digital topo maps?

Home Forums Paddlers’ Place Hitting the Trail digital topo maps?

Tagged: , ,

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #158
    whitesock
    Member
    Are NFCT topo maps available in a digital format so I can view them on my phone with GPS? Alternatively, is the NFCT available on google maps?

    Thanks!

    #392
    Kalmia
    Member

    Whitesock – The NFCT section maps are not available digitally. The NFCT website does contain a map tool [URL=”http://http://www.northernforestcanoetrail.org/tripplanner%5D” that gives a basic overview of the trail, including links to services near the trail. Some paddlers with blogs have included screen shots from google earth showing their routes (look for Peter MacFarlane’s blog detailing his heroic cold weather solo through-paddle from 2013). Before trips I have sometimes downloaded topo sections and GIS imagery to my GPS unit.

    Having said that, the waterproof paper section maps of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail really are indispensable. Bring a compass, too. Information about NFCT-specific campsites and portages are generally not available elsewhere. The maps don’t require re-charging, don’t break when you drop them, contain a wealth of background information about the history and natural history of the Northern Forest, and work even on the long sections with no cell signal. I would encourage you to go ahead and buy the maps for the sections you plan to paddle. Consider joining the NFCT as a member, too. Membership contributions and volunteer time (along with friendly landowners) are what make the Trail possible. See you on the water! – K

    #395
    whitesock
    Member

    Thanks, I already have the paper maps (and a compass) And in a stressful situation (i.e. it’s getting dark, raining, cant find the campsite) I might even remember how to use them :). I’d just like to get the NFCT map on my phone which I’m pretty sure will still work with GPSatellite even without cell service

    I’ve seen the trip planner (thank you!). Someone has already plotted the NFCT in google maps. It’s perfect. Is that map available?

    #393
    Kalmia
    Member

    Thank-you for buying the maps! 🙂

    There are a number of ways to download maps for off-line navigation. Google maps currently allows this, I believe, although the area you can download at one time is limited. I think that would give you access to NFCT features that have been located on Google Maps. Want to try it and let us know? There are also aps that allow you to download USGS topo maps. GAIA GPS, Backpacker GPS, and Backcountry Navigator are commercial aps aimed at smartphone-carrying backcountry travelers. I bet one of those would be useful for navigating the Trail, although so far as I know there is nothing offering current campsites and portage routes. Some day, I’m sure!

    I carry a Garmin 64s handheld GPS for fun, work, and duties as a search and rescue volunteer. I download to it Garmin’s proprietary versions of the USGS 7 1/2 minute topo maps and overhead aerial/ satellite imagery for areas of interest. More and more of my colleagues are doing the same on smartphones. Handheld GPS units have tiny crappy screens compared to a phone or tablet, and the proprietary maps make sharing data a pita. On the plus side, my Garmin is waterproof, I can carry fresh batteries in the field, and I can work it even wearing mittens in a blizzard.

    I bet within a few years we’ll have a complete NFCT map/ navigation ap available for download, and a paddle-powered cellphone charger, both reasonably priced through the NFCT store. Stay tuned?

    Happy trails – I was out in my canoe (and dry suit) on Tuesday. Paddling season is here! – K

    #390
    Walter
    Keymaster

    Hello Whitesocks,
    Kalmia is on spot as usual. The NFCT is in the process of developing on on-line/mobile friendly map showing trail infrastructure. We have been field verifying data and compiling detailed feature information for a number of years now and are currently raising the funding needed to make the integration happen. Sorry to say it will not be ready for a 2016 launch.
    Walter

    #391
    Walter
    Keymaster

    Hello Whitesocks,
    Kalmia is on spot as usual. The NFCT is in the process of developing on on-line/mobile friendly map showing trail infrastructure. We have been field verifying data and compiling detailed feature information for a number of years now and are currently raising the funding needed to make the integration happen. Sorry to say it will not be ready for a 2016 launch.
    Walter

    #394
    Kodachrome
    Member

    As a backup, I’m using official USGS topo maps (7.5 minute, I believe) on my iPhone. They’re downloaded for free via (and viewable via) the PDFMaps app, which I believe is similar to the Gaia app. Both apps say they are able to use a smartphone’s built-in GPS, without cell service, to indicate your location on a georeferenced PDF/JPEG/TIFF map. (Georeferencing basically allows a GPS computer to match up a specific map with the correct corresponding real-world location, and is done by running a PDF/JPG/TIFF scan of a map through GIS software and preplotting known GPS coordinates. You would have to do this if you scanned your NFCT maps and wanted to use them in conjunction with the GPS on your phone. I tried to do it but reached the limits of my abilities.)

    The USGS maps I downloaded, on the other hand, came into my phone already georeferenced. The PDFMaps app displays a Google Maps-like birds-eye-view, and displays thumbnails of downloadable maps that correspond to the location you’re zoomed in on. So I traced the route of the NFCT, downloading the appropriate USGS maps as I scrolled along. It took a while, but I have the entire trail (including Canada) in georeferenced topo maps. It totaled about 100 maps, which should give you some idea about the level of detail compared to the NFCT’s 13 official maps. (Granted, these USGS maps are often older than the NFCT maps, so specific river channels, oxbows, and perhaps even road names could be different. And they don’t show most of the campsites or other points of interest that are on the NFCT maps.)

    Just note, though — using the GPS feature on your phone definitely uses battery, and I think the GPS is active if the app is open but you’re not using it. And these maps take up a not insignificant amount of space on your phone. (My PDFmaps app, with all these maps, takes up at least 1.5 GB.)

    If anyone wants to have a crack at georeferencing scans of the official NFCT maps, I’d definitely be interested in contributing (or reaping the rewards).

    #8329
    EnduroPaddler
    Participant

    I would be very interested in trying out those maps if you would be willing to share the file. For years I have done primitive camping by paddling in, all over Vermont. I am now interested in exploring the Fulton Chain Lakes in NY, and this trail goes right through it. I will eventually do the entire trail as it seems like the trip of a lifetime, however I plan on exploring the Chain Lakes with children so it would be nice to have these maps for emergency purposes. Thanks!

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.