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Mapping programs??

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Mapping programs??

Postby Snowtrout » Thu May 16, 2013 9:55 am

I've noticed that quite a few people on here have or use a topo program that allows them to trace their trail (with various colors), add captions, and pinpoint their exact mileage hiked.

My enquiring mind wants to know what program(s) are you guys and gals using to do this?



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Re: Mapping programs??

Postby rlown » Thu May 16, 2013 10:06 am

for me, Garmin Mapsource. allows me to map out the route, even with snap-to capability for a trail, and then when I get home I can download any tracks back into the trip file.

I think Garmin has a newer version, but costs money and I like my maps from 2008. I have a US mapset and a Western National Parks set (which has more detail).
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Re: Mapping programs??

Postby Jimr » Thu May 16, 2013 10:13 am

Whatever program you eventually use, I highly suggest downloading a copy of gpsbabel, it's free and allows you to convert various types of gps data, including kml files, to and from other formats.
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Re: Mapping programs??

Postby longri » Thu May 16, 2013 10:42 am

I have TOPO. It has a lousy user interface but it's nice to be able to print out custom maps. It isn't very good at estimating distance though, especially on trails with switchbacks. Typically it underestimates by 10-20%. It does a little better with elevation gain but again, not highly accurate.

For just viewing topos online there are good websites that let you pan and zoom terrain. Here are a few:

http://www.closedcontour.com/
http://www.hillmap.com/
http://caltopo.com/map.html#ll=36.57845 ... 4&z=14&b=t (pointing at Mt. Whitney)

Is that Garmin product more accurate? If so, how? Is there a trail database that it draws on?
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Re: Mapping programs??

Postby Snowtrout » Tue May 21, 2013 3:37 pm

Thank you guys for the responses. I do not have a loadable gps, so some of those progams will not help me unless I want to pay a lot of $$. But some of the other topo sites suggested were nice.
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Re: Mapping programs??

Postby Carne_DelMuerto » Tue May 21, 2013 4:12 pm

I've used all the programs mentioned above and not one of them does it all. I've found that the Garmin Mapsource will draw a nice route over trails in the program, but when I export to a GPX file, it doesn't convert the route to points and just draws a straight line from one waypoint to another. I've been using the Topo software to add points to the route that will export properly to a GPX I can use in Google Earth. When it comes to illustrating routes for TRs and queries, I usually just download a topo from USGS and trace my route/create labels in Photoshop.
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