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Map Calabration Woes


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For geocaching and hiking I have experience using raster based software which displays topographic maps. I use a Dell Axim X50 with a Hiacom 303 MMF CF/GPS receiver.

The software I am most familar with is Outdoor Navigator and Backcountry Navigator. I have been pleased with the accuracy of the pre-calibrated proprietary maps these programs have.


As good as they are,these programs lack some features I am interested in. I have tried other programs like GPS Tuner, but have had a hard time with any program that uses maps that have to be calibrated. The process of calibration seems terribly clumbersome(The maps have to be downloaded to a PC, converted,tiled,calibrated,and then transfered to a PDA).

After all this is done, the maps I have calibrated do not have the accurracy I get using ON or BN.

Are there any GPS mapping programs that combine the best of both worlds?

Or am I missing something, that the calibration process is much easier and accurate than I am making out?

Edited by rlridgeway
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Not sure what the best way to deal with that is. I have scanned in maps before and used GPStrackmaker software to georeference the map and make tracks/trails from it. The accuracy is okay, but not super. I would say when I did this on a lot of moab utah trails that they were generally within 100-150' of the actual trail. This sounds like a lot of error but if you are dealing with a 1:100,000 map the thickness of the trail on the map is practically that much. It's probalby going to be hard to beat the accuracy of programs with built in maps/trails.


The other option that would probably get you better results, though I have never tried it this way, is to use like ArcGis software to bring in dem or drg and aerial data that is already georeferenced. The problem here is we are talking about a program that costs thousands of dollars, and I've used it for a lot of things but never making trails/routes and then trying to transfer them to the gps so I'm not sure if that's even possible but I'd bet it is, if it won't do it on it's own someone has probably wrote a script for it.

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Thanks for the reply.

Your accuracy is not too bad but I am usually within 50 feet with the pre-calibrated maps.


I think there are two issues: 1) The accuracy of the pre-calibrated maps vs. the self-calibrated maps, and 2) the complicated and clumbersome set up of the self-calibrated maps.


Actually, I am used to dealing with Trimble's GPS units and ARC/GIS at work and yet I am impressed with the simplicity and accuracy of Outdoor Navigator and Backcountry Navigator. (Outdoor Navigator is no longer being sold)

I just wish these programs had the functions of programs like GPS Tuner, like tracking and area calculations.

The big downside with programs like GPS Tuner is the hassle of dealing with maps that are less accurate.

Edited by rlridgeway
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