SpellWalk SF: Financial District

May 25, 2020. 2.2 miles. 34 minutes. Average speed: 3.86 mi/hr.

Okay, so the title is misleading. Did you really think I’d spell out “Financial District”, though?

This was my second attempt at this route. The first time I completed it, the scale was actually half as large. Meaning, instead of the loop of the “d” rounding the perimeter of four square blocks, as it does in the image above, the original route rounded only one square block. However, due to the urban canyon effectTM, it looked even more haphazard than Bernal Heights. The increased scale of the route did mean that I technically started in Chinatown.

The “urban canyon effect” is what sometimes happens with GPS signals in areas with lots of interference–most notably in large city downtowns with adjacent skyscrapers. Tall buildings can interfere with the GPS signal transmission and thus misrepresent the user’s position. Next time you’re on a street wedged between lots of tall buildings, open up Google Maps and see what happens. More often than not, your location appears, but then continues to drift around for the next few seconds while the GPS attempts to locate your position. Behold, the urban canyon effect.

The urban canyon effect did give the lowercase “d” a nice, rounded loop, though. Obviously I did not irresponsibly cross streets or walk through buildings to achieve that roundedness.

One last bit about this route: I walked it “on my way home” after completing the SoMa walk. Two walks, one day! What a deal.


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