Elevations?

Discussion in 'rec.bicycles.rides archive' started by Gary R. Brower, Apr 16, 2003.

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Not open for further replies.
  1. All,

    I don't have a GPS gizmo (and don't want to spend the money). But I am interested in finding some
    elevations.

    Is there a website that gives such data. For example, if I provided an intersection (or even map
    coordinates), is there some site that would give the elevation?

    It would be great to calculate total elevation gain without buying a mapping program.

    Thanks.

    Gary [email protected]
     
    Tags:


  2. "Gary R. Brower" <[email protected]> wrote let it be known in
    news:BAC301C9.7577%[email protected]:

    > I don't have a GPS gizmo (and don't want to spend the money). But I am interested in finding some
    > elevations.
    >
    > Is there a website that gives such data. For example, if I provided an intersection (or even map
    > coordinates), is there some site that would give the elevation?
    >
    > It would be great to calculate total elevation gain without buying a mapping program.

    How about picking up a USGS Topo map for your area? You can get them from any outdoor store for just
    a few bucks per quadrant. I would even guess that your local library might even have them on file if
    you can't come up with the purchase price. They are much more handy than road maps for planning
    rides, since you can actually get some idea of the elevation changes.

    I've seen actual scans of the topo maps online, but can't remember if it was a site you have to buy
    access to or not. Try searching google.

    Another resource would be DeLormes's Atlas for your state (the atlases with elevation maps are not
    available for all states, check the delore site http://www.delorme.com/ for availability).

    --

    Curt Bousquet [email protected] < Reverse for email

    Road biking in Southern VT and Western Mass.

    My 2002 bike log: http://www.scanline.com/bikelog/2002.html
     
  3. dwmurphy

    dwmurphy Guest

    >It would be great to calculate total elevation gain without buying a mapping program.

    Have you checked out www.topozone.com ?
     
  4. David Storm

    David Storm Guest

    "Curt Bousquet" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > "Gary R. Brower" <[email protected]> wrote let it be known in
    > news:BAC301C9.7577%[email protected]:
    >
    > > I don't have a GPS gizmo (and don't want to spend the money). But I am interested in finding
    > > some elevations.
    > >
    > > Is there a website that gives such data. For example, if I provided an intersection (or even map
    > > coordinates), is there some site that would give the elevation?
    > >
    > > It would be great to calculate total elevation gain without buying a mapping program.
    >
    > How about picking up a USGS Topo map for your area? You can get them from any outdoor store for
    > just a few bucks per quadrant. I would even guess that your local library might even have them on
    > file if you can't come up with the purchase price. They are much more handy than road maps for
    > planning rides, since you can actually get some idea of the elevation changes.
    >
    > I've seen actual scans of the topo maps online, but can't remember if it was a site you have to
    > buy access to or not. Try searching google.
    >
    > Another resource would be DeLormes's Atlas for your state (the atlases with elevation maps are not
    > available for all states, check the delore site http://www.delorme.com/ for availability).
    >
    > --
    >
    > Curt Bousquet [email protected] < Reverse for email
    >
    > Road biking in Southern VT and Western Mass.
    >
    > My 2002 bike log: http://www.scanline.com/bikelog/2002.html
    >

    I suspect that the USGS routes are like those generated by DeLorme's Topo software. Topo
    over-reports total climbing in hilly/mountainous routes by as much as 100%. I've never gotten any
    answer from Delorme in response to my inquiries about the discrepancies. I have been told by others
    that the reason is that the maps do not calculate elevations/gradients, etc for the roads but rather
    for the native hills, ridges, gullies etc. That is, cuts through passes, high bridges, etc, are
    ignored. Those discrepancies can build up on a long ride with lots of ups and downs. An example is a
    route I laid out on Topo for a tour on a straight-forward route from Seattle to Sacramento down the
    West Coast. Topo reports that total climbing is 93,000 feet for the 1,000 mile trip!
     
  5. Cycling Joe

    Cycling Joe Guest

    Dont buy the maps.. www.topozone.com has them for free

    Gary R. Brower wrote:
    > All,
    >
    > I don't have a GPS gizmo (and don't want to spend the money). But I am interested in finding some
    > elevations.
    >
    > Is there a website that gives such data. For example, if I provided an intersection (or even map
    > coordinates), is there some site that would give the elevation?
    >
    > It would be great to calculate total elevation gain without buying a mapping program.
    >
    > Thanks.
    >
    > Gary [email protected]
     
  6. Rick Warner

    Rick Warner Guest

    "David Storm" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...

