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Author Topic: Trail Map to GPS  (Read 2494 times)
cosmic
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« on: September 14, 2009, 03:44:56 PM »

After the first section of the Metacomet, I found a problem with my navigation system. (If you've been reading that thread I'm sure you're sick of hearing about it Grin)

When we got lost, I could see the GPS track on the little 1"x1" screen and compare it to the trail map and try to guess where we should be. A pretty crude system to say the least, and we ended up a mile off course. GPS is great in that it tells you where you are, but if you don't know where you are supposed to be, it does nothing for you.

I wanted to figure out a way to create a GPS track and export it to the Forerunner so that I could, on the next hike, see the trail as a reference and know if I was getting off track.

Here is the system I came up with:

1) Scan your trail map to a .jpg file. Hopefully the map is to scale and includes some roads or geographical features.
2) Open up Google Earth and overlay the trail map image. Move and stretch the image so it lines up as well as possible with Google Earth. In other words, make sure all the roads line up, all the lakes, etc.
4) In Google Earth, draw a path over the trail map image. Use as many points or as few as you think is necessary. Save the path to a .kmz file

My gps doesn't take .kmz files. Perhaps some do and then all you would have to do is upload the file to your GPS. But, I found this great website called gpsies.com that seems to convert to any GPS format you could possibly want.

5)So, in gpsies.com upload the .kmz file, and then export to your GPS.

This worked great yesterday. My image alignment in Google Earth wasn't perfect, so it looked like I was slightly off track, but at the most it was about 100 feet - definitely not a problem. I was really hoping the trail was harder to follow like the first day, but it wasn't. But, I'm sure the system will be put to the test on not so well traveled sections later this fall.

Here is a screen shot of Google Earth with Metacomet Section 2 map overlayed, and paths traced over in green and red for Sections 1 and 2:


And here is a screen shot of gpsies.com


I also think this would be great if you have an old trail map for a trail that is overgrown and not maintained, but that you would like to explore.
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danishstock
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« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2009, 09:35:18 PM »

Cosmic,
Love you system of overlaying the scanned topo.  I've been using the "draw it in GE, convert the .kmz, upload to my Fortrex" sequence for a year or so.  I hadn't thought of the overlay.

My wife and I hiked five days on the Dingle Way (it's real, but laugh it up anyway) in Ireland in August this year.  I plotted out the whole route before we left.  The Way is well signposted, but the GPS was real helpful for gauging arrival times, etc.  Some pics of the trip are at http://picasaweb.google.com/danishstock/IrelandAugust152009?feat=directlink.
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cosmic
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« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2009, 03:19:39 PM »

The Dingle Way sounds awesome. My wife and I did the Coast to Coast hike in England several years ago, and we can't wait to get back to Great Britain to do something similar. Inn to Inn hiking is the best!
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