MappingVermont bio photo



Vermont Town Tracker


Hi there, thanks for visiting. If you’re looking to track your progress to all 251 (now 252 with Essex Junction!) towns, I’m sorry to let you know that I’m no longer able to maintain this site. I’m moving my blog to Github Pages to improve my own dev experience, and I don’t want to pay Amazon $10 to keep the ubuntu server running that the Tracker is on.

That sucks and I’m sorry. That being said, if you enjoyed using the site please reach out to me at first name (Charlie) dot last name (Lefrak) at gmail- I’d love to hear about it. I don’t think I ever properly advertised it’s existence, but somehow got 28 folks to sign up / enter their info- many of whom I don’t know. Pretty cool.

I’m also happy to share an export of your data- the towns you went to and the mode of transport. Just drop me a line.

Most importantly, thanks for playing. Maybe I’ll rebuild this some day with architecture that makes sense / is easy to maintain. Regardless, I learned a lot.


This one was special. I was a few years into my job at Global Forest Watch, and really wanted to learn how to build a proper API. I was still basically a “GIS programmer” - someone who was more comfortable importing arcpy than writing actual python code, but I wanted to do build something real / interactive on the capital-I Internet.

I decided to build a way to track visits to different towns across the state. Definitely not an original idea, but a good excuse to learn some front end, some back end with the fun of putting an application out into the wild. I’m still not sure how I did it, but for the past six years it’s been running, showing folks the towns they’ve visited and cataloging their progress. Here are a few screenshots for posterity:

The VTT leaderboard

(Yes, despite making this app I was still only in third place).

The VTT map

I was especially proud of the horizontal bar chart in the leaderboard and above the map . . . I’m sure that took me hours to figure out how to build in D3 and then integrate into the site itself.

Current status

While I’m sure the app was cutting edge at the time . . . given that I had no idea how to build web architecture, it has 100% fallen into disrepair. I now pay $10 a month to keep it (and the rest of this site) running on an old ubuntu server that is well past its expiration date. I’ve thought about the path to upgrade and maintain it, but I just don’t have the time now to build it properly and keep the cost down. Heck, even upgrading the javascript packages would take a few weekend days that I don’t have.

I’m happy it’s lived a decent life, internet-wise, and glad that it pushed me to better understand the web. Reach out if you’d like to get your data and I’ll gladly share it with you!