    >
    > I suspect that the USGS routes are like those generated by DeLorme's Topo software. Topo
    > over-reports total climbing in hilly/mountainous routes by as much as 100%. I've never gotten any
    > answer from Delorme in response to my inquiries about the discrepancies. I have been told by
    > others that the reason is that the maps do not calculate elevations/gradients, etc for the roads
    > but rather for the native hills, ridges, gullies etc. That is, cuts through passes, high bridges,
    > etc, are ignored. Those discrepancies can build up on a long ride with lots of ups and downs. An
    > example is a route I laid out on Topo for a tour on a straight-forward route from Seattle to
    > Sacramento down the West Coast. Topo reports that total climbing is 93,000 feet for the 1,000
    > mile trip!
    >

    The reason DeLorme overestimates elevation gain is fundamental to the way they process the data.
    DeLorme's software is vector based, and the vectors are relatively long. That means that their
    calculation of the topography crossed between point A and point B will usually calculate elevation
    changes that do not follow the road but rather cut across all sorts of topographically diverse
    features (unlike roads where the builders attempt to smooth out the terrain doing roadcuts, fill,
    etc.). The National Geographic (formerly Wildflower) Topo! software is raster based - every little
    point is separate. This makes it more difficult to draw routes; you have to trace the entire road or
    roads, whereas in DeLorme you just set endpoints and perhaps a few intermediates so it knows where
    to go. But the payoff is greater accuracy. On typical rides in the hills around where I live
    DeLorme's estimate of elevation gain is usually 30-50% greater than the equivalent estimate from
    Nat'l Geographic's software. I have much more confidence in NG's estimate than in DeLorme's. DeLorme
    has a funky autorouting routine, too. On one of the local hill rides I set the start of the route at
    the intersection where the particular road starts, the end point at the top of the hill on the same
    road, and DeLorme autoroutes along every small side road going up the hill. The only way to force it
    to route on the main road is to set 'Via' points at regular intervals (< 1/4 mi) along the road.
    DeLorme's topo is nice for a quick look, but too inaccurate and bothersome for when I want to do
    actual routing - not to mention that it will not read data from my GPS, just load data into it.

    - rick warner
     
  7. Peter

    Peter Guest

    Rick Warner wrote:
    > On typical rides in the hills around where I live DeLorme's estimate of elevation gain is usually
    > 30-50% greater than the equivalent estimate from Nat'l Geographic's software.

    I've compared the profiles generated by both DeLorme's TopoUSA and Wildflower's Topo to ones coming
    directly from my GPS receiver's tracklog data and found that both of the topo mapping programs come
    up with substantially higher cumulative gain numbers although Wildflower's is not off by quite as
    much. Comparing sections of the route where I know the road is monotonically climbing shows that the
    map programs frequently have small dips that don't exist in reality - the road is laid out very
    carefully to minimize ups and downs and the map program's profiles don't reflect that.

    DeLorme's TopoUSA is based on much less detailed USGS data (roughly equivalent to the 1:100000 scale
    USGS maps) rather than the 1:24000 scale maps used in Wildflower's Topo and also DeLorme's
    3DTopoQuad product.

    > DeLorme's topo is nice for a quick look, but too inaccurate and bothersome for when I want to do
    > actual routing - not to mention that it will not read data from my GPS, just load data into it.

    That's odd - I have an older version (2.0) of TopoUSA, but it lets me upload track and waypoint data
    from my GPS receiver and display it on my PC.
     
  8. Gary German

    Gary German Guest

    "Rick Warner" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > "David Storm" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    >
    > >
    > > I suspect that the USGS routes are like those generated by DeLorme's Topo software. Topo
    > > over-reports total climbing in hilly/mountainous routes by as much as 100%. I've never gotten
    > > any answer from Delorme in response to my inquiries about the discrepancies. I have been told by
    > > others that the reason is that the maps do not calculate elevations/gradients, etc for the roads
    > > but rather for the native hills, ridges, gullies etc. That is, cuts through passes, high
    > > bridges, etc, are ignored. Those discrepancies can build up on a long ride with lots of ups and
    > > downs. An example is a route I laid out on Topo for a tour on a straight-forward route from
    > > Seattle to Sacramento down the West Coast. Topo reports that total climbing is 93,000 feet for
    > > the 1,000 mile trip!
    > >
    >
    > The reason DeLorme overestimates elevation gain is fundamental to the way they process the data.
    > DeLorme's software is vector based, and the vectors are relatively long. That means that their
    > calculation of the topography crossed between point A and point B will usually calculate elevation
    > changes that do not follow the road but rather cut across all sorts of topographically diverse
    > features (unlike roads where the builders attempt to smooth out the terrain doing roadcuts, fill,
    > etc.). The National Geographic (formerly Wildflower) Topo! software is raster based - every little
    > point is separate. This makes it more difficult to draw routes; you have to trace the entire road
    > or roads, whereas in DeLorme you just set endpoints and perhaps a few intermediates so it knows
    > where to go. But the payoff is greater accuracy. On typical rides in the hills around where I live
    > DeLorme's estimate of elevation gain is usually 30-50% greater than the equivalent estimate from
    > Nat'l Geographic's software. I have much more confidence in NG's estimate than in DeLorme's.
    > DeLorme has a funky autorouting routine, too. On one of the local hill rides I set the start of
    > the route at the intersection where the particular road starts, the end point at the top of the
    > hill on the same road, and DeLorme autoroutes along every small side road going up the hill. The
    > only way to force it to route on the main road is to set 'Via' points at regular intervals (< 1/4
    > mi) along the road. DeLorme's topo is nice for a quick look, but too inaccurate and bothersome for
    > when I want to do actual routing - not to mention that it will not read data from my GPS, just
    > load data into it.
    >
    > - rick warner

