Six Microconfluences

A degree confluence is the intersection of longitude and latitude lines. For example, the closest confluence to Vancouver, B.C. are 49°N 123°W (in Boundary Bay) and the closest land-based confluence is 49°N 122°W (on the Canada-U.S. border near Abbotsford). The project to document them all on the web is big enough of a deal to have its own Wikipedia page. Since confluences of latitude and longitude have mostly been documented, Charlie Loyd set out to document microconfluences, which he defines as the intersections of hundredths of latitude and longitude points. I found this out after stumbling on his tweet late last year.

To find microconfluences, Charlie built a web page you can load up in your phone pointing out your current location and how far away from and which direction to find the nearest microconfluence. I found my first microconfluence in my hometown of Courtenay, British Columbia over the Christmas holidays. I could only get as close as the front door of a new housing development on Piercy Ave., taking a photo of my iPhone's screen with my iPad mini. Later, not wanting to always carry two cameras around, you'll notice I take screenshots of Charlie's web page with a photograph of something notable next to the screenshot.

On the same trip, Karen indulged me as we came across a microconfluence downtown in an alleyway, just before having dinner at a Mexican restaurant nearby, and took a picture of me.

I found my first microconfluence in Vancouver a week later, just behind the NO TRESPASSING sign of an apartment complex in the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood (near 12th and Main).

Closer to King Edward and Cambie, a microconfluence on Heather and W. 24th features a stop sign with blinking lights.

Separately from deciding to locate microconfluences in Vancouver, in December of 2013, I made a new year's intention to let fate decide more frequently in my day-to-day decisions. That means making lists of things that I like or might like do or eat or read or places to go, then letting a computer randomly decide which item on that list to do. To help further another goal of (eventually) seeing the entire city of Vancouver, I use a random point generator to pick for me which part of the city I venture to. On January 5th, I put that into practice, and it chose the point of 49°13′54″N and 123°04′48″W. That converts to 49.231667, -123.08 in decimal, and the hundreths of those are just rounding down to 49.2300 and -128.0800 (the last one was already conveniently a hundredth). That turned out to be a house between E. 43rd and and E. 45th on Inverness St. in Vancouver. (There is no E. 44th on Inverness.)

Not pictured: three teenagers rolling by on a single ATV, which reeked of gasoline. "Hello sir," they said to me.

Just recently, after scoping out some office space in Chinatown and heading to the library to finish up some work, I came across a microconfluence on the Dunsmuir and Cambie corner of Stadium–Chinatown SkyTrain Station near B.C. Place and Rogers Arena (formerly GM Place).

Along with my SkyTrain Explorer walks, microconfluences are non-random but still somewhat arbitrary points on map to explore the surroundings. In the future, I'll add more randomness to documenting microconfluences, removing the need to decide where to go based on the characteristics of the neighbourhood and letting a random number generator (memories of RANDOMIZE TIMER flooding back) make the call.

I see Nathen is also ground-truthing microconfluences, same with, I hope, others Should we build a microconfluence community website? With microconfluence antipodes?