mapping help/show me your maps
Ok I've built the trail and played with making some maps but so far not all that happy. Gps tracks i have and am getting better at collecting. But editing multiple trail tracks together and making a cohesive easy to use map now that is ware i start having problems.
played with googal earth and quantam and topofusion.
1. What cheap (free or close to it) programs do you suggest
2. show us your maps and what programs did you use to make them.
3. any other mapping help would be appreciated.
Free Online Map
Originally Posted by TrailMasonJones
This is a link (https://sites.google.com/site/sedona...in/attachments) to some maps I made up for mountain bikers coming to Sedona to ride. The commercial maps didn't have all the mountain biking trails so I provided a map to better help riders navigate around the beautiful countryside.
The first three maps cover an area about 13 miles long and 10 miles wide. They overlap so it's easier to figure where you are at. I used topofusion to make the original map then dropped sections into Publisher then saved the file Publisher file
into a pdf or jpeg.
When you click on the link I will give you permission to check out the maps. If you want to send me your topofusion file I might be able to make it look nice, if you think my map has any merit.
Here's an example of one of the maps that I've made for our local state park trail system:
I work with AutoCAD, so I import all my graphics into that and then create my own image, which I can customize in any number of ways. It's not the way that the GIS guys do it, but it works for me.
I've done quite a bit of volunteer mapping for area clubs. If you're having a hard time with this, send me an email and maybe I can help you out.
I've seen some of SwampBoy's work its nice. I've been playing with Open Street Maps combine with JOSM for managing the GPS track I have. I've started on Google a little, but this Mapmaker solution isn't brilliant. However google is WAY note popular than OSM, so it's probably worth the effort.
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I use Global Mapper and am learning ArcMap right now. If you're doing your GPS surveying in tight quarters (trail loops back very close to itself, or in a small skills area, etc.) there are things you can do to make your GPS data more accurate. If you can get within 3 meters with a GPS then you're lucky. The way around this:
Make multiple passes (if it's just 2 that's fine) and take waypoints at the same spots each time. Keep track of the record number of each position (carry a notepad with you). Dump the GPS data points into Microsoft Excel and take the average Easting and Northing of each point, then put your averaged coordinates into your GIS program.
I'd be happy to help out if you'd like.
Killer of Chains
Also remember that you don't always need super accurate data when making the visual map. Very few people are going to take your map and georeference it to determine if the trail are where you say they are.
Now, if your offering GPX or KML data to the public so they can go out and ride without getting lost, obviously you don't want to be skimping on accuracy, but here again, you only need to be as accurate as most consumer GPS units. If you using a Garmin GPSMap 60, 62 or Etrex 10/20/30 with GLONAS, or even an iPhone with GLONAS, your accuracy is about as good as its going to get for most trail users.
Now, for trail planning, it's a little different. When a few meter can put you into someone elses property, or you want to be able to walk the exact path the trail will take prior to flagging, accuracy counts, but here again, you'll flag the trail on the ground anyway, so why do you need these super accurate maps? The only time I'd want sub-meter accuracy is if I know I'm really close to a property line and the trail needs to be that close.
Unfortunately, because I only use ESRI products, I can't really help much with which programs to use.
It sounds like you need to pay a visit to OSGeo. You can get QGIS and GRASS there (open source GIS utilities). Also the Open Source GIS page, which is just a links list but still helpful. They're not perfect, but when you don't have a budget, they're good options. Also look at MapWindow GIS for open source GIS programs.
I second the techniques mentioned above for getting the most accurate data you can. I would add that most Garmin handhelds have waypoint averaging functions. When you are marking waypoints along the trail as control points (intersections, at the apex of a turn, basically any spot the trail changes direction), use waypoint averaging. On newer models, waypoint averaging is designed to function best on multiple visits, so you don't have to mark a whole new waypoint when you are recording the trail a second (or third, etc) time. You can simply add more averaging points to your existing waypoint. My Oregon 450 does this.
I typed up my process for adding trails to OpenStreetMap
Take a look and let me know your thoughts. Good luck.
BTW: All the software I've used is free.
FYI: I was able to get one trail onto Google's Map using MapMaker. It took about 5 days to go through the approval process.
Cliff the cheapest and easiest way I use is Google Earth and an IPhone (not cheap but everybody has one) and a gps ap. I use GPS Kit, with it you can both import and export GPS tracks. Make track then import to Google Earth. From Google Earth you can do so much. Your track will import into the left frame under my places. Right click on the track and select "get info" at the bottom, from there give your trail a name, change color or thickness, check mileage. Then move the info box out of the way of the track which now appears as a line of points. These points are fully editable with the mouse, you can delete points, add points to smooth radii, move points to refine trail accuracy. The iphone will not give accurate track but it is close, the more you know the trail the more you correct the track.
JUST FOUND I CAN'T POST LINKS YET ????? Will do after 9 more posts (so they say)
This is a Google Earth map edited in MS Publisher (because it is easy to use)
But the best part is the live capability of Google Earth. Right Click "show elevation profile" and get elevation gains, distances, slope avg & max. Plus there always the heli flyover. And a bunch of other stuff.
here's a quick sample of the import. Finished map to follow.
Left out something. From the iphone ap "GPS Kit" you email the .kmz or .kml file just as you would send a photo from your phone. If Google Earth is on the recipient computer from the email click on the attached file (right click to check that the file "opens with" Goog Erth) it will launch with your new track installed on GE. Then commence editing.
Not everyone has an iphone
USFS, State Parks, County Parks, and City Parks here would laugh us into the ground and kick us out completely if we wanted to do trail maps with an iPhone and Google Maps.
"Yup, yup, got my professional trail builder / mapper kit right out of this box of Cracker Jacks, and some cool crayons to draw with." Give. Me. A. Break.
