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Forkeye

Back roads maps

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Topo detail - now that's interesting. I use topo contours to help me choose a route up a mountain. For that you need consistent contour spacing.

 

snip%<

 

Sorry, I can't use this.

 

From your images, I see that they are quite 'American' as well, I grew up content to know that contour line elevations always were oriented facing up hill... your left hand sample shows them oriented to screen up mostly. I'd find that very misleading. I always have to remember to allow for the 'American' point of view when using their maps. I mostly use Canadian topo's.

 

Anyone know if the Ibcyus maps follow NTS standards for contour lines? It is their data!

 

It's something that can be lived with of course, but they are maps of Canada, eh! Not sure about other map series, since we don't see much other than forestry and I believe they do the uphill version on contours. I'll have to check.

 

Doug 7rxc

Edited by 7rxc

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Um... So if I understand you correctly, if the map is oriented with uphill at the bottom, you'd expect the elevation labels to be more-or-less upside down (so you're always facing uphill if you can read the numbers upright), and American style would be right-side up regardless of which way is uphill? I'd never noticed that distinction before.

 

I believe it's the GPS firmware that takes care of drawing the contour labels, as they jump around as you zoom or scroll. I think the map just provides the data, and the GPS decides whether and how to display it. So with Garmin being an American company, I think all maps would display in "American style".

 

Labels aside, it's worth mentioning that the contours in Ibycus 4.0 appear to be identical to those in Backroads 1.0. However the contours in Backroads 2.0 are clearly based on different data, and I'm not sure I like that data. Looking around in MapSource since I wrote that last post, I've seen a number of creeks that don't quite line up with their canyons. It seems they've increased the number of contours - eg interval 10m if you zoom in - but I have a sneaking suspicion some of them are interpolated.

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I think you have the idea... NTS topos always should have the top of the altitude oriented to up hill. Not a big thing as long as you know that it might be otherwise. I get caught from time to time on US topos. It's just a personal preference. I think that most of the time on a map, you would orient the map to the surroundings... If your map says North is downhill and your compass says up, most likely you are not where you think you are... time to recheck. I've been at map reading a long time, so I think I automatically check other things for cross reference... such as, creeks and rivers tend NOT to flow on the tops of ridges and they DO flow down hill. That makes a quick check on which way contours are running and thus how I notice the difference.

 

Doug 7rxc

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On the plus side, I see definite trail improvements. For example, it looks like they've incorporated the Southern Alberta Trail Maps data.

 

 

I sure hope they asked first.

 

Ummm, nope!!!! Can someone please verify that they have my data. It is not freely available to use for commercial purposes.

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I hope the answer to that is that somebody submitted their tracks to both places. That's what I'm doing.

 

Here are a couple of screenshots showing trails that go right to or past caches, heh heh. BTW, sometimes it seems Backroads and Ibycus disgree on where a summit is.

 

Detail = highest.

c0f23f3d-1fd7-448a-81c5-ecf04d02e51e.jpg

 

811d2670-5bfb-41de-81a7-8f5dacedb49d.jpg

PS: Notice in the second screenshot how some contour lines are thicker than the others? The thicker ones are the ones that remain when you zoom out or reduce the detail level, causing the uneven spacing I mentioned earlier.

Edited by Viajero Perdido

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I hope the answer to that is that somebody submitted their tracks to both places. That's what I'm doing.

 

I'll have a close look later. I do not use any raw submitted tracks. Everything is filtered and cleaned up. If the detail matches...

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Well, that definitely looks to be the same data.... OK...it IS the same data, two people could never walk the same "route".

 

I suppose I can ask the people that submitted all of those trails if they sent them to Backroad maps..... There are at least 6 different contributors in the two screenshots alone.

 

They even seem to have used the same TYP customization.

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So a couple of weeks back, I sent them an email asking them to remove my data....

 

Reply received today telling me that I was wrong and they have not used my data....

 

Lovely company. As much of the example shown above are places where there is no trail and you can take whatever route you wish and the tracks match exactly....it is pretty darn impossible for them not to have taken the data. The data I'm using is direct from the source and I have then custom filtered it to be as it is shown.

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Perhaps they got your data from Northwest Trails? I don't have the new version so I can't check to see if they have exactly what is in NW Trails. But that would explain why they didn't think they had copied your data.

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Perhaps they got your data from Northwest Trails? I don't have the new version so I can't check to see if they have exactly what is in NW Trails. But that would explain why they didn't think they had copied your data.

