful as possible. I also accept coffees 🙂

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