Forums Tech Corner TOPO! Mapping Software (and other GPS talk)
Viewing 19 posts - 1 through 19 (of 19 total)
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  • #571406
    dude_reino
    467 Posts

    I’ve been using my Garmin GPS for many months now. I bought it just before the big elk hunt, and I used it so much in its most primary function: to create way points and track my way back and forth between camp, trailheads, and locations where I stashed gear and meat. It also led me out to my truck at night while it was raining.

    I’ve recently been continuing to use my Garmin GPS in the same capacity to find my way out on backcountry splitboarding trips, but now that I’ve got the TOPO! software, I’ve been diving into the functions of both and now ‘pre-loading’ various waypoints before a trip to help me find and identify trailheads, entrances, and summits easily when in the field. And then I can go back and retrace my route to save with my favorite photos and trip report.

    Does anyone else utilize GPS out in the field? What are your thoughts? Do you combine with any sort of software when planning trips? ?

    #615441
    mysticfalcon
    74 Posts

    I dont but I have been thinking about a GPS for when Im out in the woods. What do you use and how do you like it. I love my car GPS but I would really like something I can use off road.

    #615442
    BigJay
    342 Posts

    I use my GPS for everything while out in the woods. Woods are dense around here… so knowing where you’ve started from and also where you’ve been before is a very important thing if you don’t want to spend a cold night in the woods… I keep lots of archives… One is for outtings (simplified tracks and very little waypoints). Another one is for specific outtings… includes all i took that day. And one is to cover a whole area with all i’ve got that i can just cut and paste into any other database…

    It serves me well while mountain biking too… You can get lots of GPX files on the web and ride only “the good stuff” instead of playing around and trying to find how local people ride the trails… That of course is good outside of your usual playground!

    I use the latest version of MapSource and GoogleEarth. I use http://www.gpsvisualizer.com to transfer file formats… that’s about it! Oh yeah… and if you ride in one area, get the 1:20K topo map… they’re pricey (100$) but you’ll get all the trails, fireroads, doubletracks, streams, rivers and all…

    I could put a few links out for CO and UT topo Maps that can be found on the web…

    #615443
    BigJay
    342 Posts
    #615444
    dishwasher-dave
    460 Posts

    As Luca Brasi mentioned, pre-loading routes/waypoints is a super cool trick with gps and mapping software. The result is a whiteout navigation plan extraordinaire.

    I still would like to get better at this, as well as incorporating google earth images into trip planning.

    #615445
    Kyle Miller
    510 Posts

    I use a few different programs to Scout out lines like
    NASA worldwind 3.1
    MSN Virtual Earth
    Google Earth
    and National Geographic Topozone
    In the field I used a Garmin Rino for a long time but Im poor and cant afford the batteries so I switched over to a Suunto X10 watch which you can easily mark your home location and at the end of the trip you can hook the watch up to your computer and track the info via Google Earth like this photo

    Hopefully this helps

    #615446
    sketchyT
    280 Posts

    ^ That’s pretty cool, I was wondering how you did that.

    I’ve been using the Delorme PN 40 this season and I’m really liking it. http://shop.delorme.com/OA_HTML/DELibeCCtpSctDspRte.jsp?section=10460

    Delorme has a great library subscription where for $30 you can download unlimited amounts of data. They have USGS quads, arial photos, satelite images and more. All of these maps can be displayed on the handheld. The software Topo USA has a built in 3D terrain map like the one above which is really useful when planning routes.

    Their customer service has been great too. They have an online forum where many of their employees answer questions. http://forum.delorme.com/

    This GPS has way too much cool stuff to list here. You’re just going to have to check it out.

    #615447
    optimator
    8 Posts

    I have a Garmin ETrex Legend C – now discontinued. I usually track the route I’m doing. It’s more for the fun of looking back at the route we took. I then upload the GPS track into Google Earth. But not everyone has Google Earth so I also post it to google maps.

    Here is a point-to-point tour from Big Cottonwood Canyon back to my house we did in January with a couple of sweet laps on Little Water Peak.