 

We did check some trails that are on NW Trails, but not on SATM and they were NOT on the Backroad maps, so it is doubtful.

 

The data certainly matches version 1.18 of my maps.

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Well, I just got a look at the Backroads Maps GPS 2.2 product and the Ontario Trails Project data has also been used, without so much as a courtesy email.

Right down to the trail naming convention that I used. For example, I put (Bt) after the name of Bruce Trail Side Trails as a way to note them.

 

Nice job guys. The data is creative commons, with attribution. So many things going through my head right now, all of which I cannot express in a forum post. :mad:

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Did some more digging. Looks like they grabbed OTP version 0.78 and used that data. GPS logs from my Beaver River canoe trip and Minnesing Swamp matches exactly on their product too - right down to the GPS errors.

They did put some work into removing labels and smoothing out jagged data in some places. Lots of places where the OTP data stops because, well a geocacher stopped there for the cache and walked back and the Backroad maps do the same thing, even though they got their trail data "somewhere else".

Edited by northernpenguin

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I should have updated... I did talk with the owner of Backroad maps.... He started off denying that there were using any of the data.... After I provided a ton of proof, he finally admitted it was there. His excuse is that the data came to them from a 3rd party and they did not know... He was unwilling to disclose the name of this 3rd party but did agree to remove the data...at some point in the future.

 

If you go to their site, you will see lovely pictures of your trails in their advertising....

 

Please, contact them and complain very loudly. I was very displeased with their attitude and actions.

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Version 3.0 of Backroad GPS Maps are now out. I'm optimistic.

 

Can somebody who's tried the new version offer a report? Thanks.

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Version 3.0 of Backroad GPS Maps are now out. I'm optimistic.

 

Can somebody who's tried the new version offer a report? Thanks.

 

Gee, wonder if they went and poached newer versions of the trail mapping projects for 3.0.

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Trails that I personally GPSed in BC are now in the new version. But not everything I submitted to NW Trails is in there.

 

I suppose this would be fine as long as they were to acknowledge the source?

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Trails that I personally GPSed in BC are now in the new version. But not everything I submitted to NW Trails is in there.

 

I suppose this would be fine as long as they were to acknowledge the source?

 

See above. They won't.

They denied to my face that they took my trails project data. Then when I pointed out that they had somehow included errors from my GPS in their product they changed their tune to indicate it was ok because "everyone copies map data", when I mentioned the word "copyright" I was told that "you can't copyright map information". So far I am still waiting for them to upload their map product to a torrent site since it's all public domain information.

 

At the end of the day they are not the kind of company I think anyone should do business with.

Every person that purchases one of their map products is telling them it's ok to steal other people's work and sell it at profit.

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Let me rephrase.

 

Can anybody who's used the latest version 3.0 maps give a report on how well they work as maps?

 

I couldn't really care less about the provenance of the trail data.

 

Thanks in advance.

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Trails that I personally GPSed in BC are now in the new version. But not everything I submitted to NW Trails is in there.

 

I suppose this would be fine as long as they were to acknowledge the source?

 

See above. They won't.

They denied to my face that they took my trails project data. Then when I pointed out that they had somehow included errors from my GPS in their product they changed their tune to indicate it was ok because "everyone copies map data", when I mentioned the word "copyright" I was told that "you can't copyright map information". So far I am still waiting for them to upload their map product to a torrent site since it's all public domain information.

 

At the end of the day they are not the kind of company I think anyone should do business with.

Every person that purchases one of their map products is telling them it's ok to steal other people's work and sell it at profit.

 

I suspect they are referring to compilations of factual data. Compilations of factual data may be protected but there are restrictions. Unless you are willing to spend the time and money to take them to court there is not much you can do. Perhaps take the data offline if you believe they are taking it but that doesn't do much for the people like me who enjoy using the free trail maps. I would also suggest you be very careful about any statements you make publicly. They could be used against you should you become too much of an irritation to them.

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Trails that I personally GPSed in BC are now in the new version. But not everything I submitted to NW Trails is in there.

 

I suppose this would be fine as long as they were to acknowledge the source?

 

See above. They won't.

They denied to my face that they took my trails project data. Then when I pointed out that they had somehow included errors from my GPS in their product they changed their tune to indicate it was ok because "everyone copies map data", when I mentioned the word "copyright" I was told that "you can't copyright map information". So far I am still waiting for them to upload their map product to a torrent site since it's all public domain information.

 

At the end of the day they are not the kind of company I think anyone should do business with.

Every person that purchases one of their map products is telling them it's ok to steal other people's work and sell it at profit.