    Totally agree re: DeLorme TopoUSA. I have version 4.0, and it consistently overestimates climbing.
    I've sent their tech support a couple of emails on the subject, including newsgroup discussions of
    the problem. But, they have chosen not to reply.

    It's too bad...I really like their hardcopy "Atlas and Gazetteer" series of state guides. Their Topo
    USA product could be good, if they would only do a better job of estimating climbing (it shouldn't
    be THAT hard to build in some sort of correction factor).

    As for your problems getting it to autoroute...check your "route preferences" settings. I'll bet
    you've told it to show a preference for "local roads".

    GG
     
  9. David Storm

    David Storm Guest

    Yes, I have found that DeLorme's autorouting can get very bizarre. Setting up a route in Topo can
    take a long time as it keeps going off course. I have successfully uploaded waypoints from my Garmin
    Legend to Topo and vice versa.

    "Rick Warner" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > "David Storm" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    >
    > >
    > > I suspect that the USGS routes are like those generated by DeLorme's Topo software. Topo
    > > over-reports total climbing in hilly/mountainous routes by as much as 100%. I've never gotten
    > > any answer from Delorme in response to my inquiries about the discrepancies. I have been told by
    > > others that the reason is that the maps do not calculate elevations/gradients, etc for the roads
    > > but rather for the native hills, ridges, gullies etc. That is, cuts through passes, high
    > > bridges, etc, are ignored. Those discrepancies can build up on a long ride with lots of ups and
    > > downs. An example is a route I laid out on Topo for a tour on a straight-forward route from
    > > Seattle to Sacramento down the West Coast. Topo reports that total climbing is 93,000 feet for
    > > the 1,000 mile trip!
    > >
    >
    > The reason DeLorme overestimates elevation gain is fundamental to the way they process the data.
    > DeLorme's software is vector based, and the vectors are relatively long. That means that their
    > calculation of the topography crossed between point A and point B will usually calculate elevation
    > changes that do not follow the road but rather cut across all sorts of topographically diverse
    > features (unlike roads where the builders attempt to smooth out the terrain doing roadcuts, fill,
    > etc.). The National Geographic (formerly Wildflower) Topo! software is raster based - every little
    > point is separate. This makes it more difficult to draw routes; you have to trace the entire road
    > or roads, whereas in DeLorme you just set endpoints and perhaps a few intermediates so it knows
    > where to go. But the payoff is greater accuracy. On typical rides in the hills around where I live
    > DeLorme's estimate of elevation gain is usually 30-50% greater than the equivalent estimate from
    > Nat'l Geographic's software. I have much more confidence in NG's estimate than in DeLorme's.
    > DeLorme has a funky autorouting routine, too. On one of the local hill rides I set the start of
    > the route at the intersection where the particular road starts, the end point at the top of the
    > hill on the same road, and DeLorme autoroutes along every small side road going up the hill. The
    > only way to force it to route on the main road is to set 'Via' points at regular intervals (< 1/4
    > mi) along the road. DeLorme's topo is nice for a quick look, but too inaccurate and bothersome for
    > when I want to do actual routing - not to mention that it will not read data from my GPS, just
    > load data into it.
    >
    > - rick warner
     
  10. "Gary R. Brower" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<BAC301C9.7577%[email protected]>...
    > All,
    >
    > I don't have a GPS gizmo (and don't want to spend the money). But I am interested in finding some
    > elevations.
    >
    > Is there a website that gives such data. For example, if I provided an intersection (or even map
    > coordinates), is there some site that would give the elevation?
    >
    > It would be great to calculate total elevation gain without buying a mapping program.
    >
    > Thanks.
    >
    > Gary [email protected]

    Try topozone and terra-server.com. I used terra-server to calculate my total elevation gain. (I'm
    also a cheapskate).

    Tom
     
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