Welcome to the AppalachianTrailCafe.net!
Take a moment and register and then join the conversation

Garmin Mapping of the AT

    This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse this site, you are agreeing to our Cookie Policy.

    • Garmin Mapping of the AT

      Welcome to the Appalachian Trail Cafe!

      Garmin produces some of the best trail products for dedicated hikers that are incredibly easy to use. Over the years it has gone from a early somewhat frustrating product to something that works better than smart phone software. Now you can store a detailed map of the Appalachian Trail and here is where to find the software. This is a card that is inserted under the batteries - one and done...

      CLICK

      Garnin's have advanced capabilities that few folks talk about. It seamlessly connects to Google Earth and imports your hikes into the platform for time reviews. Park Maps can be layered into Google Earth aligned and dropped back into the handheld. Hard to find trails can be shared between other users and platforms exist on Backpacker Magazine and Trimble. You have to create an account to get these features.

      [IMG:http://www.mightypets.com/images/products/Garmin/Oregon-650t_lg.jpg]
      Why question the intentions of a road-crossing chicken?
    • [IMG:http://i250.photobucket.com/albums/gg275/MarkSwarbrick/cartoon_zpse696052c.jpg]

      Yea if you feel that way, that's fine, we have all swapped stories of getting up in the morning and hiking ten miles in the wrong direction. Thinking the trail town is 1 mile ahead only to discover its 15 miles... accidentally making a turn on a blue blaze. Or just flat out following a 1950 fire jeep road and missing the turn. With these products you know how far and whats ahead as well as your personal progress. I have met people on the trail that were so lost they had no business being there, no map, no compass, no water, no brains. And I don't mind helping them, get back on track.
      Why question the intentions of a road-crossing chicken?
    • TrafficJam wrote:

      WOO, or anyone else, can you explain to me what map layers are? I can't figure out how to use this Gaia program.



      For Iphone Gaia the layers available are base map, topo, Arial,

      Base map offers a clear background showing trail features, towns, and stops.

      Topo shows terrain, altitudes, far more graphic detail. With it you can see if a trail hits a cliff or you need to bushwack. It helps for taking shortcuts and getting to locations that may require more information. Always keep in mind these maps are old, some sections are from the 1950's

      Aerial - simply a photo of what is around you... It also contains new information about what may not be on the maps. Helpful for stealth camping, it shows clearings, wooded areas, finding abandoned areas.


      Layers can be turned on or off while hiking on the App and offer clarity due to different conditions.
      Why question the intentions of a road-crossing chicken?
    • TrafficJam wrote:

      WOO, or anyone else, can you explain to me what map layers are? I can't figure out how to use this Gaia program.



      I've had Gaia for quite a while but never had a need to use it on the trail, took it hunting a couple weeks ago, wandered around until I didn't know exactly where I was, killed a deer, knew it would take forever and a day to drag it back the way I had come, checked Gaia and I had wandered half way back towards my truck, saved me a lot of work and a possible heart attack dragging a deer up mountains.
      I may grow old but I'll never grow up.
    • WiseOldOwl wrote:

      TrafficJam wrote:

      WOO, or anyone else, can you explain to me what map layers are? I can't figure out how to use this Gaia program.



      For Iphone Gaia the layers available are base map, topo, Arial,

      Base map offers a clear background showing trail features, towns, and stops.

      Topo shows terrain, altitudes, far more graphic detail. With it you can see if a trail hits a cliff or you need to bushwack. It helps for taking shortcuts and getting to locations that may require more information. Always keep in mind these maps are old, some sections are from the 1950's

      Aerial - simply a photo of what is around you... It also contains new information about what may not be on the maps. Helpful for stealth camping, it shows clearings, wooded areas, finding abandoned areas.


      Layers can be turned on or off while hiking on the App and offer clarity due to different conditions.


      Thank you! That is an awesome explanation...even I understand it. ^^
      In life there are no limitations. Except stupidity. If you're stupid, you're screwed.

      Stephan Pastis
    • This is a personal favorite spot for me to hike, this is a scan of an older Appalachian Trail Maps from the ATC, If you are just thru hiking you are on the red trail, but look at all the other trails nearby! I have parked at Weiser State Forest and using a Garmin 450T hiked the trails all the way into Hawk Mountain Sanctuary and came back on the AT. Creating new circle tracks or stealth camping with confidence, on trails I have never been on before. Its putting local knowledge at your fingertips.

      [IMG:http://i250.photobucket.com/albums/gg275/MarkSwarbrick/2005_1031Image0044.jpg]
      Why question the intentions of a road-crossing chicken?
    • I like my electronics... but hiking would be getting away from them. I remember old days, back when we had only 3 tv stations, and hiked up hill both ways to school in a raging blizzard in August... anyway, we camped to get away from the radio and teevee.

      I guess I can get used to gps, but I do know how to use a topo map and compass. I even know what some of the topo map symbols represent. I think I remember them anyway. 8)
      --
      "What do you mean its sunrise already ?!", me.
    • I carry my smartphone GPS on hikes not so much to follow maps as to make them.

