View Poll Results: Which fancy tools do you use for your mapping needs?

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  • I just go places I know; we don't need no stinkin' maps.

    5 9.26%
  • The most detailed mapping thing I do is use USGS topo maps.

    14 25.93%
  • I've used a GPS and/or PLB/SPOT/beacon.

    30 55.56%
  • My GPS talks to my home computer regularly.

    16 29.63%
  • I've used google maps, or mapquest or such to chart a trip.

    16 29.63%
  • I've used google earth.

    31 57.41%
  • I've used the mapper software from National Geographic, or Backroads 3D, or such.

    29 53.70%
  • I've used newer spacially-aware and spacially-enabled software applications on my computer.

    3 5.56%
  • Spa-shel-ly-WHAT?

    2 3.70%
  • I've either imported or exported .kml, .shp, or such spacial data into computer software.

    12 22.22%
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Thread: fancy mapping tools

  1. #1
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    Question fancy mapping tools

    If you want to try what seems like an advanced tool (to me), try going to the USGS site, click on maps, toss a couple of topo maps in your shopping cart, and then if you're using firefox (sorry msie guys) you can download them online right away. I continued on, after that, to give my credit card number so I'd get the paper maps sent to me too.

    Open one up and you'll see its spacially-enabled, and will prompt you to download the free tool from http://www.terragotech.com/download/...=geopdftoolbar which will work with your firefox and acrobat to let you do lots of fancy mapping things such as building/measuring/marking a route using either satellite imagery or topo data or both, exchanging the data between geopdftoolbar and google earth and/or google maps.

    I've done various mapping things now and then, but never quite like this - I was wondering if many had.

    The one thing I'm finding is the same thing exists as has always: All of the mapping sources you try to correlate between are wrong in many points; you can't trust any of them. I saw that 20 years ago when correlating then-30 year old Mexican maps to modern ones, but am surprised that these discrepancies still exist today with our super-accurate GPSing.

  2. #2
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    Default

    Iíve been making my own maps before there were GPSís, some maps were for snowmobiling and cover a large areas, other less than a mile square. I found the only way to know if your map is correct is with a GPS on the ground.

  3. #3
    Member garnede's Avatar
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    Default

    Family man the discrepancys anre because not all maps are trying to convey the same thing. A map that centers on the equator distorts Alaska more than a map that is centered on Fairbanks. When maping round objects, the earth, you will never have a truly acurate representation, so you pick what you are trying to convey and go with it.
    It ain't about the # of pounds of meat we bring back, nor about how much we spent to go do it. Its about seeing what no one else sees.

    http://wouldieatitagainfoodblog.blogspot.com/

  4. #4
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    Default the earth is not flat

    Yes and no... discrepancies still exist when maps try to locate the same thing, like a road, trail or intersection.

    Yes, the basic rub is that earth isn't flat, so any flat representation of it will be wrong in some regards.

    But now that our GPS's show us where we are within a few scant yards, I expect landmark locations to become more accurate; hasn't much happened yet.

    I'm just now getting into the cool new (free) mapping tools we now have available to us (as my first post indicated). But for those of you that have been doing this, do you recommend doing your initial route in google earth, google maps, geopdftoolbar, or what, before you export your route to the other free tools for some correlation points and additional data?

    And which data file format for your spacial data is preferred?

    And also, what new GPS best works with these tools? Mine is old, but I'm starting to understand it must be NIMA-compliant? If so, which one(s) are recommended? Its time for me to upgrade, and make this my backup GPS or let my kids have it.

    I'm trying, but this stuff seems hard to do; its a TMI problem, not a lack of spacial info problem.

  5. #5
    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    I spent 8 years working and 3 years of college in the surveying and mapping field. Wierdly enough I don't use much more than USGS maps and a quick look at Google earth before I head out. I carry a GPS for keeping for marking where trails cross, where camp is, and sometimes where my animal is. That's about it. I also never leave camp without a compass unless I am in very familiar country.
    Bunny Boots and Bearcats: Utility Sled Mayhem

  6. #6
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    Post Quickstart guide to getting and using geospacially enabled USGS maps - all for free

    Here's a quickstart guide to using the next generation of USGS maps that are geospacially enabled:

    http://nationalmap.gov/digital_map/quickstart.pdf

    It describes how to download the free geospacial tools and how to download free USGS maps that are so enabled.

    Did I mention its all free?

  7. #7
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    It's "spatial", not to be anal, just helpful.
    I like messing around with map data. Lots of info on the web. If you are looking for something particular, a good place for info are the states GIS folks. I got a hold of the Ak state GIS folks and they sent me the data for the GMU boundaries. I was then able to put those in my GPS, (with a little messing around).
    You will find Microsoft Excel to be very useful in manipulating the data you download.
    I found the coordinates for the section corners here in our county and have them loaded in my GPS as "points of interest". Very handy for my work (I work in the woods).
    As for as the maps not reflecting current roads,etc..........the maps don't get updated very often. Around here it is nice to have and older and newer USGS quad. They seem to be taking a lot of the old brushed in roads off the newer maps.
    The USFS was proposing to remove a well used road, public meeting were to take place so we could give our input, "scoping" they call it. Well the new Forest Service maps came out before the meetings took place, the road had already been removed from the new map. So much for public input!! Anyway politics also plays a role on what's on a map.
    "The older I get, the better I was."

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