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Using a GPSr to make a trail map


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I've got an acquaintance who manages a wildlife sanctuary that contains public hiking trails. He'd like to make a map of the park and trails, and wondered if it's possible to upload a recorded trek into a file that can then be used to modify into a map of the park. He doesn't currently own a GPS, but is planning on gettting one soon, and trying to decide what brand/model to get.

 

I currently have a Magellan MAP330X, and I know that it includes a trek recording, but I'm not computer literate enough to know whether I can then upload that map into a file. (I can't even make my computer "see" my GPSr when I connect it, in an attempt to download Geocaching coordinates to it...I'm still entering them all one at a time, by hand. icon_frown.gif I sent an e-mail to support2002@easygps.com to see if they could give me any advice on how to troubleshoot the problem, but never got an acknowledgment of the request, let alone any useful help.)

 

Ok, I'll quit whining now, and get back to my original question. icon_wink.gifDoes anyone know if it's possible to upload a recorded trail from the MAP330X onto the computer as a picture, or if not, what other (reasonably priced) models have that capability?

 

P.S. Any advice on the other dilemma (what to try if my computer won't acknowledge my GPSr connection) would be welcomed, too. (I double checked, and made sure the baud rate is the same, but still no go.)

 

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"I may be slow, but at least I'm sweet!" 196939_800.jpg

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I'm not sure about your brand of GPS, but you can use a plain yellow eTrex (less than $100) with the USA PhotoMaps program found at http://jdmcox.com - it allows all kinds of upload and downloading of waypoints, tracks, routes, etc.

 

I often use it when I'm tromping through the woods, so I can see where I went, and all the twists and turns I took. USA PhotoMaps is free, with a donation suggested but not required.

 

Oh, and he'll beed a PC cable for the eTrex which will run about 15 bucks... I suggest eBay for getting the best deals on this stuff, used.

 

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The Toe Pages
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I use ExpertGPS to do it, but I don't know if EasyGPS does it. If it does then...

 

Let's start with getting your GPS to download its tracks.

 

The most likely culprit is PDA sync software running on your COM port. If you have it running, turn it off and try again.

 

If we can get your GPS talking, then we can upload/download your tracks and produce a map. The tracks can be layered over a map or an aerial photo. For an uncluttered trail map I would suggest using an aerial photo and tracing the obvious landmarks (lake, parking lot, etc.)

 

If you can't get it working email me.

 

geospotter

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Zuck here is a screen shot example of a GPS track overlayed on a topo map. This particular one is a section of the Bruce Trail (blue) and side trail (purple?) here in southern Ontario. The topo and mapping software is Fugawi's but I think most software packages will allow you to do this on any scanned/downloaded map or aerial photo.

Most popular GPSR's are capable of recording a track and downloading however for increased accuracy I would think using an external antenna would be wise.

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Cheers, Olar

 

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"Pi 'r not square, Pie 'r round you dummy!"

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quote:
Originally posted by geospotter:

 

The most likely culprit is PDA sync software running on your COM port. If you have it running, turn it off and try again.


 

Actually, the question I e-mailed to EasyGPS was whether I needed to uninstall my PDA sychronization software, or if I could just turn it off while connecting my GPSr. Do I have to completely take it off my computer?

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quote:
Originally posted by trailkat:

http://www.gpstm.com/

 

This and the two mentioned above should all do what you need once you figure out how to connect your GPS receiver up to your computer and communicate. Try them all and see what does the job best.

 

...


 

I had a lot of trouble with this program. I cannot figure out where to get maps to use on it. It also did not come with much documentation.

This is basically the same thing I was trying to do with a mountain bike trail. I will be watching the thread, hopefully there will be some good replies.

Michael

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quote:
Originally posted by Zuckerruebensirup:

Actually, the question I e-mailed to EasyGPS was whether I needed to uninstall my PDA sychronization software, or if I could just turn it off while connecting my GPSr. Do I have to completely take it off my computer?


 

Nope, it's sufficient to just turn it off. (Since my PDA is my GPSr, I don't have this problem, but I've had this problem with my digital camera.)

 

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Zuckerruebensirup

 

You do not have to uninstall the PDA sychronization software just shutdown the HotSync function to release the Com port.

 

There's an option in the Palm Desktop software that will only load Hot Sync when Palm Destop is running. Also be sure to delete HotSync from your StartUp folder.

 

CleanJeep

 

Did you download the Help file for GPS Trackmaker. It's a separate download from the main program file.

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quote:
Originally posted by Rubbertoe:

USA PhotoMaps program found at http://jdmcox.com - it allows all kinds of upload and downloading of waypoints, tracks, routes, etc.

 


I just downloaded this program and it is pretty sweet. I can download the USGS data from terraserver with a few clicks. Not hard at all. This is pretty sweet. I am only having a little trouble getting it to see the tracks from my gpsr. I will work on it some more.

This program is the best one listed so far, in my opinion.

Michael

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quote:
Originally posted by PDOP's:

 

There's an option in the Palm Desktop software that will only load Hot Sync when Palm Destop is running. Also be sure to delete HotSync from your StartUp folder.


I've got an HP Jornada (which has Windows CE operating system rather than Palm). I imagine they are similar, though. I'll go through my settings again, and see if anything is active that I wasn't aware of. I have been assuming if the little 'sync' light is greyed out, rather than green, that the software is "off". Maybe that's not the case.

 

 

quote:
Did you download the Help file for GPS Trackmaker. It's a separate download from the main program file.

Nope, I didn't do that. Until my acquaintance asked the question, I never thought about saving a track recording to use as a trail map. And by that time, I'd already given up on the idea of interfacing my GPSr with the computer at all.

 

Thanks for the file reference, though. I'll check it out and/or forward it on to him. icon_smile.gif

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I created a local park map of an orienteering course using ExpertGPs and altered the exported maps using Paintbox. We saved each checkpoint as a waypoint, highlighted them all and dragged them into the track and route windows in expertgps to create a trail on the map. Then we exported the map to a bmp file. It was very easy and quick. We added the bearings and distances to the exported map that were generated by using paintbox. You could also add the buildings and other features too. You can then paste the bmp file created in paintbox into a word processing document to add explanatory text or easily change the picture size. We used a basic yellow etrex.

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There are many programs available that will do what you want. ExpertGPS which has already been mentioned is my favorite, also good is the JDCOX program already referenced which is absolutely free. Just about any mapping program that will display tracks on a map will work, although you may have to use the clipboard to copy it to another program to work with.

 

If he hasn't already got the equipment, I highly recommend he go with a newer Garmin unit rather than a Magellan for this use. They record tracklogs quite a bit more accurately than the Magellans under most conditions. For this type of use an external antenna can also come in quite handy

 

For examples of tracklogs overlaid on topo or aerial photo maps check out my webpage:

 

http://home.sprynet.com/~searching_ut

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I would think that you would be best off using TOPO! mapping software from National Geographic Maps. There are better, more sophisticated GSIS programs such as Oziexplorer, but a mapping new comer will find it much easier to use the software I mentioned. I started with very little mapping experience, and have been able to create very good maps using my GPS. I volunteer for the New York New Jersey Trail Conference field checking maps, and this is the program they use. Also the National Geographic web site has an area where you can download and post maps called Mapxchange.

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