      USGS was defunded in the first Bush administration and the USGS now depends on secondary data sources to make its maps. While the secondary sources can be decent for things like the highway network (because there's money in driving directions), things like trails really depend on citizen mappers to make the map. So I figure that one of the ways that I can give back to the community is to carry my GPS and record my tracks and waypoints, and update OpenStreetMap with them when I get back.

      I actually get a pretty cool map for myself out of it.
      I'm not lost. I know where I am. I'm right here.
    • I was looking for topo maps on the USGS site recently, they are pdfs. You can still buy printed maps, but the pdfs are free. If I had a printer that printed actual size 1:24000 maps... but I don't. No idea if USGS is okay with a downloader printing the pdfs at a print shop though. No copyright notice on them as they are made with tax dollar funding.

      Gps devices are a long ways above my budget though. Hm... I would hate to take it hiking, but I do have a 10" Asus tablet. ( Ice cream sandwich Android) If I could figure out how to plug up a solar array battery charger from adafruit.com, I might be able to use gps on the tablet. I can use a soldering iron, and I know a few dozen things about computers... I can make a led light up using an arduino... I'll have to think about it after I do some research.
      --
      "What do you mean its sunrise already ?!", me.
    • It's perfectly OK to print downloaded US Topo maps. You already paid for them with your tax dollars, so they're free to all comers. But compared with the earlier topo series, they are awful in both accuracy and feature coverage, and you'll get sticker shock at how much a print shop charges to print one for you.

      Solar won't keep you charged on the A-T - you don't get enough light in the Green Tunnel, and tablets are pretty power-hungry. I use an Android smartphone, and carry a 14 Ah (that's 14000 mAh) charger - about 13 oz, but it'll keep my GPS running for a week if I keep the phone in airplane mode and don't spend too much time watching the screen. Unfortunately, the one I have was suddenly discontinued the week after I bought it - the vendor without notice exited the battery business. This one looks similar superficially, but I haven't tried it.

      I have one of these cases for the smartphone, and it's been through a LOT. It's more robust than the Otter Box that preceded it, which I did manage to wreck on the trail (it saved my phone, but the case was trashed).
      I'm not lost. I know where I am. I'm right here.
    • It weighs a bit, but the dock for my tablet also contains a battery. So it would then have two batteries. Somewhere around 8 hours of battery life, they claim 14 hours. If I only used it in the evening to do updates, it might work out.

      I have a 1200 mAH LiPo battery, and 3 smaller ones, from adafruit. Of course, lots of clouds or tree cover isn't going to keep the batteries charged as you mention.

      I read on the USGS site they don't check the accuracy of their maps much anymore, my interpretation of what they posted there. Sad. I remember when they excelled at map making.

      On the old maps I had there would be heights marked. Black x, checked height, brown x, estimated height. I haven't noticed much in the way of the old topo map symbols either, on the ones I've downlaoded.

      USGS site mentioned they had a history archive of their old maps... but highways and roads do get changed up, towns grow, etc. so they probably wouldn't help much.

      edit: Of course, the cost of the gps units is significantly more than I can afford.
      --
      "What do you mean its sunrise already ?!", me.
    • I think you and I have different needs. I use a phone, not a tablet, and I'm running GPS pretty much continuously in 'track recording' mode, so that I can update OpenStreetMap with trail information. That's pretty power-hungry. As I said, I can get about a week off a 14 Ah battery, so I'm probably using 2000-2500 mAh in a day of hiking. Your 1200 mAh pack is about half my daily use.

      There are some things that are better now about mapmaking than when the USGS was still in that business, so it's not a total loss.

      (1) There is now pretty good, free, Geographic Information System software out there. It's not hard any more for computer geeks to draw their own maps.
      (2) Topographic information is much improved than when the USGS did it with photogrammetry and field check of a few control points. There are a few spectacular glitches, but on the whole, spaceborne radar has done a pretty darned good job of mapping altitude over the whole planet.
      (3) Landcover information is much better also, Rather than 'green=woods, white=open space, pink=developed' and perhaps treatments for sand, swamp and so on, I can get satellite data that classifies things according to seasonal IR signatures. You'll see in the map above that there are separate colours for marsh (blue-green), cropland (buff), developed land (pink), deciduous forest (medium green), mixed forest (pale green), coniferous forest (darker green), and so on.
      (4) A whole lot of people keep the road network up to date, since that's by far the largest use of small-scale maps.

      But other things are worse than they were.

      (1) Nobody seems to catalogue the benchmarks any more. Survey-grade GPS makes them next to useless - although they remain nice references for tectonic monitoring. Ditto for township and section corners.
      (2) In most places, nobody catalogues the building footprints, or they are catalogued only by the agencies that maintain the tax rolls. In New York and New Jersey (the Second Circuit) specifically, the tax rolls are subject to copyright, and you have to pay big $$$ for building footprints and can't redistribute them. By contrast, Massachusetts's open government law demands that they be available for public access, which is why you can see the houses in Adams.
      (3) Hydrographic data is spotty. It's mostly been compiled to electronic form from the old topos. They're missing a lot of changes - streams shift, canals are redug, and so on. And the compilers out-and-out missed some features.
      (4) Power lines, fence lines, pipelines, and other cultural features are very much catch-as-catch-can.