Get a real GPS, lay down at least 10 tracks with waypoint averaging, and then use a real mapping program or GIS program to produce your map. (Trail Maps - CCCMB)
It's precisely that attitude that prevents a lot of organizations from getting things done. I have worked with a local state park that tried to do everything using nice, full-blown, mapping apps, but nobody on their staff knew how to use them so they would constantly have to wait for weeks or even months for an outside group to be contracted to do it, and then there was the inevitable, time-consuming, ping-pong as the outside group slowly learned what the heck the park wanted. Sigh... it was useless.
Originally Posted by slocaus
I told them to use their phones. Contrary to a previous post, just about everybody has a smartphone with a reasonable GPS in it these days. If all you are interested in is getting a general notion about where a trail is that is plenty good enough. Granted, you couldn't turn that over to a surveyor and have a track layed out to sub-meter accuracy, but it is good enough for somebody to visualize the concept on a map and to find the flagging if they go looking for it. The Google tools are free and bare bones simple which makes them a good deal for budget and skills strapped government agencies.
I've gone out and walked a proposed route tracking it with my phone, downloaded it to my laptop, tweaked it with Google Earth, and presented it to a park manager, all on the same day. Little effort, and it gave them all they needed to see. Not fancy, but who cares? They got what they needed and we could move forward. No budget allocations needed, weeks of training on a GIS and mapping system avoided, immediate results. I'm willing to settle for good enough if it means getting things done.
Not everybody has I-phones - this is true.
Not everybody can use pro GIS mapping software - this is true.
If you can't use GIS software you shouldn't bother making a map - I disagree.
The deal with a map is to be able to help people find their way around. Does it matter how it gets done if it's accurate enough to use? Not really.
Does it have to be a GPS track or online map? No, paper maps can work just fine.
I have just the barest little bit of GIS training. I use my cheap-o GPS to get a track, and use a CAD drafting program to make a map image that can be printed out, or saved on your I-phone I guess (I try not to be a slave to technology - at least on my bike). One of my maps that I made just so that I could find my way around the trails is now the "official" trail map for the state park, so I guess it's good enough.
I look at it like this - if someone is trying to pitch in and help the mtb community by making a map, whether they're experts or not, at least they're trying and may produce something that will help some new riders find their way. I'm grateful for ANY little morsel of help on our trail systems, be it mapping or trail work or whatever.
The map image you posted above is busted. Could we see another example of your maps?
No dispute that people should be encouraged to use whatever method produces a result that meets their needs. A simple depiction of a proposed trail for landmanager approval is different than what might be adequate for a full-color park brochure.
I'm a QGIS fan. It's easy to learn and any trail data can easily be shared with park GIS departments. Your data can be displayed in context with publicly available GIS datalayers (wetlands, habitat, park bounds, etc.), the same data on which regulators and landmanagers base their decisions.
QGIS meets my current needs but there's no best way. I'm always interested in new mapping methods - some I learned about in this thread are very interesting.
It depends on your goals. If you are only trying to get a basic idea and make a map for general reference, then it isn't a big deal. Lots of people make those kinds of maps with drawing programs and no GPS data at all.
Originally Posted by swampboy62
If you want high quality data that can be used for more than just basic reference then you need better equipment and software. That is what slocaus is talking about and there is nothing wrong with that. When I make a trail map, I intend for someone to be able to do detailed navigation with it. An iphone is insufficient for that job. A consumer gps is insufficient for that job on one pass but thankfully most consumer handhelds have averaging that is sufficient.
As a land manager, i do not think you are doing your job well if you can't figure out your Trimble or other survey grade GPS. Tools of the trade and all. That is standard equipment nowadays.
I am merely a trail builder who has been given the opportunity to build in a 1200 acre county park. The map is for visitors to get the layout and best flow of this area. My map is practical not perfection and as I said the iphone gets a track in the ball park. I use the satellite image to fine tune the gps track to the trail sections visible from near earth orbit. "Close Enough" as PaintPeelingPbody said.
Quick Simple Done.
Yes the governmental agencies may want civil engineers to map our trails but it's just dirt guys and we got no budget.
even with no budget, you can do better, which was the original point of this post.
What follows is a map I made with a program called Manifold. It's not free. It's not especially cheap, either, but it is considerably less expensive than ArcGIS. I bought it myself several years ago. In some ways I like the ways I can control the symbology and show important information in the legend. For example, I can have the map show both trail surface and trail name.
On the other hand, that also can make the map very busy (which is why all of the singletrack trails are thin lines that are the same color). The user interface is not my favorite for setting those attributes, either.
I am going to redo this map in a more printer-friendly version for the campus rec department with contour lines instead of satellite imagery. I will be using ArcGIS (I have a 1yr trial version right now) for it since campus rec also wants a poster version of the map that they can hang in their office where they rent mountain bikes.
I also display this same map on my website in Google Maps with GMap4 with the file in .kml format.
<center><iframe src="http://www.mappingsupport.com/p/gmap4.php?q=http://thegpsgeek.com/gpsdata/Nacogdoches_Trails.kml&t=t2&z=14" width="700px" height="600px"></iframe></center>
if you dont have a smart phone you can use any GPS unit (can be borrowed from hiker friends or rented from outdoor stores) and use a free program called GPSbabel (cant post the link yet. google it) to convert the gps track into a .kml or .kmz shapefile which can be imported directly into google earth
Originally Posted by NateHawk
sorry about that but I can now show you a finished Simple trail map. http://www.bikevmb.com/sites/default...Map%206.12.pdf
Now we can get back to building more trail.
Last edited by ABud; 01-25-2013 at 05:50 PM.