 

I suspect they are referring to compilations of factual data. Compilations of factual data may be protected but there are restrictions. Unless you are willing to spend the time and money to take them to court there is not much you can do. Perhaps take the data offline if you believe they are taking it but that doesn't do much for the people like me who enjoy using the free trail maps. I would also suggest you be very careful about any statements you make publicly. They could be used against you should you become too much of an irritation to them.

 

I'm pretty much done with them now. I approached them, got their answer and yes there's nothing I can do about it except carry on with life. I'm not pulling the Trails Project offline - genie is out of the bottle anyway - and I wouldn't want to hurt the geocaching community that way.

 

I am however curious to know if they knowingly updated their trail data from the Projects that called them out on it after the fact.

 

That would demonstrate a malicious intent vs accidental intent to me. At the end of the day though it's like anything else posted on the internet - it will get copied and distributed far more than one might intend or want. For all I know someone downloaded the project and sent it in as a "user contribution".

 

When I talked to them in person I was hoping they would take that stance instead of the stance they did, which was that they would copy it and I should be glad they did.

 

It's officially "off my chest" now and I won't continue to hijack this thread unless anything significant happens. I'll be releasing a new version of the OTP in the next few weeks as it's still a fun hobby. Thanks for the reminder not to spout off too much.

 

Anyone reading this thread that wants to discuss the "theft"/misuse of the data can email me via my profile.

 

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They actually did agree in writing with me to remove my data.... I would be interested to know if it has been removed.

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I qualify for extended free upgrades now, having sent them quite a few tracks and POIs that I've recorded over the last year or two.

 

So I downloaded 3.0, and I'll check it out to see how it compares to the two previous versions. I'll write a review once I've had a really good look.

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Okay, I've had a chance to live with 3.0 for a while. Here are my impressions.

 

Most importantly to me, they've fixed the erratic topo contours of 2.0. Now the topo contours are consistently displayed, and the data seems to be high-resolution and accurate as far as I can tell. The downside is, unfortunately, that the contours are now nearly invisible on the dark green background used for park areas. I spend much of my hiking time in park areas, and while I totally appreciate a mapset that shows these land boundaries with a different color (vs Ibycus which uses color to show vegetation), it'd have been nice to use a ligher shade of green so the contours would still be readable.

 

c77f2810-ec3f-4dd3-8967-fc2e3f089f29.jpg

 

The SATM trail data appears to have been removed, as requested. I checked a few trails that were present in 2.x and they're not there in 3.0. There are a lot of trails still shown however, and I imagine these came from a different data source. Trails are shown with rather wide lines, and the whole display seems to be optimized for Nuvi-type units. (These screenshots are from my trusty old 60CSx. I skipped the installer, so if there's a Nuvi-vs-handheld option, I didn't see it. There wasn't one last time.)

 

I've noticed a bunch of new POIs, such as restaurants, bus stops, mountain names, campsites, and the like. Oddly the POI text is shown above and to the right of the POI symbol (see the two examples in the upper-right screenshot), but at least the info is there. I think the oilwell names and LSD boundaries are gone, though WMUs are still shown.

 

Auto-routing is still slow to useless. A route from my living room in Edmonton to a cache on an oil-lease road a few hours north takes about 10 minutes to calculate before returning an out-of-memory error. Another out-of-town destination took at least 5 minutes to calculate, but it did succeed. When I needed to go from A to B a few kilometers through residential areas on my bike in Edmonton, I set the unit for shortest route and bicycle, and it did come up with a good route fairly quickly - though it seems to think the residential streets in this area are "ramps"; while going east on a numbered residential street, the prompt said "north on ramp". Details...

 

But this is first and foremost a mapset for back roads, and it seems to do that well. I didn't compare the new version side-by-side with an older one, but in my limited checking from memory, road detail seems the same as before. Of course there will be some new roads; I just haven't stumbled across them. The new NW portion of Edmonton's ring road isn't there yet.

 

The lower-left screenshot shows an example of the backroad detail, a place where I parked at the top of the screen and followed cutlines to a cache at the shore of a pretty lake. Same detail here as version 1.0, and it helped a lot for this particular cache. (Who needs a boat?)

 

In short, 3.0 is an improvement on 2.x, but I still prefer 1.0, and will be reverting to that shortly. (If you have any specific questions about 3.0, ask quickly before I make the switch back.) 1.0 has readable contours in all areas, has DEM shading and intermediate elevations (when the arrow is between contours), and it routes faster if not particularly better. And it's just more pleasing to the eye on the 60CSx. What 1.0 doesn't have is high-res trails, but I can add those with a SATM layer direct from the source.