    Click for The Map

    #615448
    mysticfalcon
    74 Posts

    @sketchyT wrote:

    I’ve been using the Delorme PN 40 this season and I’m really liking it. http://shop.delorme.com/OA_HTML/DELibeCCtpSctDspRte.jsp?section=10460

    Delorme has a great library subscription where for $30 you can download unlimited amounts of data. They have USGS quads, arial photos, satelite images and more. All of these maps can be displayed on the handheld. The software Topo USA has a built in 3D terrain map like the one above which is really useful when planning routes.

    Their customer service has been great too. They have an online forum where many of their employees answer questions. http://forum.delorme.com/

    This GPS has way too much cool stuff to list here. You’re just going to have to check it out.

    Thanks for the heads up. I’ve been thinking about a GPS for years and I finally got one. Haven’t actually brought it out yet but as far as playing with it in the yard it seems very nice. The subscription for maps is great and the software for the computer is very nice. Today will be my first chance to really take it out and use it.

    #615449
    mysticfalcon
    74 Posts

    Well I got to bring it out on Sunday. It was a resort day with the 6yr old but I now have some very detailed maps of all the bunny slopes at Jay Peak. Im impressed with just how well it can keep track of things. When I had it out you could actually see my traverses on the trails. It spent most of the time in my lower front jacket pocket however which meant it was a little off and the track shows where it lost lock a few times. For being in a place where it definitely didn’t get a very good sky view Im pretty impressed. I really look forward to being able to use it on some longer hikes over the summer and really be able to test it out.

    #615450
    sketchyT
    280 Posts

    Yeah, I was amazed when I was able to keep the PN40 inside my jacket and it still tracked. It’s really helpful to be able to kee the gps warm which helps with battery life. That’s my biggest gripe with it, the battery consumption. It’s a major battery hog although the latest firmware update seemed to help. The software is a little cumbersome but I’m use to highend 3D programs so it may just be me.

    #615451
    jimw
    1421 Posts

    I’ve been playing around with GPS and topo maps for a while now… it’s pretty fun! One thing I’d love to be able to do, and haven’t figured out yet is a way to draw a route in TOPO, or on Google Earth, and export it as a *track* (not a series of waypoints, which is what TOPO does AFAIK), and then load that track into the GPS. That way you could have a continuous track of your intended route preloaded on the GPS. Again this is different from a series of waypoints – that works, but just doesn’t seem as clean.

    I recently caved in and picked up an iPhone, and I’ve been playing with some of the GPS apps for it. Pretty cool stuff, and they’re updated a lot more frequently than say, firmware for a handheld GPS, so it’s only going to get better. Battery life is the main issue, which I solved for the time being with an external battery pack. Interference with beacons is also a concern, but seems to be mitigated to a large extent as long as you keep some physical separation between electronic devices.

    I love being able to add a very functional GPS app to my phone for $3. To bad you can’t add a phone to a Garmin for $3!! 🙂

    #615452
    cdubravcic
    9 Posts

    yeah i also have a rino 530 hcx, my buddy and i both got one its nice being able to beam locations in the resorts trees. I am also partial to resaving the files so google earth can read them, looks pretty on satellite imagery lol. I have also been looking at some topo map apps for the iphone. But i need to futz with google earth more when im done with this semester, going back to school for my bsn, and figure out the map caching and all that jazz.

    #615453
    snownskate
    140 Posts

    Now that most everyone and their grandmothers have Iphones/Android device/etc. I’m wondering what people are using for GPS tracking apps? There’s a ton in the different app market making it hard to distinguish the differences.

    I just tried sport tracker…which seems cool but only the paid version allows map uploads. I’m definitely looking for one that does stats (elevation gains/mileage/speeds/etc.) and mapping routes, etc.

    #615454
    PedroDelfuego
    758 Posts

    My Tracks for Android is awesome and free.
    It gives to elevation, speed and duration information.
    If your have built in GPS it needs no network and you can export and import to Google Maps or Google Earth.

    #615455
    jimw
    1421 Posts

    I’ve been using GPS Kit for iPhone. There are several other GPS apps as well, I just find that this one works well for what I want. Whatever app you try, just make sure that it lets you cache map data, so that you can still browse the map once you’re out of cell coverage. GPS Kit uses Google terrain maps, which I happen to like more than some of the other options.

