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The GPS Project

A little update here on a new element of the Winedoctor site I have been working on recently, ‘behind the scenes’ so to speak. In the past year or two I have become enamoured with satellite navigation; although it can lead astray those who put too much trust in the machine, I also think – especially when searching for a small winery in the rural expanse of a foreign country – that having an accurate destination (and thus also a planned route) can be a lifesaver.

There are quite a few domaines I can recall struggling (or indeed failing) to locate simply because I didn’t quite know exactly where they were. The fact that the domaine’s website might list an address simply as “37210 Vernou-sur-Brenne” doesn’t help (err…which road please?), and it is compounded by inaccurate maps – either provided on their websites or even in highly-regarded Atlases such as the Johnson/Robinson World Atlas of Wine. Example #1: the Fontodi website, the map on which I used to locate the winery on my recent trip to Tuscany, puts the domaine some distance from its true location. Example #2: the location of Domaine Huet in the World Atlas of Wine bears no resemblance to where it is located, and was probably in part responsible for me driving around for what seemed like an age trying to locate the place on my first ever visit to the town (these days, a regular visitor, I don’t have such a problem!).

In each case satellite navigation would have helped, but only if the information provided by the domaine/atlas was accurate of course (why do Fontodi think they are located in the forests, rather than on the road heading out of Panzano?). And so I’ve been trying to add some good quality information on GPS location to Winedoctor.

My aim is to place online GPS co-ordinates for all domaines that I profile in Bordeaux and the Loire. I may add the info to other profiles as I update them, but in keeping with the site’s focus on these two regions I will be concentrating on them, and won’t be aiming for comprehensive cover of every old profile from every other corner of the globe. So far I’ve been working on Bordeaux (as I have another trip lined up in the next couple of months and the data will be useful to me!) starting on the left bank, specifically the Haut-Médoc and associated communes. Many profiles currently have just the co-ordinates, but now I am starting to link some up to Googlemaps.

The data can be found with the contact details, which come at the end of the text for every profile, but before the tasting notes, like this:

I have only linked up the St Estèphe estates to Googlemaps so far: so check out my Montrose and Cos d’Estournel profiles (or see all my St Estèphe profiles – scroll down the communes to find St Estèphe). The location of Montrose as indicated on Googlemaps highlights a particular problem – you can see on the map a label putting the location in the vineyards; this is close enough to be useful, but sometimes these labels are miles from the correct location. My links should facilitate correct identification and location of the chateau/domaine in question (I hand search for each one, and then on a later day double check before setting up the link); you can use the links just to take a look at the location….but of course the data can also be entered into a sat-nav, if you are lucky enough to be visiting the chateau/domaine in question.

Later today, I hope to link up the rest of the left bank communes…..then onto Graves!

10 Responses to “The GPS Project”

  1. Good idea Chris,

    I’ve been using my satnav to locate vinyards for 5 years now. Some of the addresses on the websites arn’t the best to put it mildly.
    Another positive is my wife no longer gets to sing ” Lost In France ” by Bonnie Tyler whilst we’re driving round in circles.

    Rick

  2. Thanks Rick. Hopefully my GPS co-ordinate will be of use then! I know they are independent (and therefore subject to doubt, quite right too) but the beauty of the Googlemaps links is that you can click though to verify my GPS co-ordinates are correct (and even double-check using streetview, as I have done in setting up a number of the links).

  3. Great idea, Chris! Please don’t forget Chateau Lafleur, another place quite hard to reach.

  4. Chris, you will find that every domaine listed on WineTravelGuides.com has GPS codes – feel free to use them. I can’t guarantee that they are all 100% accurate, but they ought to be pretty damn close. (Feel free to contact me for details as to how they were obtained!).

  5. Thanks Rick. The only problem is I haven’t tasted enough Lafleur to warrant a profile. But…one day….hopefully. :-)

  6. Thanks Wink, that’s very kind. I’ll take a look when I have finished linking up my left bank profiles.

  7. Great idea – many years ago I spent what seemed an age on a fruitless quest to find Chateau Rayas based on the Jancis Robinson wine atlas. Having since learnt the price of what they sell, I don’t think we would have been very welcome anyhow….. so maybe ignorance can be bliss.

  8. Nice work – even better would be to add the information to openstreetmap.org, so that the data is freely available to everyone. Would you mind if I transferred some over?

  9. CharlieF. Thanks for the compliment. The data is freely available to everyone – on http://www.thewinedoctor.com.

  10. So if I were to use the GPS data and put it onto openstreetmap.com, with the attribution source:coordinates=thewinedoctor.com would that work for you?