 

Questions?

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..... I spend much of my hiking time in park areas, and while I totally appreciate a mapset that shows these land boundaries with a different color (vs Ibycus which uses color to show vegetation), it'd have been nice to use a ligher shade of green so the contours would still be readable.

 

Trails are shown with rather wide lines, and the whole display seems to be optimized for Nuvi-type units. (These screenshots are from my trusty old 60CSx.

 

This is all easily fixable by making your own TYP file. There is a nice online editor here: http://ati.land.cz/gps/typdecomp/editor.cgi I modify the formatting for Ibycus and Metroguide Canada to fix the dark green and some line problems. Once you have what you want, it is easy to keep the file for new revisions.

Edited by Red90

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Thanks for the link; I've been meaning to do that when I have a little time. If I can visually tweak V3, I think I'd prefer to use it over V1. Readability was the showstopper in V3 for me.

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Quick note for now: Version 4 is out, and in short, I'm impressed. They've fixed most of the glitches I noted above for the earlier versions, and from what I've seen so far, I'm ready to start using V4 on a daily basis now. :)

 

More details to follow once I've spent a little more time with the maps, but in the meantime, if anyone has questions, fire away.

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Right. As promised, here's my review of the latest Version 4 of Backroad GPS Maps for Alberta.

 

In a nutshell, it's good. Earlier I'd found V2 and V3 inferior to the original V1, and in both cases had gone back to using V1. Not this time, V4 is a keeper. As I mentioned in my quick note, they've fixed almost all of my earlier complaints.

 

Routing is now lickety-split fast, or at least, as fast as any other mapset I know of that supports routing. It'll route to forest roads in the back of beyond, and back again, or from one lonely back road to another. It doesn't support routing to the most minor level of road, eg individual wellsite access roads, but then neither did V1. Suggestion: if it knows enough about the minor roads to draw them on the map, it'd be nice if it could include them in the routing. (But then, maybe that's what caused the routing problems in the earlier versions. Anyway, it'd be nice to have, but not essential.)

 

It still doesn't know about one-way roads, and will try to send you into oncoming traffic. This includes highways & urban freeways, which are essentially paired one-way roads. Check your route in advance (always a good idea!), it might expect you to leave the freeway via an on-ramp. Okay, we're not stupid enough to actually do that, but there are times when you'll just have to ignore the advice. But then, this isn't advertised as a "city navigator", is it? It does backroads fine.

 

One last note about routing. I've been using the maps in conjunction with Southern Alberta Trail Maps (SATM), and got some messages, Route Calculation Error. As soon as I turned off the SATM layer, the errors went away. I think this has something to do with SATM's ability to route on trails (V4 doesn't BTW), which perhaps conflicted with creating a usable long-distance route on roads. I mention it in case anybody else is having the same problem.

 

Speaking of trails, I've noticed new ones in V4, and new roads as well. Edmonton's Anthony Henday Drive is up to date. New city roads, new minor back roads too.

 

DEM data (digital elevation model) is back! Which means it'll show contour shading in units that support it, and in Mapsource/Basecamp. This was a great feature in V1, and I'm glad to see it back. It also means my 60CSx will show the elevation at the map pointer, a great convenience, even if the pointer is between contour lines.

 

The topo contour data seems to come from a different source than the earlier versions, and it looks to be of good quality. Contour interval is typically 10m, and although it managed to hide a non-trivial canyon within Canmore without any hint of its existence, so did V1 and Ibycus Topo when I checked. Oh, and contrary to my screenshot upthread, now the topo contours for McConnell Ridge East (aka Engagement Mtn) indicate the summit in the correct place, as verified by a POI for a cache I know is just steps from the summit.

 

The last thing, and my only real struggle with V4, is readability. It seems optimized for Nuvi-style units, which I can understand given the likely market. On my low-res 60CSx however, major roads are drawn quite wide, making it hard to see the purple route hiding behind. But more significantly (for me at least), is the general darkness of the background in urban and especially park areas. Parks are dark green, effectively hiding the topo contours unless you look really closely. This'd be my biggest suggestion: please lighten the terrain colors. (Perhaps it's time I looked into a TYP editor as Red90 suggested above...)

 

That's all for now. Sorry I don't have any screenshots. Questions?

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V4 looks great! I was really hoping that they would have Newfoundland (island) coverage. I sent an email asking that very question. Let's see what comes back.

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