    With the iPhone at least, you’ll find that a major issue is battery life; the GPS just eats it up. I’ve been using this external battery pack with the iPhone, and it’s great. Definitely the best battery life vs. size. Even with that you’ll only get a full day’s worth out of the phone if the GPS app is running continuously. Keep that in mind when planning longer trips.

    There’s an app called GPSBabel which can convert between just about any types of waypoint format. So even if import/export isn’t directly supported by the apps you’re using, you might be able to fudge it. For example, I can use TOPO to plot a route, export it, convert it gpx via GPSBabel, then import it into GPS Kit via the web interface (which you can access once you buy the app).

    #615456
    burton
    329 Posts

    My GPS is a Garmin e-trex Vista HCX .
    2 years of thinking bay it ore not – it comes from selv.
    It wos apresent from my girl, to find better and faster Home :mrgreen:
    one of the best thing s i ever be came for the BC adventur s.

    I m in germany, and i youse a free softwear, Map Source, and some free maps.
    I like the option see trips on google earth.
    Most time i look for free downloads of intresting tours as GPX. Files – in some Forum s as freedownload.
    And you can see witch way goes the other gays, and you can change the way and bring an new file.
    In europ is a way a cross the mountain – with the MTB – we call it Alpencross.For this is a GPS great , after the cross you can see al waypoints and remanders, distance speed an Hm on your trip report – but a paiper map is every time on the back. a gps is a good thing, but i never give a paiper map away.

    A Gps is good for me to MTB , hiking , and Splitboardtouring .
    Only critysize point is the battery live time – 20 Hours – i hade every time a second pair of battery in my day pack – the same sizze as my alavanceresiver. On a longer tripp some battery more 2 Day a pair.

    Burton

    #615457
    Rex
    42 Posts

    @jimw wrote:

    I’ve been playing around with GPS and topo maps for a while now… it’s pretty fun! One thing I’d love to be able to do, and haven’t figured out yet is a way to draw a route in TOPO, or on Google Earth, and export it as a *track* (not a series of waypoints, which is what TOPO does AFAIK), and then load that track into the GPS. That way you could have a continuous track of your intended route preloaded on the GPS. Again this is different from a series of waypoints – that works, but just doesn’t seem as clean.

    I recently caved in and picked up an iPhone, and I’ve been playing with some of the GPS apps for it. Pretty cool stuff, and they’re updated a lot more frequently than say, firmware for a handheld GPS, so it’s only going to get better. Battery life is the main issue, which I solved for the time being with an external battery pack. Interference with beacons is also a concern, but seems to be mitigated to a large extent as long as you keep some physical separation between electronic devices.

    I love being able to add a very functional GPS app to my phone for $3. To bad you can’t add a phone to a Garmin for $3!! 🙂

    I switch my mobile off during the tour because of possible interference with my Mammut pulse beacon. I believe GPS devices like a Garmin has less interference. I only use the iphone gps when I am mountain biking. Oh and I always bring a map and compass in the backpack. For Europeans, GPS-TRACKS has a ton load of downloadable and graded GPX files which I open and edit Mapsource.

    #615458
    jbaysurfer
    947 Posts

    I’ve been using backcountry pro for Android (I think it’s the same thing Jim is using for his iphone). I also find battery life to be the only issue, although putting the phone in airplane mode while not using it for route finding is helping me last a full day. I did a 5 hour tour on Mt. Bailey last thursday and was able to use the phone as an MP3 player for half the tour, and still finished with 50% after starting on a full charge. Leaving the phone in tracking mode eats lots of batteries though. The mapping is fantastic, and the gps radio is more powerful and reliable then my garmin 60 csx unit.

    I echo Jims wish for a continuous track that you can load from Topo! to my Phone though..but that seems to me to be the fault of NG IMHO. It’s annoying to have to add a butt load of waypoints in order to get a close approximation of a track.

    I also have experimented with my bike computer (Garmin Edge) and it works great as far as recording the track and importing it back into Google earth etc…but it’s not a mapping unit, so using it for routefinding is pretty worthless. You could load a route into it and get digital arrow prompts for finding the next waypoint, but still no mapping, you’re just following arrows..which..IMHO isn’t as effective as just using a compass for the same purpose. Below is a link to a tour I did with Jim and a few other guys earlier this season:
    http://connect.garmin.com/activity/87646069

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