      We're nearly to the point where citizen mappers, augmented with taxpayer-funded electronic data, can outperform what USGS once did. It's unquestionably different, but it's getting pretty good.
      I'm not lost. I know where I am. I'm right here.
    • Uhm, me? Got specific questions? A lot of work went into the map that I'm using, and it would be a while bringing you up to speed on all the details, but I can try.

      Or are you interested in how you can contribute to OpenStreetMap? That I can do readily... the OpenStreetMap beginners' guide is a pretty good starting point, with many links to other introductory material. I can surely help you forward from there. Getting started with it is a little bit like drinking from the fire hose.

      If you want to check out my personal map, by now I think it covers the entire A-T. What it covers in secondary trails and other information depends very much on where you are; there is simply better data available in some places than others. If you want to see what I have, look at kbk.is-a-geek.net/catskills/test3.html Don't be deceived by the 'catskills' in the name. It' started out being a Catskill Mountains project but got totally out of hand. Try to be kind to the bandwidth, since that's my home machine. If you want parts of that map itself, to use repeatedly, I'll work out some way to get stuff to you. Obviously, we're dealing with very large files here.

      I've tried to set up the map to be mobile-friendly at the expense of some of the paper-friendly features (such as UTM grid lines and a consistent scale). It plays just fine in Backcountry Navigator. I haven't tried any other mobile mapping apps, but I imagine that the ones that support custom maps will work with it.

      It also plays well with GPS Visualizer. If you look at kbk.is-a-geek.net/maps/20150606/20150606npt0606b.html you'll see the tracks of a day trip that I did back in June, mapping out a relocation of the southern terminus of the Northville Placid Trail. The dropdown at the right lets you compare a whole lot of different maps. 'Kevin's Map' is right at the bottom. I find it interesting to compare that with 'USGS topo (ArcGIS)' because that shows comparative advantages and disadvantages between modern open data sources and the traditional topos.
      I'm not lost. I know where I am. I'm right here.
    • JimBlue wrote:

      I was more trying to come up with ways I can afford to do gps. Otherwise, I wont have it when I'm hiking.
      I put Gaia on my phone, although I never use it, shows where you are, trail info such as shelters, roads, other trails, etc, good stuff if you use it, I paid $9.95 but I'm guessing the price has gone up by now.
      I may grow old but I'll never grow up.
    • $19.99 and supports sd cards, but my phone doesn't accept sd cards. Samsung Galaxy S4... if it does, unable to find the card slot. Has Android 4.3

      Their map shows Pinhoti trail, they get info from USGS, etc.

      Mentions, but doesn't say what the 'in program' purchases are.
      --
      "What do you mean its sunrise already ?!", me.

      The post was edited 1 time, last by JimBlue: info ().

    • JimBlue wrote:

      $19.99 and supports sd cards, but my phone doesn't accept sd cards. Samsung Galaxy S4... if it does, unable to find the card slot. Has Android 4.3

      Their map shows Pinhoti trail, they get info from USGS, etc.

      Mentions, but doesn't say what the 'in program' purchases are.
      I use BackCountry Navigator (it was $10 when I bought it, it may have gone up a couple of bucks). Definitely supports SD cards. The slot on a GS4 is inside the battery compartment. There are a whole series of topos available for "in program" purchases - I haven't bought any, I use the USGS ones or roll my own.
      I'm not lost. I know where I am. I'm right here.
    • Months later follow up... I have an SD card in my phone now. After my aggrevation at not knoing how far I walked Apr 8, 2016, I'll be looking at both Gaia and Backwoods Navigator for my phone. I do like my tablet, larger screen. And taking readng glasses on a hike, well, seems slightly silly except I need to read small print anyway. I'll use the Ion camera for videos and photos, and the cell for tracking my distance.
      --
      "What do you mean its sunrise already ?!", me.
    • AnotherKevin wrote:

      JimBlue wrote:

      $19.99 and supports sd cards, but my phone doesn't accept sd cards. Samsung Galaxy S4... if it does, unable to find the card slot. Has Android 4.3

      Their map shows Pinhoti trail, they get info from USGS, etc.

      Mentions, but doesn't say what the 'in program' purchases are.
      I use BackCountry Navigator (it was $10 when I bought it, it may have gone up a couple of bucks). Definitely supports SD cards. The slot on a GS4 is inside the battery compartment. There are a whole series of topos available for "in program" purchases - I haven't bought any, I use the USGS ones or roll my own.

      I looked over Backcountry and Gaia. Have to wait until I get paid again, while higher in orice the Gaia looks better to me so far. But I may change my mind.
      --
      "What do you mean its sunrise already ?!", me.