Best app for mapping trail network- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Best app for mapping trail network

    I've got a new trail network proposal I am working on and am finding my normal method of mapping trails on Trailforks to be lacking for this purpose. In the past I have mapped singular trails and Trailforks is great for that. In this situation I am needing to map out a network of trails that are yet to be defined. Trailforks doesn't really alloy for draft versions of trails that are still in process. I want to be able to edit and merge gpx files to get the final overview of the network compiled.

    I know I probably need to get a GPS (I've been using my iphone) and a different app and figured if there's any consensus on what works best for this application that it would save me some trial and error. Thanks in advance for any advice.

  2. #2
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    I chose MTBProject when I went through this decision making process, but that was quite a few years ago. I won't offer more than that because my decision might be different today.

  3. #3
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    Google earth does everything you are asking.
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  4. #4
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    Try Caltopo for an online solution. Your maps can be private or public to varying degrees and trails can be classified in any number of ways as you choose.
    For a desktop solution, I have found QGIS to be a very good solution. Open source and lots of power. A bit of a learning curve but it's an excellent too for what you are doing.

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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ladeekus View Post
    Try Caltopo for an online solution. Your maps can be private or public to varying degrees and trails can be classified in any number of ways as you choose.
    For a desktop solution, I have found QGIS to be a very good solution. Open source and lots of power. A bit of a learning curve but it's an excellent too for what you are doing.

    Sent from my SM-G973U1 using Tapatalk
    Thanks, I'll check those out.

  6. #6
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    I've not found any cost-effective mobile solutions for this.

    You're talking about venturing into the world of GIS capability. There are mobile GIS apps, but they're not free (or affordable, even).

    What I'd recommend is using your basic handheld system simply for datalogging purposes and bringing those files onto a desktop (or laptop) computer for final tweaking.

    I've always used Garmins for the data collection personally, but when I've worked with others, I've accepted phone data, too. I overlay all the files on a desktop program, then hand draw the final trail network. If I really want to dial things in, I'll mark waypoints at every intersection. Garmin handhelds allow you to "average" out waypoints to ensure they're accurately recorded, so I'll run an average of about 100 positions per waypoint. That way, I know I have the intersections placed as accurate as I can get them.

    Topofusion (desktop, Windows program) even has an automated network tool that will combine a bunch of tracks into a trail network. I've played with it enough to find that it does have some limitations. It doesn't like very dense networks of trails that pass close to each other (but don't necessarily cross every place they get close). But if the trail network is more widely spaced out, it works surprisingly well (and pretty fast) simply based on tracks.

    I've also used QGIS and ArcGIS (I actually bought a basic $1500 copy some years ago) depending on the specific job I've needed to accomplish. But for working specifically with trail data, Topofusion has just enough GIS features that it sometimes gets the nod even though I have those other, much more powerful programs.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by roughster View Post
    Google earth does everything you are asking.
    Pretty much yes.

    If the trail is long, our normal workflow in a new area is to lay out a proposed alignment in GE, you can use the elevation profile to keep the grade within parameters and use the sat images to see and hit any waypoints along the way. Then we walk it while creating a gps track (I use Mytrails) to check it's viability and making adjustments along the way. Continue to fine tune, however long that takes, multiple trips etc. You'll end up with a track that isn't perfect and sometimes is a spaghetti mess as you backtrack, move flags, check things out along the way.

    You can then simply redraw a new line over your messy one in GE, or use a secondary app to clean it up. I've used Topofusion for editing for years, Scott is a good guy and avid rider, but mainly because I've had it from the beginning, before there were many alternatives.

    Short trails we just walk, flag and record, then edit.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harryman View Post
    Pretty much yes.

    If the trail is long, our normal workflow in a new area is to lay out a proposed alignment in GE, you can use the elevation profile to keep the grade within parameters and use the sat images to see and hit any waypoints along the way. Then we walk it while creating a gps track (I use Mytrails) to check it's viability and making adjustments along the way. Continue to fine tune, however long that takes, multiple trips etc. You'll end up with a track that isn't perfect and sometimes is a spaghetti mess as you backtrack, move flags, check things out along the way.

    You can then simply redraw a new line over your messy one in GE, or use a secondary app to clean it up. I've used Topofusion for editing for years, Scott is a good guy and avid rider, but mainly because I've had it from the beginning, before there were many alternatives.

    Short trails we just walk, flag and record, then edit.
    Exactly my process as well! Cheers!
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  9. #9
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    This is exactly the kind of info I was looking for. Much appreciated!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by bizango View Post
    I've got a new trail network proposal I am working on and am finding my normal method of mapping trails on Trailforks to be lacking for this purpose. In the past I have mapped singular trails and Trailforks is great for that. In this situation I am needing to map out a network of trails that are yet to be defined. Trailforks doesn't really alloy for draft versions of trails that are still in process. I want to be able to edit and merge gpx files to get the final overview of the network compiled.

    I know I probably need to get a GPS (I've been using my iphone) and a different app and figured if there's any consensus on what works best for this application that it would save me some trial and error. Thanks in advance for any advice.
    I have access to dual antenna GPS units, so that helps.

    GPX Tracker is a good application for phones, but you need to know to do "averages" as its not the most accurate.

    But you can import GPX files from any GPS handheld directly in Google Earth Pro (desktop) and manipulate them in there. That makes it better for uploading to Trailforks, etc.

  11. #11
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    I'd recommend gaia GPS and/or caltopo

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